There's a magic to stop frame animation when it's done well; hours of handcrafted movements giving life to the inert, if only for a few seconds. Katy Beveridge is one animator who's got the skills (not to mention patience) to add some wizardry to the otherwise most stationary of objects – like stationery. In a series of stop motion films for us, she's put her signature spin on some of our colourful notebooks, notecards, and invitations . We went behind the scenes on the shoot in her east London studio and asked a few questions.
What's your background? I'm from Scotland originally but grew up mostly around South East Asia; Singapore, Brunei, Korea and Malaysia. I moved back to the UK to study at Central Saint Martins. University taught me how to bring physical craft and digital tools together, which is really the foundation of my work.
How and when did you start making your stop motion animations? I started making stop motion about halfway through university. I loved that it allowed me to bring all of these different practices together; set design, art direction, photography, etc. I'd got a summer job in the art department on a big commercial animation and totally fell in love with being on set. That was when I decided I wanted to do this as a career. After that summer I went back and switched to Moving Image. The new CSM Kings Cross campus had all of these incredible editing suites and stop motion studios so it made sense to use the facilities whilst they were there. I went on to work as an animation assistant, set designer and an art department all rounder for a few years whilst building up my own portfolio of work.
"It's like climbing very slowly and carefully up a mountain, then skiing down it really fast."
How did you find your signature style? Working primarily with fashion brands over the years has helped me to develop a style that is more conceptual rather than literal. I think there is a general tendency to see stop motion animation as cute or twee so I actively try and avoid that. I look for artistic influences from a broad range of sources. I go to galleries, museums and look through fashion magazines to develop visual concepts and then bring these concepts to life through stop motion. I also tend to work with people that come from still life photography backgrounds; set designers, photographers, art directors whose work I love. This helps me to keep evolving my work too.
What was your process for creating the Papier videos? We were sent some samples of the products and worked from there to create a unique mood-board for each. I wanted to let the products lead the process. The quality and texture of the Papier products was really important to highlight. The intention was for the videos to feel tactile and yet playful; these are beautiful products but they're also meant to be used.
What makes stop motion so fun? It's a really slow process but the moment you play it back is such a buzz. Like climbing very slowly and carefully up a mountain, then skiing down it really fast. One video, that lasts just a few seconds, is the result of hundreds of individual frames painstakingly caught over many hours.