On just the second day of Sean Gaskin being in business as a Freelance Cartoonist (), Burny was born (in Sean's mind and then onto paper) in London, UK on the 5th January 1988.
Sean sketched and painted away, practicing on his first cartoon creation as a means of learning how to actually draw cartoons!
By the end of his first year in business, Sean had created a somewhat basic poster featuring Burny, for a Scandanavian company that was printed in Germany.
In January 1989, at the start of Sean's second year in businees, Burny took on a familiar look to that of Roger Rabbit, obviously influenced by the cartoon star of the Disney film released the previous year.
In July 1990, Sean moved to the mediterranean island of Malta. This was a very creative time for him, creating other memorable cartoon characters and so Burny took a bit of a back seat. But it was during this time that Burny developed his flesh coloured cheeks and soles of his feet, the first picture of this look was in a - George Herriman of Krazy Kat fame - influenced design for a business card.
In 1991, Sean spent some time out in France but continued painting Burny pictures, who was still retaining a bit of the Roger Rabbit look, but on returning to Malta, he became aware Jeff Smith's award winning "Bone" comic book and was influenced by the "cuter" looking lead character.
So although Sean was being inspired by a cuter Disneyesque style character, it was going to take another year or two to get a mischievous Burny out of his wolf's clothing!
Though it was while residing in Mellieha, Malta that the word "Ballyhoo" was added to Burny's monicker!
In fact, not until Sean moved to Sydney, Australia in 1996 and designed his first business card there did the cute looking Burny that we all know & love today, first appear.
It was while in Australia that 'Ballyhoo Burny' really came into his own, appearing on t-shirts, full page colour strips in the "Lunch" Sydney social news bulletin....
So Sean applied for funding to finance the "Burny's Journey" project, but back in 2002, pre home computers and only very basic internet, he required a lot more money than he would do nowadays and so his application was declined. So "Burny's Journey" was sadly shelved, indefinitely.
....his first 'Ballyhoo Burny' comic strip published in the "Surry Scene" Community Voice and a christian book titled "Ballyhoo Burny In The Marathon Race Of Life" of which 10,000 copies were published.
But all good things come to an end because Sean couldn't get a work permit to remain in Australia.
But where one door closes, another opens and on the strength of 'Ballyhoo Burny' Sean was able to get a work permit in New Zealand and so moved there in February 2000.
It was also on the strength of 'Ballyhoo Burny' that Sean went on to gain residency and then citizenship to the beautiful South Pacific archpelago of Aotearoa, or as more commonly known, New Zealand.
In 2001, Sean wrote an epic (publisher approved) fable, inspired by his previous book published in Sydney, titled "Burny's Journey", to hopefully be converted into a graphic novel.
If you have read and enjoyed Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist" then you'd like "Burny's Journey".
It became a huge project for which Sean rented a spacious studio in Auckland and trained up two young animators to draw 480 postcard size sketches for the "Burny's Journey" storyboard.
Sean also brought in a very talented painter to paint the backgrounds scenes in the story. Below are three experiemental examples.
Sean had set up a charitable trust called "Hope In Life" Trust and "Burny's Journey" was one of the community projects he worked on under "HiL Trust". What made this a community project was that Sean had also created a "Cartoon Storytelling Therapy Programme" from which youth counsellors could use the story to help improve the wellbeing of 'Kiwi' youth.
Fast forward to 2018 and Sean has just returned to his home in New Zealand after a much needed 2 month break in Europe. He'd been thinking about "Burny's Journey" and the fact that there were a lot more opportunities available for raising funds than there was a decade & a half ago. Plus he'd been thinking about setting up an online store from which to sell products.
So to cut a long story short, Sean decided to look into manufacturing Burny as a plush toy to start with and other products to follow, with which to hopefully raise money to complete his "Burny's Journey" graphic novel and to publish the epic fable, to be enjoyed by many and to also be used for youth wellbeing both in New Zealand and abroad.
In 2019, Sean worked tirelessly with manufacturing companies in China to produce a top quality Ballyhoo Burny plush toy while working on a brand new "Ballyhoo Burny" online comic strip to familiarise Burny's old fans & new, with what he's up to nowadays, like supporting the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup hosted by Japan.
After months of searching through Chinese manufacturing companies, Sean finally found a company to deal with and then spent months perfecting the Ballyhoo Burny plush toy design.
He received his first bulk order of "Limited First Edition of 100 Plush Toys" just days before Christmas 2019 and sold most of then in the first month of 2020!
Sean was ready to place his second order when the Covid-19 virus gripped the world and business was put on hold.
Watch this space for further updates.