Our latest pick is playful from start to finish, its genesis being a collab initiative that went rather like a game. Animator Lawrence Becker explained it to us. “This was part of an ‘Anijam’ or ‘Exquisite Corpse’ collaboration with a bunch of 2D animators (collectively known as ‘Family Camp’) that actually started way back in 2020 when the pandemic hit. However, it took us nearly 2 years to finally get it done because we were all pretty busy.

“Basically, for those that don’t know, we are given our first frame by the previous animator and we give the next animator our last frame, which is also whatever creature or animal that we “shed our skin” and turned into. So, I was given the ghost frame by Sarah Rebar and I gave my chameleon frame to Mari Jaye Blanchard — you can see her animation after mine here on Instagram.

“I was the only stop motion animator in the group and I went to my 2D felt cutout multi-plane glass setup so it would somewhat blend with the hand drawn animations,” Becker said of his fast-paced addition to the collaboration. “I basically made it up as I went along though, I had a vague idea of where it was going, but once I started playing with the cigarette burning, I loved the effect so much I focused in on that.” This additive nature of the project explains why the arc of the piece progresses the way it does–seemingly flowing quickly from one thing to another with total visual cohesiveness, but no incredibly obvious reason for everything to appear there all together in the first place.

In Becker’s portion, various felt characters end up with cigarettes in their mouths that ash and burn in remarkably effective ways for such a soft and organic material as felt. He explained a bit of his process to us and how the project brought out his creativity. “I’ve played with felt cutouts so much over the years that it’s really a comfortable medium for me. I am always just trying to find new techniques within the technique at this point, so this one was really fun. I rarely get to just play and experiment anymore, and this felt very freeing. I think Mari Jaye had the biggest challenge because my chameleon drawing had so much detail that she had to draw for every frame!”

We really enjoyed what he came up with, and asked Becker when it would be out for public consumption. “I’m not sure when the full collaboration will be released, sometime this year I imagine, but you can see my part and Mari Jaye’s part on my Instagram, and other social media platforms.”

As for Becker’s segment, you can see the whole process in the video above, behind the scenes first, and then the final result. Enjoy!