ESPN Highlights RV's Animated Movie

STORY BY ROBIN FLEMING

An Alien Workshop Skateboards character has a chance at becoming a movie star, and we're not talking about Rob Dyrdek. Through writer Lynne Ruttkay's imagination, tenacity, plus a little help from Kickstarter, former pro skater Duane Pitre's "RV the Aardvark" board graphic may become the subject of a feature-length animated film.

"RV the Aardvark was made for a Duane Pitre pro model AWS Slick Construction deck," Mike Hill, Alien Workshop's art director for more than 20 years, said. "The papier-mâché sculptures were made in the early '90s, when the sublimation process for slick-bottom skateboard decks allowed us to print photographs cleanly. The screen-printing techniques at the time didn't transfer well to high resolution photographs, so we started making dioramas with little puppet creatures to shoot photos of for the graphics.

Ruttkay, an independent artist who often works with brands such as Quiksilver, Rip Curl, G & S and Alien Workshop, was on hand in Hill's Ohio studio when he was crafting RV the Aardvark in 1993. Ruttkay was enamored with the sculpture, so Hill sent it to her in Southern California.

Hill expected that was the last he'd see of RV, but Ruttkay had other ideas. She began to create a fictional story inspired by Hill's piece. In 2009, more than 15 years since the character first appeared on the bottom of a skateboard, Ruttkay released a children's book called "RV The Racer Aardvark."

The story is about a little aardvark born without feet, so his industrious father builds a wheel for him to get around. Ruttkay fashioned an imaginary world modeled after action sports, creating a setting where RV would overcome obstacles, learn to embraces his differences and go on to become a unicycle racer.

The book, already in its second printing, was well-received by kids as well as adults.

"We have heard back from families who've shared how much their kids love the story," Ruttkay said. "Sometimes I get to meet kids who tell me directly how they love RV, which is super fun!"