Drawing doesn’t fully exploit the potential of paper.
That’s when the discovery of paper engineering happened. The art was a perfect amalgamation of geometry, structures, and paper modelling. Experimenting with the possibilities of the medium pushed creativity to go beyond a double spread and do more and more with paper. What excited most was the magic that the output created. No electricity, no metal or screws or things that you have to plug in. It is so non-technical, and yet you get to make the magic happen with your hands.
Pop-ups fascinate the kid inside us.
Just like animation and comics are loved by adults just as much as they are by the kids, pop-ups have a similar appeal when it comes to captivating the attention of a mature audience. The whole thrill of seeing a huge picture rise up between a normal spread and close itself back peacefully into the page is an exciting experience. It’s a pleasant surprise from regular prints on paper. Furthermore, the content and presentation bring the art closer to the imagination with a better look and narrative.
Every story has a story behind it.
In this art, everything begins with the visualisation. After working on pop-up structures over years continually, everything seems to pop up and shut back in dreams. Some of these went forward in the form of a book. These ideas come from daily life or certain incidents that occur. Therefore, every story has a story behind it. The craft gives the audience a taste of the backstory that gave birth to the idea. It all depends on how directly or discretely you depict that story. Nowadays, digital technology has fueled the production process. From die to make to laser cutting, such technological advancements have pushed intricacy and hence the structures. This gives us scope to think beyond the bizarre.
Your choices decide the narrative.
It’s important to know which elements to pop up and in what proportion in order to keep the flow of the narrative intact. This can be done in two ways. Either you pick a scene and make it memorable with structural possibilities or you take a memorable scene and give it one more reason to be remembered for. The choice is yours. Sometimes, pop-up art is not just about rising structures. There are various other factors that contribute to the storytelling process in the piece of art, like lights and shadows. They also have to be taken into account, especially when working with white. If you’re working with colours, it’s important to be aware of the fact that a lot is already happening within a spread. Therefore the colours chosen must be such that they do not clash with the structures.
Illustration skills matter up till the page.
Beyond that, it’s the ability to visualize the possible structure that you have in mind. It’s about thinking in 3D, which is the most challenging part in this form of art. That’s why, beyond the realm of the paper, the pencil quits and a paper cutter takes charge.
Pop-up is not Origami.
Origami is the traditional paper art of Japan and is different from pop-up art. Origami just involves the folding of paper to create static forms like a crane, dragon etc. whereas paper engineering is moving mechanics and all about folding, cutting and pasting to create structures.