Sculpting and drawing movement
Pen strokes can become pictures. Pictures can become videos. Videos can become masterpieces, and masterpieces are exactly what sophomore Christian Chang creates through his stop motion animated films.
Chang started animating last year when he created a claymation—a stop motion animation using clay characters. He decided to try his own animations after watching several films such as “Coraline,” “Paranorman” and “Kubo and the Two Strings.” Because of his interest in drawing and claymation, he began to create hand-drawn stop motion animations.
“I’ve always had an interest in art and films, and I love the way stop motion films look,” Chang said. “Animating with clay is more fun. It’s like playing and it’s easier. However, drawing gives me a more accomplished feeling.”
Chang begins his stop motions by cutting up paper and drawing designs that flow into each other. Often in his videos, the same shapes become different objects in the animation, such as a bouncing ball and an eye. He draws each frame with only paper, pen and captures them with his phone camera.
“Having my videos unthemed gives me the freedom to do whatever I want. If I want a tree to grow a basketball, I can do that. There’s no specific guideline I have to follow. They look really unique and different from other types of animations. I think my videos are unique because I hand-draw each frame,” Chang said.
Each animation takes about 100 drawings to create and can take five to seven hours. He has finished two stop motion videos in the past two weeks. His videos have no storyline; instead they are an outlet for the thoughts inside his head.
“I also want to get better at drawing and I can’t do that if I don’t practice, so I keep that in mind to motivate myself,” Chang said. “When I’m making it, I’m just thinking that maybe I should stop because it’s not worth the time and effort, but then I realize that I just wasted the past hour doing nothing if I stop. I always have a thought that maybe it won’t turn out as good as I think it will, but it usually does. I think it’s worth my time.”
Although Chang’s drawing skills are all self-taught, his mother and sister inspire him through their art to work harder. He also gathers inspiration from YouTube videos and often searches up behind-the-scene videos to see how the films are made.
“The videos are more meaningful to me because I know how hard and tiring it was to make them. I try my best when I make them, so I feel very proud of myself after I finish. Since they are hand drawn, there are some imperfections and little mistakes here and there,” Chang said. “It is tiring and takes some time, but I just keep in mind that the finished product will be worth the work.”
By Nicole Chiang, Staff writer
Photo by Jamie Chen