Graduate Graphic Design Boston University

Tender Buttons

Arielle Epstein


This animation is set to a text from Gertrude Stein’s “Tender Buttons”, an image based collection of short poems. The animation is about representing the spirit of the words rather than defining their meaning.

Chosen Text:

“An elegant use of foliage and grace and a little piece of white cloth and oil. WATER RAINING. Water astonishing and difficult altogether makes a meadow and a stroke.”

When I began story boarding, I tried to decode and represent each word. Further along in the animation, my approach changed. I decided to make the animation spiral towards abstraction then circle back to the recognizable starting point of the two trees in a field. In the spirit of Bill Plympton, I decided to take an analogue approach, which meant lots of drawings!

As the animation progressed, the motion became more complex, prompting me to create directional templates to keep track of the paths of moving objects. This what not a technique I was familiar with yet a very rational way to solve registration issues in the absence of technology.








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