The act of creating can be a cathartic one, where the creator is so zoned in that he or she is oblivious to the overarching process. When an art piece take shape under your hands, it’s easy to be so focused that you miss the magic of the big picture coming together.
I started filming time lapse videos so I could watch my art come together from a new vantage point. My friends seemed to enjoy them, so I published some online, and am just now aggregating them all into one page for you to watch.
These time lapse art videos are made with a pretty simple process: I set up a tripod with my camera on it, and hit record once I start working. When it’s finished, I take the footage, cut out major pauses, and speed it all up. The amount it’s sped up varies depending on how simple or complex the piece is; it’s anywhere from 400% to 2000%.
Time lapse painting: “Holes and a Gap”
This wacky, brightly-colored landscape was inspired in part by a weird series of rock formations in Colorado called The Paint Mines.
Here’s where you can learn more about the inspiration and methods behind this surreal landscape.
Time lapse painting: “Drowning Dog”
This was the very first painting I made in an extremely dry climate. I was shocked by how quickly I had to work because of the rapidly drying paint. You can learn more about the Drowning Dog painting here.
Time lapse painting: “The Crane on the Bridge”
On a walk in the rain, I thought I spotted this giant bird out of the corner of my eye.
I haven’t seen him since, so I thought I’d create a painting to remember him.
This painting involved an experiment: adhering tissue with a mixture of glue and water (the black at the bottom is black tissue). It worked much better than I anticipated—it’s as though the tissue melded with the canvas. Here’s what the final piece looked like:
Definitely something I’ll explore more.
10 gesture drawings in 100 seconds
I try to spend some time every week just practicing sketches based on the human figure—often focusing on faces and hands, which are the parts I find most interesting.
In an ideal universe, I’d do this every day. It’s really beneficial practice.
This time I set up a tripod and filmed myself for about 25 minutes. I used 22 sheets of paper in that amount of time, but the autofocus betrayed me about one third of the way in, so most of the footage was too blurry to use.
To keep you from getting bored, I sped it up, and added some homemade music. Marimba is one of my favorite instruments to write for . . . but that’s another story.
Speed painting: “Red Ink”
As is often the case, the idea for this painting came to me when I was on a walk. I decided on the medium and the name by the time I got home, and had the idea to use string to redirect the movement of the paint while eating dinner.
This one made quite a mess, but I’m pretty happy with the result.
I filmed myself making this painting, and sped it up for you to view. Music was created with Logic Studio 8.
Time lapse drawing of the Apostle James
This is my second piece in the series of portraits of apostles.
I set up a tripod behind me and filmed the process, sped it up, and set it to a chunk of music I created in 2010 as a concept outline for a larger piece.
Here’s the final art piece, and I’m happy with how it turned out.
Time lapse drawing: the Underground Creature
As my drawing ideas typically come about, I was going for a walk when I imagined this guy. I may have been walking on his head at the time.
I rigged up my tripod and filmed myself drawing. I used a piece of chunky charcoal, a well-worn eraser, and just a bit of white chalk.
Here’s the finished creature drawing:
Four figure sketches
This was my first time breaking out of iMovie and into Adobe Premiere Pro: a much more legit video-editing platform.
In order to give myself some footage to play around with, I set up my tripod, pulled out my newsprint, and did some figure drawing exercises (if you’re working on improving your drawing skills, I highly recommend the practice).
There are a few key principles I’ve come to stand by while learning new software in particular.
One of them is from Voltaire: “perfect is the enemy of good.” I know I’ll have a better eye for “perfect” as I get my bearings, and bogging myself down in miniscule tweaks is the quickest way to burnout I know.
The other one is just imagining myself building mental stepping stones. When I’ve built one stepping stone, I have a better vantage point to build my next one. If I try to jump around from feature to feature, I scatter my attention and don’t end up with anything real to stand on.
In this case, I focused on simply the workflow of the platform. Because of that, I didn’t try anything fancy. There’s a lot of possibilities, and getting burned out by them is the worst thing for learning.
The music in the video is an adaptation of a composition I wrote for cello and piano. I took a digital spin on it.
Speed drawing: 3 John theme verse
The verse in this illustration is from 3 John: “I have no greater joy than this: to hear of my children walking in the truth.”It’s part of my series of Bible verse drawings.
Here’s the final piece. I used a Prismacolor illustration pen, a 9 x 12 piece of drawing paper, and dye-based Higgins inks.
Time lapse drawing of Solomon
I’ve collaborated with Jeffrey at the Overview Bible Project by making illustrations of each author of the Bible.
I set up my camera and filmed the creation of the Solomon portrait.
The music is a piece I originally wrote for three trumpets—but recorded with three voices instead—called “Shadow Waltz.”
Time lapse drawing: Agur
This is another portrait for my Bible authors series.
This author is responsible for these verses in Proverbs:
Surely I am more stupid than any man,
And I do not have the understanding of a man.
Neither have I learned wisdom,
Nor do I have the knowledge of the Holy One. (Pr 30:2–3)
His name is Agur. Incidentally, his one chapter of the Bible is what my entire Proverbs 30 art series is based on.
The timelapse video captures the drawing from beginning to end, including my setup process.