Renaissance GIFs Man





I’m very much for the interesting juxtaposition of things old and new. And sometimes once in a cold, blue moon, I see something that just makes me laugh till my sides hurt and cry “why didn’t I think of that in the first place?!

The work of James Kerr of Scorpion Dagger has this very effect on me.

The premise behind his ideas are simple: he uses characters from Renaissance paintings and makes them come alive through animated GIFs. In ways you wouldn’t expect, and typically not in the fashion you would think. Niceties are out the window, and in comes the culture of the 21st century, embodied by characters who belong in museums (who look much too solemn to be twerking, you say? Prepare to never look at a painting the same way again.)

On being a self-taught artist:

I don’t necessarily have any formal art training, I actually studied History and Political Science in University, but have been making art in one capacity or another practically my entire life.

On where his ideas come from:

My ideas pretty much just come from silly thoughts that I have.

On how he creates his GIFs:

Once I’ve decided what I’m going to make, I start looking through paintings to pull out elements that I think would work best for that GIF. It’s then cut, paste, animate in Photoshop until the GIF is done.

[Quotes from We are Visual Animals]

On speed dating: Les Mots de la Carpe [animation]

I watched Les Mots de la Carpe today on Vimeo, and though I couldn’t understand a word of French, this animation proves that a picture is worth a thousand words. Watch how deceptively simple the lines are (the environment is mostly made out with black pencil, with bold colored characters for emphasis), and how the form of the characters are derived from their personality. From Absolute Mag:

At a speed-dating event, animator Lucrece Andreae takes some creative liberties to depict the shape of various oddities of romance-seeking, like (literally) inflated personalities and people who actually compare their date to an ideal sketch, adjusting them accordingly.

Here’s wishing a happy 4th of July for those in the US; and for everyone else, have a great start to the weekend (which is a cause to celebrate anyway!)

Want to see more fun animations? Check out the below links:

Inspiration: Moving drawings

Ode to Lumpy, Pout Melody by Lilli Carre

Plumb by Caleb Wood

Jenni Rope: Tiikerimuuri

I’m going to start a new format to document my discoveries, and like any experiment that I do over here, I’m just going to wing it and see how it goes! If you’re wondering how my research and mind works, this is exactly it – I jump around from one thing to another and bite on it, gnawing at it until I am satisfied. It’s not the most organized way to search for things, but I love how it leads to interesting discoveries. So hang on while I take you on a quick detour of how my neurons get all fired up!

Ready? Go!

So the theme for this post started after I stumbled on moving drawings when I was over at Rookie Mag. I visit their rad website every few months and after reading a few of their great articles this time around, I clicked over to their contributor’s list. One of them was Lilli Carre (which we interviewed previously), which lead me to her personal website, which then lead me to discover her series of moving drawings. I then found out that she was the co-producer of the Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation, which brings together abstract animations, unconventional character animations along with old classics and unearthing new talent. *GASP*

Then, I read this interview by Tim O’Shea with Lilli and Andrew on how they started their festival (and if you’re thinking about starting your own, it’s a good read!) And then, from their Tumblr website, I discovered videos like this and this by Jenni Rope, which I absolutely love. It made me feel like a kid again, where my eyeballs were almost glued to the screen!

Then I did a quick search about moving illustrations and stop motion and it landed me on the Dragonframe site, which lead me to one of the best stop-motion animations that I’ve ever seen: Elliot the Bull by Oh Yeah Wow. And not only do they show the final work, they also share the process, with pictures to boot!

And if you want to start making your own moving drawings, here’s a PDF tutorial by the folks over at Adobe, and if you’re looking to experiment with just your iPhone, then check out the Vine app (it’s limited to just 6 seconds, but it’s got a really simple interface for you to get started!)


Moving drawings look like a really fun medium to experiment with – I’m really drawn to the abstract quality of some of the videos and GIFs that I’ve seen and really look forward to experiment with it in the future. My ultimate takeaway from all of this is that animations and moving stills aren’t just rooted in mainstream genres or techniques like anime or stop-motion – there’s so many ways to express oneself that the possibilities are endless. I know that I might be discovering this late (yes, I can hear some of you snorting your disbelief at this!) but discovering abstract storytelling was eye-opening, to say the least – the ones done by Lilli Carre and Jenni Rope are just amazing!

If you have some moving drawings to share or if you have any tips/leads to share on where to learn more, I’d love for you to leave a link so that I can check it out! 🙂