About the show
Little J, he’s five and Big Cuz, she’s nine. They’re a couple of Indigenous Australian kids living with their Nanna and Old Dog. Little J and Big Cuz are busy with the ups and downs of playground and classroom. There’s always something surprising going on whether it’s at school, in the backyard...or beyond. The gaps in Nanna’s ramshackle fence lead to Saltwater, Desert and Freshwater Country. With the help of Nanna and their teacher Ms Chen, Little J and Big Cuz are finding out all about culture, community and country.
From the director
Directing and designing Little J & Big Cuz was a unique challenge and required a new approach to children’s television in Australia. Never before has an Australian animated show targeted an Indigenous audience. As an Indigenous person this seemed wrong.
Aboriginal writers from across Australia sent our family of Nanna, Big Cuz, Little J and Old Dog on adventures through bush, salt water, and desert country, as well as to school. It was my job to create this as a coherent cartoon world, both recognisable and magical in its broadness and diversity; a place of wonder in which school plays an integral part.
Colour in the landscape was a crucial part of designing a recognisably Australian setting and for this I looked to artists like Albert Namatjira. The home and school environments had much Indigenous input to give a believable contemporary feel, and for detail in the landscapes native vegetation was always referenced. A design style of flat colours with outlines and crucially, shadows, became the look for the show. I aimed to make the large expanses and the intimate spaces, like the backyard, recognisable to an Aboriginal kid in a remote community as much as a kid in an outer suburb of a big city.