I have been making animations since 1998 when I made The Last Regret of The Grim Reaper at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. I made this film in a three week hurry, and not having animated much before, I drew upon my printmaking background and used a story I had written as an artist’s book in 1996. I used tusche which is a drawing fluid used for stone lithography and printmaking paper. I recorded each frame whilst it was wet and then mopped it up before it dried and put the next frame down. It left a trace upon the page that suited the story of The Grim Reaper dancing everyone on earth to death.
My next two films, The Emperor (2001) (pictured here) and The Witches (2002) were made with the same technique but using watercolour. For The True Story of Sawney Beane (2005) I animated with charcoal on paper with a watercolour background. I tried out charcoal on this film because I wanted to get very close to the characters and draw Betty Beane’s wrinkly face. I was very pleased with the result, the film is presently showing at film festivals.
For The Old, Old, Very Old Man, I am using blue ink on white tile. I had been researching Charles I at the V & A and Museum of London and came across many depictions of him on delftware, mostly created following his execution. On these commemorative plates and mugs, his Royal Highness is painted carefully but with the economy of a craftsman making many of the same image. In using a tile, there is no trace left to guide the next frame, so I use the onion skinning tool on Premiere in which the previous frame is visible on the monitor of my computer. Here is a frame of The Old Man in The King’s bed prior to his last gasp.