Dancing with myself

I have become utterly bored by my breakfast (in dismay at my shortening belt, I’ve taken to eating celery and radishes and the like while staring out the kitchen window dreaming of waffles) so I have embarked on a new subject – my reflection. I don’t think it’s pure vanity but rather the easy availability of the subject and his increasing lumpy wrinkledness which makes for more interesting lines and shadows than the usual bagel.

I have also been considering the several international trips I have scheduled for the rest of the year and wondering if there’s an easy way to make Sketchbook Films on my own while I am abroad. I plan to draw, obviously, while I’m there and it would be interesting to share the process with you. Unfortunately I won’t be able to sneak my crew into my bag, so I may have to make do with ingenuity and a jury-rigged camera setup.

To that end, I knocked out a quick test at home which was fairly educational. I didn’t plan it properly so I ended up drawing myself with a couple of Sharpies on an old shopping list and the light was quickly fading. The old Flip camera I was testing likes a lot of sunlight so I’ll probably get better image quality in Shanghai, Rio, Capetown and Perth. The resulting film is a bit ugly and fairly interesting, like the drawing itself, and if you have any creative suggestions about how to improve future versions (that don’t require helicopters, Teamsters, or an army of makeup artists), please leave a comment. I have been collecting some small tripods and a wide-angle lens so testing will continue.

If you think the idea of me doing a drawing and stopping to readjust a barrage of cameras around me like some schizophrenic paparazzo, you are quite right. These are the sacrifices I willingly make for art.

23 Comments

  1. Love the idea…. seems the vimeo video is private, though, Danny. Some sort of settings hiccup maybe? Just another thing to worry about.

    Can’t wait to see your autobiographical sketching videos. I don’t think they’re too schizo since artists have been doing selfies for a long, long time. Who better to model than oneself, right? Free, convenient, doesn’t openly complain about achieving a likeness.

  2. less

    check out the frugal filmmaker blog. If you have an iPh0ne you can get a cheap and small mount and tripod for peanuts and it takes great video. You can edit in camera with a cheap app called slice with which you can add your own music. Alternatively a small canon Vixia camcorder is lightweight, portable and does better than the flip.

    • dannygregory

      Thanks for the terrific suggestions, less. I’ll definitely check out FFB and even though I have two (or maybe three) Flips and the trusty Canon 7D, I am always looking for excuses to buy more gear :) I am a Droid man and the video on my X is pretty useless.

    • dannygregory

      frugal filmaker is awesome! What a great resource. Thanks, Less!

  3. gypsysnail

    Danny as usual, an amazing artist! I’m deaf but wondered if you will be able to subtitle some of your videos some time down the track? :) I have a nickname for you, Mr Clippy :) from the cute paperclip with eyes character on an old Word program back in 1998/1999, I only give nicknames in a nice way so I hope you don’t mind. Keep up the awesome stuff

    • dannygregory

      Ha! My videos are worldless. Not silent, because they have music, but I like the idea of telling stories just with images. Perhaps you are the reason why.
      — Mr. Clippy

      • gypsysnail

        Lol Mr Clippy :) yes yes yes!! I love your style, absolutely agree everything is visual without the need for words and that probably explains why I get your videos really well, whereas with most vids by anyone else not so easily :) *big high five!* :) Mind if I share some of my artwork with you? Love to chat with you some time, I’m from Australia and use chat messengers online. I can give you my art page, hoping its ok for me to do that…. http://gypsysnail.deviantart.com/gallery

  4. Ana Tirolese

    Truly, I was expecting a huge muck-up but instead am quite impressed with this video. I would have liked to have seen the finished product for a few seconds more at the end, but that is my only issue with it. You would never know that you did not have a camera crew with you with how this turned out. I look forward to seeing the video of your sojourn.

    • dannygregory

      I decided not to dwell on it but rather post my bigger and I think better double self portrait. But next time I shall linger longer.

  5. joyce

    I’m glad you are going to make films on your trips. I like this one, but too short! Keep’em coming!

  6. Sofia

    Hi Danny! Is always good to read you and see you. Please tell us, what kind of pen do you use with you Lamy fountain pen?

  7. Tam

    I think it’s a great idea. Can’t wait to see you draw the world! I love that you just picked up an orange sharpie. You just keep re-un-intimidating me about being an artist.

  8. ChrisF

    Danny, have you had trouble with the Lamy leaking on airplanes?
    I think the video looks good. I think if you will be outdoors on these trips light shouldn’t be a problems, but a small tripod would be handy.

    • dannygregory

      No trouble leaking on planes —Unless there’s a long line at the WC,

  9. Nina / Apple-Pine

    Loved the video! I think if you can give camera a little more space to focus on your finger/pen better blur would be less distraction. Time to get iphone/ipod to shoot form two sides – one for the hand/paper/one for the subject – and juxtapose them? I think it would be cool and I am sure that amount of play you might get out of changing the relationship of frames will be great ;)

  10. juka503

    You know what? I’m going to do the same right now! The idea is so simple but really interesting as we see ourselves completely different in a mirror. Thank you Danny for the idea!

  11. Andrea thompson

    I want to go try this too, but my first attempts with videotaping myself doing my mandalas was very shaky and looked blotched together, yours seemed very professional for being just one guy. Love all your sketches!

  12. Tina

    You R fantastic!!! It’s like Christmas Every time I get to see what you’re up to. Lovely!!!
    So interestimg, inspirering & educational. You’re such à giving soul ;-)

    Love from your big fan in
    Stockholm

  13. Sharon Toh

    Which Perth are you going to? If it’s the one in Australia, depending on your timing there might be a small but enthusiastic semi-professional film crew to help you shoot. Email me if interested. :)

  14. Andrea Joseph

    You inspire me. Muchly.

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