Time-lapsing Art

Producing art of any medium can be a lengthy, intricate process that can be condensed concisely into time-lapse capture and short videos. Despite a wide spectrum of art materials and methods, the flexibility of time-lapse means it can be applied to document a range of work from charcoal, oil, and watercolour right through to 3D and digital art.

time-lapsing art

The rise of art time-lapse videos

The importance of showcasing art and the process of creating pieces through short videos and photography has risen exponentially with the advent of social media. Artists post time-lapse videos across all platforms to garner attention, support, and ultimately more sales.

Time-lapse reveals how much effort goes into producing an artwork, documenting every intricate detail as a project develops. Such videos allow us to peek inside the artist’s studio so we can understand and admire the level of skill and methods used to create the end piece. Sharing capture online allows artists access to a far wider audience than just through traditional art exhibitions.

One artist who cleverly combines traditional and new sales and marketing methods is Charming Baker. We were privileged to capture the installation and the opening night of his solo show at Sotheby’s S2 Gallery, which was then showcased in a time-lapse video (created by another company) for viewing across the internet.

In the three months prior to the exhibition, we also installed a camera system at his studio to document the artist at work and to watch the processes involved in the creation of the pieces for the event. We carefully managed everything from capture rates to optimal lighting settings to ensure an insightful high-quality time-lapse video to represent his work.

Short bite-size videos showcasing artists at work are definitely here to stay, especially as Instagram has recently confirmed they will be prioritising videos over stills. This need to produce effective art footage has spawned numerous videos dedicated to “how to make art time-lapse videos” for YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook, advising on how to position the camera, lighting, and the best software to use.  

Time-lapsing charcoal techniques

The importance of showcasing videos comes into play especially when artists use unusual techniques. With many artworks, we have a general idea of how the pieces are created – for example, charcoal being used in strokes to build up shading and depth for the finished piece. However, when Florent Farges starts his video by literally dumping a pile of charcoal onto paper we were intrigued to see how work would progress. It is fascinating to see through video how a delicate, intricate portrait emerges from a huge black smudge.

Capturing oil painting

Talented artists such as Daria Callie use time-lapse to make the viewer appreciate not just the end result, but the level of skill, patience, and time required to create such an image as the oil painting titled “Blossom”. Revealing specific details including how she mixes and lays out oils in an array of skin tones lets us look closely at her processes and secrets of success.

Hyperrealism art revealed

By documenting the progress of works such as “Blossom” the artist reveals how they create an illusion of reality. Other hyperrealistic artists are realising the importance of showing the time and involvement behind their pieces. Hyperrealistic art may look photographic, but behind such precision lies hours of dedicated work as seen in this video footage of the drawing by C Fiddler.

Watercolour processes

Different methods of art use varied techniques which can be appreciated in full by watching hours of work edited down into just a few minutes. Through a simple yet effective time-lapse video, we can see from start to finish the full watercolour process. This means viewers can appreciate methods and talent, but other artists take the video further by offering advice and tutorials, allowing the public the chance to learn how to (or attempt to!) create such illusions.  
The artist Stephanie Kilgast gives a detailed insight into the creation of her work Rainbow Forest, offering up advice on products she uses and techniques she tries whilst the development of the piece is captured on time-lapse.

Digital art time-lapsed

Time-lapse art tutorials can be found across all mediums, including the newer format of digital art created using software such as Photoshop and Procreate.

Art with Flo offers a fully narrated digital drawing time-lapse of a Japanese street. She talks the viewer through her Photoshop time-lapse drawing, including her painting process, techniques, and even the Photoshop brushes used. She attempts to de-mystify the process, whilst also successfully reinforcing her expertise and skill.

Dana i Nana also lets us behind the scenes of digital art, allowing us to see the process of creating “Cute Girl” in Procreate. Through time-lapse, she effectively condenses four hours of drawing into a short video – offering inspiration to those wishing to try out such techniques and hopefully driving up sales of her work.

All these artists across different mediums are able to reach out and connect with fellow artists, viewers and potential clients through effective time-lapse videos. Giving detailed insights into their work and the processes behind the finished pieces is an effective marketing tool and adds to their story and brand. This use of short videos looks set to stay, especially with large mainstream platforms such as Instagram and TikTok prioritising videos over stills images.

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