The Library

The Art of Stop Motion with Tilman Singer

If you are intrigued by stop motion but wonder what all the fuss is about then this short article should make you aware of how impressive the results can be if you have the drive, a creative mind and obviously bundles of patience to achieve something special.

Looking back through the decades this artistic process has been used since 1898 where Albert E. Smith and J. Stuart Blackton created The Humpty Dumpty Circus which inspired different generations throughout the 1900’s to push the idea creatively decade by decade. The classic 1960’s era spawned extremely popular TV shows such as The Magic Roundabout and the Clangers which made kids go wild for animated characters and it is from here that the art form flourished worldwide.

Nowadays we see this animation technique around us daily, from Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox movie or from within our own scene recently with the colourful claymation intros from the Flip Extremely Sorry video where Edgar Alvarez and his amazing crew from Colombia stitched together hours and hours of tiny movements to bring the team characters to life. The results were impressive to say the least once you realise the amount of work that goes into these projects.

Recently, a new stop motion skate edit was put together and uploaded to the web by Tilman Singer, a 22 year old from Cologne in Germany. The beauty of the internet these days is that most people are quite easy to reach with email so within an hour of sending some correspondence Tilman popped up with a reply to give us a few words on the construction of this his animation…

So what inspired you to piece this web flick together?

Well, these days I do not skate as frequently as I want to anymore but nevertheless skateboarding has always interested and inspired me and it is a great way to prevent yourself from growing up. You could say that this is my first animation or maybe my first video art production and I would love to be able to carve out a living from this type of work and that’s for this reason that inspired me to put this together.

How long did it take to complete?

I worked on it over a three month period mostly at night but I think if I had gone about it without breaks it would have kept me busy for a full week.

How did you come up with the ideas for the scenes themselves?

I pretty much tried to imitate a skateboard video or just looked at the craft supplies I had to built my spots and then searched for fitting photography.

You must have gone through a huge amount of sequences, talk us through the process of elimination.

Well, I had about thrice as many scenes and I had to eliminate those that were without good flow in movement. I looked through all my old skateboard magazines and also bought some new ones whilst working on the video and found the photographs in magazines like Monster Skateboard Magazine, Limited Skateboard Magazine and Place Magazine. The first thing I did was look for sequences in which the skateboarder was shown in a clear understandable way, then I searched for tricks I liked and also spots I could actually recreate. Not every sequence is ideal for an animation like this because due to the design of the magazines some photos are smaller than others or have different colours or text on it.

Did you make your own music for it too?

Yes. Since my flatmate and I are both musicians you can find a lot of instruments and electronics for recording in our apartment. Creating the music was the easier part!

So which skaters feature in the edit?

You can see the bail scene recreated from Foundation’s ‘That’s Life‘ video. I took it from a video because I couldn’t find any bail sequences printed at all. I’m sure you identified Corey Duffel and Manny Santiago, I will leave you to name the rest of them!

The first person to contact us with a correct list of all of the skaters in the edit will receive a package of CF shit and also allow us to credit where credit is due…enjoy Tilman’s latest work here:

Skateboardanimation from Tilles Singer on Vimeo.