Heide at Home - Charles Blackman: Stop Motion Animation

Inspired by Charles Blackman’s The Shadow (1953), follow these instructions to create your own stop motion animation.

Heide Museum of Modern Art - Heide at Home

Heide at Home gives you sneak peeks of exhibitions, keeping you informed about the Heide gardens, and providing some creative activities for adults and kids alike.


Charles Blackman: Stop Motion Animation Charles Blackman (1928-2018) was an Australian modernist painter and member of the Heide circle. He is most noted for his Schoolgirls and Alice in Wonderland series.

Blackman painted the Schoolgirls series between 1952 and 1955, depicting imaginary scenes of school girls in uniform, often with wide brimmed hats, and placed in lonely urban settings as a metaphor for innocence under threat. The imagery also reflected the isolation that Blackman felt upon moving to Melbourne in 1951 and trying to find his way as a young artist in an unfamiliar environment.

In The Shadow, Blackman uses the convention of composition. The horizon line sits approximately one-third of the way down the painting, with the figure standing to the right of centre. Her shadow leads the viewer’s eye from the foreground up to the horizon line. This creates a triangle that encourages the viewer’s attention to travel around the painting. Can you see this triangle? This also demonstrates how artists can use the principle of movement in their work.

In our animation, we drew heavily upon the original composition of Blackman’s The Shadow. The figure is in the same position, but the horizon line has been lowered slightly to accommodate the action in the animation.

We used the same colour palette for the setting, but the contrast created by the shadow and the dark outlines has been removed to brighten the animation. New colours have been added to the schoolgirl figure and additional characters and objects.

Compare and contrast Blackman’s The Shadow with our animation.

How do you think conventions, elements and principles convey mood in each?


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