1,000 Light Paintings Form One Beautiful Stop-Motion Animation

Artist Darren Pearson draws with light. His latest stop-motion animation video, Lightspeed, contains 1,000 light paintings that have been seamlessly stitched together creating a visual glowing piece of moving art.


Pearson, who  has a background in both film and graphic design, became fascinated with the technique by happenstance. “My interest in light painting really started a couple years back when I saw the famous Picasso Draws a Centaur photo where he’s light painting. The second I realized that you can draw within a photograph, that’s what turned the light on for me,” says Pearson.


To create a light painting, Pearson waits until dusk or evening and sets his camera on a tripod. He then takes a photo with a long exposure—usually between two and seven minutes. While the shutter is open he jumps in front of the camera and “paints” with various tools that resemble flashlights. The result is clever, engrossing images teetering between fantasy and reality. Though his illustrations appear to manifest with ease, the process can be tedious and labor intensive.


Lightspeed features different light beings exploring the California wilderness at night. Each frame had to be photographed, animated, and signed by Pearson himself—a project he said took a full year. “Most nights I was in the middle waving in the wilderness like a fool with LED lights,” Pearson told Petapixel, “like I was on my own at a rave.”