International Motion Art Awards: Stefan G. Bucher

By David Schonauer   Thursday January 8, 2015

As an illustrator, writer, and graphic designer, Stefan G. Bucher is used to wearing a number of hats: He is also the driving force behind the California design studio 344 Design, and the creator of the popular online animation series Daily Monster, which began when he filmed himself drawing a new monster every night for 100 nights. The clips have been downloaded over a million times and are collected, along with selected stories, in the book 100 Days of Monsters. His background in motion, however, really started when he began animating typography to create what he calls “overtures” to the frequent talks he gives to art and design groups. In 2014 he also created a music video for singer/songwriter Wesley Stace (who used to record as John Wesley Harding). The animated work, a winner of the International Motion Art Awards 3 competition, is also a self-portrait of the artist at work.



Project: music video for singer/songwriter Wesley Stace
Animator: Stefan G. Bucher
Design Firm: 344 Design

Illustrator, writer, graphic designer and animator Stefan G. Bucher began working on the music video for singer/songwriter Wesley Stace’s song “Goodbye Jane,” last January, after being invited by the performer to join in an intriguing creative process.

Stace had shot live-action video of six performances—one for each of the six songs on his most recent album, “Self-Titled.” He then asked six different artists to adapt or interpret that footage into unique videos. Bucher, a longtime Stace fan, was one of them.

Bucher explains his creative process on his website:

I began by making printouts of the original studio footage. One frame per sheet. I’d slip each one underneath a piece of vellum paper and started tracing. The trick was to figure out the minimum amount of detail to bring the performance alive on paper. Too few lines, and the animation becomes too abstract to make sense. Too many lines, and faces start looking wrinkled, and everything vibrates from frame to frame. A little vibration in the lines is the great appeal of this method, but too much would be frantic.

Motivated in equal parts by artistic vision and base expedience I decided to omit all detail from the bodies. Just for starters, a Martin guitar has six strings and 20 frets. And a bridge. And a hole. Even if the guitar only shows up in half the frames, that’s 25,200 extra things to draw. 25,200 chances to forget a part, or make it go squiggly. Besides, leaving out all those details really does look great! It focuses the eye on the faces. And I love how the guitar melts in and out of the silhouette of the body.

Here is Bucher's motion demo for the video:

Bucher has worked with other well-known artists over the years, creating designs for David Hockney, Judd Apatow, and the Blue Man Group. Born in Germany in 1973, he moved to California and earned a degree from the Art Center College of Design in 1996. That was followed by a stint working for the Wieden & Kennedy ad agency. He later launched his own 344 Design studio. He is also the author of a number of books, including All Access—The Making of 30 Extraordinary Graphic Designers (2004), The Graphic Eye—Photographs by Graphic Designers from Around the Globe (2009), and 344 Questions—The Creative Person’s Do-It-Yourself Guide to Insight (2011). Find him on Twitter (@stefangbucher) and Instagram (stefanbucher344).






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