Charles Young

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Animation Art Design

Thousands of Structures Populate a Growing Whimsical Metropolis in Charles Young’s Miniature Cities

November 16, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of dozens of colorful miniature buildings and transportation

All images © Charles Young, shared with permission

After picking up a copy of Japanese artist Sanzo Wada’s A Dictionary of Color Combinations a few years ago, Charles Young decided to divert the course of his otherwise monochromatic body of work. The Scottish artist, who is currently based in Edinburgh, has accumulated an extensive archive of tiny buildings, transportation, and public architecture all created in white paper. The stark structures number well into the thousands and together, sprawl into massive miniature metropolises. They’re now joined by similarly sized creations in full color.

Published around 1930, Wada’s reference manual groups pigments into complementary combinations of two, three, or four, and Young uses these pairings as the foundation for his latest models of office buildings, churches, factories, and stations. He finished all of the four-color studies back in 2021 and has since moved on to those with three, a set he plans to wrap up in the new year. “The whole project is like a journal or sketchbook, and not much planning goes into each piece before I start work,” he says. “The project is really about the process and the massing of individual parts rather than each individual building.”

After formulating a general idea of the intended piece, Young prints each hue onto a single sheet of watercolor paper. “I’ll choose one of the colours to be the main feature, used in the walls, and others as accents or for the roofs. It’s a kind of intuitive process where there just seems to be a right way to do it,” he shares. Once cut and assembled into their final three-dimensional shapes, the works are either left as standalone structures or animated in whimsical, stop-motion movements, like a train spinning on its platform or an excavator dipping its bucket.

As mentioned, Young’s three-color studies are ongoing, and you can follow his progress on those on Instagram.

 

An animated image of a train entering a station and turning on its platform

Four photos of tiny structures and transportation vehicles

An animated image of an excavator dipping its bucket

Four photos of tiny buildings and bridges

A photo of dozens of colorful miniature buildings and transportation

An animated image of an arm turning a wheel

 

 

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Animation Art Design

Artist Charles Young’s Growing Metropolis of 635 Paper Structures

November 8, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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Last year we were thrilled to discover this little paper world constructed by artist Charles Young who conceived of the idea as a 365-day creative project to explore different architectural forms through paper, every single day for a year. Except… it turns out he never stopped. The tiny paper metropolis has now grown to 635 buildings, many with moving parts that Young expertly animates and shares daily on his Tumblr. The entire papercraft city will be on view from November 10-26, 2016 at the NEoN Digital Arts Festival in Dundee, Scotland.

 

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Animation Art Design

Artist Charles Young Completes Work on Daily Paper Model Project After Designing 365 Structures

August 10, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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It’s daunting to witness the labor poured into a 365-day creative project, be it taking a daily photo, doing a quick sketch, or even writing a few lines. Edinburgh-based artist Charles Young (previously) gets particularly high marks for completing his daily paper model project that he started a year ago today as a way to explore design, architecture, and model building.

Every single one of his 365 models was designed, cut, and assembled daily using 220gsm watercolor paper and PVA glue, with many of the structures incorporating moving components that Young photographed to create quick animations. The pieces are frequently infused with bits of whimsy and ingenuity, probably the result of any undertaking requiring so many different random ideas. Although he’s now stopped working, Young hopes to eventually display the cityscape somewhere in its entirety. You can find more of his paper architecture on Etsy.

 

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Design

Artist Charles Young Is Building a Vast Paper City, One Tiny Model at a Time

December 1, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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One of my favorite new Tumblrs to follow is Paperholm, a project that started this summer by Charles Young who challenged himself to build a new paper structure each day. Young received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Edinburgh College of Art where he taught himself paper and card modeling. Despite a long-time familiarity with the process and materials, it’s amazing to see the progress he’s made in just the last three months or so as the models become more intricate and lend themselves to bits of animation. You can follow Young’s growing paper city here.

 

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A Colossal

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Sailing Ship Kite