Tag Archives: paper engineering

Pop-ups: Water Polo

I recently resumed my fascination with pop-up art. It’s fun to abstract the world to a system of interacting planes. I’ve created cats at play, architecture, and hot air balloons. It was inevitable that my play would turn to water polo, and so it has. I wondered how I would depict a goalie blocking a ball or a player swimming down the pool. I cannibalized some poster designs from a few months ago and was off to the races.

Below is my water polo pop-up book! I’m already scheming on new ideas, but I’m very proud of my first foray.

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Popping up again

I love pop-up books and cards. They join art and engineering in a way that tickles my brain. I love collecting books, and I love designing too.

That love of design has led me to reopen my Etsy store, ViroBooks. My shop has posters, pop-up cards, and hand-bound books.

My latest project is a set of four greeting cards: Cats dreaming of mischief. The cover shows a cat curled in sleep, and four different interiors show different kinds of idyllic kitty mayhem.

I had such fun designing and assembling these cards. I am brimming with inspiration, so look to see some future works related to New Mexico, Albuquerque, science, and more!

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Some More Fun with Pop-Ups

I’ve written a few times about my interest in pop-ups on this blog. I’ve played around with making them and I’ve found some toys with which to make them better. But pop-ups can be hard, and after a lot of play, I found myself a little discouraged. I would try and try, but I wouldn’t seem to approach a working solution. I put my pop-ups aside for a bit.

Then, last weekend, I took a pop-up book class through a local club. The class was instructed by Carol Barton, who has written several pop-up instructional books, as well as produced several artistic pop-up books. We made dozens of pop-ups in the class, ranging from very simple to more complex. We talked about different kinds of folds and cuts. Some of my pop-ups worked, some didn’t. My classmates experimented too. Carol was an excellent teacher, helping us to think intuitively about the pop-up rather than strictly mathematically. I came out of the weekend feeling much more confident. I might still make mistakes, but I work toward a better product eventually.

Below are some of my pop-ups. The two most complex pop-ups are ones I’ve worked on this last week. The last three ones I made in a few minutes in the class with scissors cutting by hand.

If you are interested in learning to make pop-ups, I recommend Carol’s books in the “Pocket Paper Engineer” series. They have excellent illustrations and explanations. Even better, they have pages for you to cut out and work on pre-designed pop-ups. These pages show you all the techniques of pop-up books, starting at the most simple and becoming more complex.

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My big project this week: the Old Courthouse and the Arch in St. Louis. I programmed this in Illustrator and used my Silhouette Cameo to do the cuts.

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Preliminary work on a pop-up of UVA’s Rotunda.

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A simple saddle pop-up, cut by hand in class.

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A pop-up made of a series of box pop-ups. It looks fancier than it is– it took no planning and only a few moments of snipping and folding to make.

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A series of box folds to make a very simple yet in my opinion really interesting pop-up.

Paper engineering (AKA: pop ups!)

Everybody love a pop-up book. The well-executed ones are a thing of joy. I got a pop-up book as a kid about dinosaurs, which I didn’t care that much about, in French, which I didn’t read. I read that thing to its grave.

Recently, I see more pop-up books in stores, aimed at more than just children. These books are made by not artists, but paper engineers. As an engineer, I approve of this shift in language. Perhaps I should strive to be a word and paint engineer, rather than writer and illustrator. A few years ago, I bought Moby Dick, as done by paper engineer Sam Ita. Amazon lists a few of his books here. He even has a pop-up Xmas tree, if you’re still looking. His Moby Dick is wonderful, with whirling whirlpools and ships complete with rigging and a looking-glass.

I have started my own attempts at pop-up (shown below). A fun project, but one on hold for now because I’m not sure how to put them together with any kind of efficiency. If you’re interested in learning about pop-ups, I have used a few books to guide my exploration:

popupHappy paper engineering!