Charcoal Fish (2012)
By Nicole Wilk
After viewing the work of William Kentridge (seen at the end of this post) who used the subtleties of erasing and drawing with charcoal to create animation I was compelled to try a similar process myself. As this was an experimental piece I picked a fish swimming in a jar because the remnants of the charcoal left over from the previous stages of the animation would be accounted for in the swirling of the water.
|1/3 through animation|
|3/3 through animation|
The charcoal stop-frame technique utilizes an image alteration process. The artboard is one that has been drawn completely with aspects that change within. My art practice used 22 frames to complete the animation cycle ie. the fish completing a lap of swimming. Initially I wished to draw 2 fish but decided it would be advantageous if I created another fish in the editing process. As this is an experimental piece I played with editing options within Premiere, overlapping, inversion, and frame rate.
|22 frames total in the animation|
I used a half sized piece of artistic paper (graphite and charcoal friendly) and taped it to a flat surface so that a) I could erase without worrying about scrunching the paper, and b) so that the paper would not shift during the photo process. I attached a basic point and shoot camera to a tripod in natural light, careful to place the tripod so that it was not in danger of accidentally being knocked. Then I drew the bowl and the fish. I would erase the charcoal fish as I progressed, and take a photo in between. As Kendridge says in the video below, the taking of the photo is a physical process that refreshes your mind to the present image before you, it is a necessary process.
William Kentridge on his Process
by William Kentridge