Exploring Paper Engineering as a Possible Approach to Answering the Brief

A key point of this module is to try out as many different approaches to answering a brief as possible, one of the approaches that I found promising but ended up scratching was pop-up illustration. Calling it “pop-up illustration” is a tad insulting to the skill that goes into crafting this kind of art. Another term for it that I’ve stumbled upon is “Paper engineering” and I think that’s the more appropriate way to refer to it.. I spent less than a week researching the medium but had to call it quits before truly pursuing anything as a saving grace in the form of common sense dawned upon me – it wasn’t going to work.. Not enough time, not good enough of an attention span and most importantly, it would not have been a satisfying result, at least for me. I figured – drag doesn’t translate as well on paper as it would being a 3D object (an outfit), therefore, I decided not to proceed further with it. But, I wouldn’t be making this post had I not given it at least a “diet” shot. I put the time in to sketch out some roughs and even make a small pop-up illustration.

My interest in the possibility of paper engineering for a final piece came from the artist book workshop from the Word and Image module. We were asked to make an artist book of our liking, however, it was not specified that the artist book had to be abstract.. or a concertina.. I remember the workshop starting and I just went straight into book binding a few double pages together and working on a small pop up on the first double page spread. I had dug around my endless archive or old illustrations that I cut out of old encyclopedias (which were at risk of being tossed away, mind you, I did not destroy perfectly good encyclopedias for nothing!) and created multiple sheets of textures that I had planned to use in the artist book. At that point in time, I only had figured out the Hatchling stage of my creature, which is why it was the one I chose to go with. Here are some of the images of how the process went down:

I must say, it was quite poorly made in terms of engineering – it would struggle when closing and opening, constantly begging for assistance from the hands of the holder, the shapes exited the borders and were in a desperate need of a trim or a “bigger tank”, but regardless, it was a pop-up thing that I had made with my own hands, therefore I decided to keep with it. At the end of the day, it is development!

After I had given it a shot, I was intrigued by the possibilities that the medium held, so I looked into paper engineering even further. It was quite beneficial for me to look into it more, especially afted I had felt disheartened regarding making the actual looks due to constraint of time. (which, in retrospect, was quite silly of me to do so early on, especially considering I could have had a couple looks in the process of being made, but I digress)

Daniel Gordon

Researching analogs and visual references got me hyped up, to a quite delusional extent too, thankfully, I snapped back into reality not that late into the game and am now able to say that this was never going to happen, regardless of how much I would have loved for it to work. Maybe someday.

These were the few designs I had considered making and gradually ended up scrapping. Until.. I remembered an artist that I had been following for quite the while on Instagram – Alex Eckman-Lawn.

Using multiple layers of images printed onto card, Alex creates depth and a pop-up quality within his pieces. This sort of technique would make it so much easier to create pop-up pieces should I decide to make them as an addition to my final presentation. The only thing left to do in regards of this is to figure out the medium in which I would make the images that I would later use in the layered pop-up.

Regardless of whether or not I will go forward with making something using this medium for this module, it was certainly an interesting field to indulge myself in and I will definitely give it a shot at some point in my creative career.

The final turn-out can be found here:


2 thoughts on “Exploring Paper Engineering as a Possible Approach to Answering the Brief

  1. Pingback: Creating my Creature Part 4: Furthering my Concept and Figuring out the Skin – Robertas Tijusas

  2. Pingback: Process and Practice Final Pieces and Evaluation – Robertas Tijusas

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