A Skate Video Done in Watercolor, Frame by Frame


Matthew Box transforms ordinary skate footage by rendering each frame as  a watercolor painting, and then putting them all together in a flowing animation. Here, Box captures the unique style of Jason Dill, and shares his plans for the series in a brief interview below.

The Atlantic: What was the inspiration for the video? 

Matthew Box: I've always wanted to create an expressive skate film, but never had the ability or equipment to create one. I come from a do-it-yourself punk background through putting on alternative music shows. I always loved how the same D.I.Y. ethic exists in skateboarding. I decided to make my own skate video using paint and paper. Within skateboarding the emphasis on personal style is increasing. 

It's not just about the tricks you can do; it’s how you do them. I wanted to isolate the skateboarder from his surroundings, thus forcing the viewer to concentrate solely on the subtlety of movement. I chose Dill for the first episode because his style is very individual and recognizable. 

How did you develop this technique?

It’s an old animation technique called rotoscoping, but I didn't know that at the time though. It's essentially tracing over stills of footage. While I was experimenting with this technique I used different colors and really enjoyed how it had a psychedelic feel. That's when I came up with the name Acid Drops for the project. It was a lot of painting but I'm kind of an amateur insomniac. It gave me something to do when I couldn't sleep and it's quite addictive seeing something you've painted come to life.

What's next for you?

I want to do more Acid Drops episodes; I've got quite a few skateboarders I admire that I want to see in paint. I also want to delve into other moving image media such as music videos and short films. I'm also starting a skate-inspired art print and clothing label called Unreal-Estate soon.

For more work by Matthew Box, visit http://mattbox.co.uk/

Via Vimeo Staff Picks

Jump to comments

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Social Security: The Greatest Government Policy of All Time?

It's the most effective anti-poverty program in U.S. history. So why do some people hate it?

Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus


Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.


Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.


Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.


Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.


The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air



More in Video

Just In