Creative minds have always been known to survive any kind of bad training. — Anna Freud

Apr 01 2008

Pop-Up Love

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Pop-up books (movable books) had captivated my delight while growing up and my love for them has grown and followed me through adulthood. I’ve admired anyone who can take plain paper and turn it into something beautiful. Here’s a little bit about the history behind pop-ups/movable books and some of my favorite pop-up artists.

Volvelle ImageHistory
Pop-up books were first called Volvelles and predate the print culture. Ramon Llull (c.1235-1316), a Catalan mystic and poet, created interactive mechanisms (Volvelles) to illustrate his complex philosophical search for truth.

Volvelles were used through the eighteenth century for manuscripts and in printed books. They were used for a variety of topics, including natural science, astronomy, mathematics, mysticism, fortune telling, navigation, and medicine.

When Turn-Up or Lift-The-Flap mechanisms were introduced in the early fourteenth century they were extensively used to illustrate anatomy. At that time movable books were specifically designed only for adults. It wasn’t until the early nineteenth century that movable books were available for children.

Pop-up Artists
Robert Sabuda and Matthew ReinhartThe Chronicles of Narnia Pop-Up Book
Robert and Matthew are master paper engineer partners and have published many children’s pop-up books. Their most recent pop-up book The Chronicles of Narnia (published in 2007) is richly detailed and has amazing movable elements. Both Robert and Matthew designed an Encyclopedia Prehistorica series that showcases Mega-Beasts, Sharks and Other Sea Monsters, and Dinosaurs: The Definitive Pop-Up. Robert’s visionary adaptation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland leaves you in awe and admiration.

Robert’s favorite pop-ups are those that are created with white paper. He has been fascinated with how shadows play with paper and his America The Beautiful, Winter’s Tale: An Original Pop-up Journey, and Winter in White: A Mini Pop-up Treat are all based on his shadow play.



The Book Of Phobias Pop-Up BookGary Greenberg and Matthew Reinhart
Of all the books that crack me up, The Pop-Up Book of Phobias and The Pop-Up Book of Nightmares are my favorites. Both books poke fun at phobias and nightmares and are enhanced with macabre artwork (illustrator Balvis Rubess) that suits each topic perfectly. Gary is a nationally touring stand-up comedian and writer and Matthew is a paper sculptor and modelmaker who has created three-dimensional work for hit children’s shows and for other published books.



David A. Carter and James Diaz
The Elements of Pop-up: A Pop-Up book for Aspiring Paper Engineers When I first saw the book The Elements of Pop-up: A Pop-Up Book for Aspiring Paper Engineers, I couldn’t get my hands on it quick enough. This book is the definitive book on how to make pop-ups (paper engineering). It covers a wide range of movable elements along with easy, step-by-step instructions and working examples. I love manipulating each example and being in awe at how easy these mechanisms can work such amazing visual magic.

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