Pre-Cinema Animation in the Post Cinema Age

In my own creative work, I’ve produced flipbooks, zoetrope strips and praxinoscope disks as a way to generate images and ideas.  But these and other pre-cinema approaches are also really great teaching tools.  They are a low stakes way to try out ideas and learn basic animation principles.  As objects, they are in some ways more accessible than single channel linear animated film or video.

Turntable Praxinoscope with Intaglio Disk by Karlee

In Drawing Outside the Lines, my co-faculty, Lisa Sweet, and I asked students to combine two antiquated technologies in their image-making by creating copperplate etched disks for praxinoscopes they made from repurposed record turntables.

After workshops in creating disks, drawing 6 frame animation cycles and repurposing turntables, the students executed the following assignments:

Praxinoscope I (aka, half-moon)
Assigned:  Mon., week 1
Drawing/mock-up due Thurs., week 2 in critique

Between week 2 and Tues. week 7, develop an intaglio plate, make 10 impressions in variety of ‘state print’ half-moon praxinoscopes on full size paper (i.e. paper that will accommodate a complete sphere praxinoscope image) employing a wide range of colors, values, transparencies in your use of ink. These prints will be used in an on-going collaborative – and somewhat contingent – process of developing full praxinoscopes through over-printing.

Print fest!  Tues. week 7, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
five praxinoscopes by peers to complete by printing the other half of the sphere.  Prints/ink must be dry by Tues. week 8.

Second printing assigned:  Tues. week 8
three praxinoscopes to over-print.  Prints/ink must be dry by Tues. week 9.

Last printing assigned:  Tues. week 9
two praxinoscopes by peers to over-print.  Prints must be dried flat in the editioning racks and ink must be dry by Tues. week 10.


Poster for the Praxinoscope Project, end of quarter show

Praxinoscope II (aka, full-moon)

Assigned:  Mon. week 5
Drawing/mock-up due Thurs. week 6

Final flat printed praxinoscopes due Tues. week 10

These praxinoscopes will permit you an opportunity to make a final independent praxinoscope of your own design.  (these also afford you the opportunity to establish a print exchange, in which every student receives a portfolio of praxinoscopes representing the work of everyone in the program!)

To see some wonderful pictures of the Praxinoscope Project show, go to the Photoland site and scroll down about a third of a page.