RECENTLY I HAD the distinct honor to be invited to visit Thailand by Sirivatana Printing in Bangkok to see the production of my newest book, America’s National Parks. While it won’t be released until Spring 2013, you can get a brief sneak peek today. There is so much to share! While Sirivatana is based in Bangkok and the book was printed there, the assembly is actually done at their facility in Laos. But first a very warm thank you to my guide and new and great friend, Fah. Her guidance and bright sunny smile made the trip especially memorable. Kwan is her supervisor and accompanied us to Laos where we toured the assembly facility in Vientiene, along with some great sightseeing and delicious food!
Noi is holding the Glacier National Park pop up after she had made some adjustments to the construction that I requested. With her is Nee, who oversees the assembly facility. Nee, along with Kwan and Fah, were my guides in Laos. I can’t thank them enough for their warm hospitality and great work on our book.
So lets take a look at the book in progress. While I was there, there was a team of about 35 learning the book so that they could in turn, oversee the many other people who will eventually be hand assembling each spread. When it does reach the floor, each person will be assigned ONE piece only until the book is completed. Here are some photos of the process. At the end I’m back home and holding a finished copy of the book, showing the Grand Canyon. To see more of my trip, please visit me on my Facebook page….
Earlier this year I was commissioned to create something new for me…. a pop-up for an actual textbook! This three part pop-up of the human brain is included with the new edition of Worth Publisher’s The Three-Dimensional Brain by Don and Sandra Hockenbury. The main pop-up is the brain itself, with special areas identified with a numbered chart. To show the internal structure, one half is made of acetate so the interior is visible. Also included is a movable slider showing areas deep inside the brain, and a lift up pop-up of the Limbic System of the lower brain. Illustrations were provided by the very talented medical illustrator, Todd Buck. Tracey Kuehn of Worth Publishers served as my contact, and expertly oversaw the project.
As part of this project, we had to build a hundred of these pop-ups here in the studio in less than three weeks, while the regular press run was being produced later in China. It would not have been possible without the exceptional assistance of my daughter, Lydia, who worked with me for 10 hour days to get it done!
The National Museum of History in Taipei, Taiwan, has recently compiled an enormous exhibition of pop-up books, including my work in designing the Visionaire limited edition set Visionaire 55 Surprise, In the Beginning, and Harry Potter. Quoting a story on this event by Catherine Shu of the Taipei Times, “Digital readers are becoming increasingly ubiquitous, but sometimes there is no substitute for a paper book.” You can read her full report by visiting www.taipeitimes.com Also, click the photo to the left to enlarge.
Taipei, June 14 (CNA) “An exhibition of rare pop-up books will open in Taipei on Saturday with the aim of showing visitors that such books are also works of art, the organizers said Thursday.
The exhibition will showcase 160 rare pop-up books ranging from the longest pop-up book in the world — an 8.2-meter-long book about the history of the Czech Republic — to a 4-cm-wide miniature version of Anne of Green Gables.
Other items on displays will include books that open to a 1.4-meter-long Titanic, a 1.5 meter-tall space shuttle and a Taiwanese Hand Puppet theater.
The exhibition will also feature a set of books by the U.S. fashion quarterly Visionaire that has produced pop-ups by contemporary artists such as China’s Cai Guoqiang, who is known for his gunpowder drawings and explosive works.
“Our biggest goal is to send the message that pop-ups are not just ordinary books or children’s books, but interactive visual art,” said Michael Yang, curator of the event and a private collector who supplied the exhibits.
“Every pop-up book is assembled by hand, which means that each one is a unique piece of art,” Yang said.
The interactive nature of pop-up books also makes it easy for readers to absorb the knowledge and information contained there in, he added.
Chang Yui-tan, director of the National Museum of History where the exhibition will be held, agreed that pop-ups are unique and more than just books.
The museum hopes to show how pop-up books have evolved over the past 700 years, from a resource that explained astronomy, anatomy and mechanics to a spinoff of popular movies such as “Titanic,” “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter,” he said.
Matthew Reinhart, an American pop-up book artist who has created many award-winning books such as “Star Wars: A Pop-up Guide to the Galaxy,” and Hong Kong pop-up artist Liu Sijie will also attend the exhibition to discuss the creative processes with visitors.
Meanwhile, regular children’s books and pop-ups have been donated to children in rural areas of Taiwan as part of the exhibition, in a joint effort by the museum and the United Daily News Group.
A total of 1,000 elementary school children will be invited to attend the exhibition for free and workshops will be held to show teachers how to use pop-up books as a learning resource.
The exhibition will run until Sept. 16.”
On another note, last fall I was delighted to meet Cai at the opening of the Chao Arts of China Gallery of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Cai created an original gunpowder explosion artwork to grace all four walls of the gallery.
Wow. I can’t believe I’ve let several months pass without an update here! I’ve been so busy, not only with new projects, but also with an extraordinarily large number of school visits, appearances, and book signings! Its so incredibly rewarding getting out to share my work with new people, visiting new schools especially, but now I’m taking a deep breath and giving some updates.
So, first up, my new release of the fall, Puff, the Magic Dragon. Published by Sterling Publishers, I was delighted to be able to adapt the best selling Peter Yarrow/Lenny Lipton/Eric Puybaret picture book into pop up form. While rising costs of manufacturing prevented all of my ideas from being implemented, Puff was a delight to work with. With magnificent paintings by Mr. Puybaret and a cd of four songs from Peter Yarrow himself, this book is a must have for fans of pop up books and folk songs alike. Our book has been well received, as in this wonderful review posted recently in the New York Times. Check back soon as I’ll be creating a page on my website of images of the interior spreads soon.
Work continues on my next large book, a magnificent look at the major national parks of America. Featuring incredibly detailed illustrations by the talented Dave Ember and the insights and guidance of Don Compton (wwwest Publishing), this book is on track to be released next spring. It will feature 6 major parks and glimpses at several more. More on this soon!
Of immediate note, The Museum of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX has asked me to deliver a presentation and workshop Sunday, May 6. Additionally they have created a display of some of my work and processes. If you are in the area, please consider coming by. Would love to meet you! While there, be sure to enjoy the traveling exhibition of the work of Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart. I don’t have to tell you how exciting their work is!
And a month later, The Museum of Fine Arts in Dallas has invited me to give a presentation and workshop at their annual BooksmART Festival. Click here for more information on this exciting event. There will be many exciting authors and illustrators in attendance!
I mentioned that I have been visiting schools and telling the students all about the Magic of Paper Engineering. They were all wonderful. So I’d like to thank you all from the bottom of my heart! Here’s a huge Thank You to the staff and students at: The Branch School of Houston; St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Elementary; from Tomball ISD: Canyon Pointe Elementary, Creekside Forest Elementary, Lakewood Elementary, Rosehill Elementary, Tomball Elementary, and Willow Creek Elementary; from CyFair ISD in Houston: Holmsley Elementary, Reed Elementary, Wilbern Elementary, and Robison Elementary; from Katy ISD in Katy, TX: Hutsell Elementary, West Memorial Elementary, Nottingham Elementary, Memorial Parkway Elementary, Hayes Elementary, Alexander Elementary, Rylander Elementary, Pattison Elementary, King Elementary, and Katy Elementary; and from the Lamar Consolidated ISD, McNeill Elementary.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cH2MwHoiT68&feature=relmfu[/youtube]May was a very busy beginning to summer 2011. Visiting Washington DC was an adventure in and of itself. Not only did I present a lecture to the Smithsonian, but I also visited the Parkway School in Frederick, MD, met Bryan Voltaggio (Top Chef) at his incredible restaurant, Volt, and visited the Corcoran pop-up class of Carol Barton. Then, just two weeks later it was off to Orlando where I worked with the talented artists at University of Central Florida’s Flying Horse Editions to help translate the varied and magnificent sculptures of Barbara Sorenson into a limited edition print series complete with movable components. See more photos and details on the News Page.
This has been a busy December already! Last week I visited Dallas at the invitation of Matthew Abramowitz, proprietor of A Storybook House, a charming and original home to not only children’s books, but original works of art for sale by some of our leading children’s books illustrators. Sadly, The Storybook House has announced it will be closing its doors this December. However, they will continue to sell original works of art as well as host author/artist school visits. I hope you continue to support their magnificent efforts even though the brick and mortar location will be dark. I urge you to continue to patronize their online art efforts. If you are in the market for some remarkable original pieces of children’s illustration art, you have a wonderful source here.
Also a few days ago I was privileged to be asked to join my frequent collaborator, Chuck Fischer, on a radio interview with the San Francisco Book Review‘s Kaye Cloutman. Thank you Chuck and Kaye for a delightful session. You can visit Kaye’s blog and listen to the interview. In it we discuss A Christmas Carol, our collaborations, and our different alternative projects, including Chuck’s new IPad Apps for A Christmas Carol and The Night Before Christmas as well as my other current release, Harry Potter, and other works now in development.
And even though Christmas is closing in fast, I will be doing one more signing this week here in Houston. Winestyles of Cypress is hosting a book signing and wine tasting this Monday, December 20 at 6:30. Quantities of Harry Potter and A Christmas Carol are in limited supply so get there early!
And finally, a giant, no, GINORMOUS, thank you to all my new friends at Matzke Elementary, who invited me to visit their school this past Friday. We had a blast! The students, teachers, and PTO volunteers were wonderful and SO enthusiastic!
By MiChelle Jones/ Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News….Nashville-based writer MiChelle Jones really wants to see that pop-up exhibition in D.C.
Movable books have fascinated people for centuries; modern pop-ups have become increasingly elaborate and often include miniature versions to augment the larger jaw-dropping spreads.
Pop-up books are simulated in commercials and mimicked in department store holiday windows. They are the subject of an exhibition at the National Museum of American History in Washington and are being adapted for electronic applications.
Houston-based paper engineer Bruce Foster was involved with the Smithsonian exhibition, but you won’t find him reaching for an iPad or smart phone to read a pop-up book, at least not yet.
“Maybe one of these days when they can do real 3-D holographic stuff out in your lap, I’ll be more excited,” Foster says by phone from his studio. “You have to have a sense of the volumes of the things right there in your lap for you to get the real experience.”
Foster is among the pop-up elite, one of the foremost paper engineers in the world. The Tennessee native has called Texas home since 1986. This year he adds two books to the 40 he has previously published – A Christmas Carol (Little, Brown, $30) with artist and writer Chuck Fischer, and Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book (Insight Editions, $34.95) with illustrator Andrew Williamson and writer Lucy Kee.
Surprisingly, Foster wasn’t obsessed with pop-up books as a child. His introduction to the genre came when he was working as a graphic designer and was searching for a way to jazz up an ad campaign for Hi-C juices.
He frequently makes presentations in schools, explaining what paper engineers do and how they work with artists and writers to create pop-up books. He begins by talking about Disney’s film Enchanted, for which he designed the opening pop-up scenes, and ends the talk with something that never fails to delight his young audiences – Harry Potter.
“A Christmas Carol” by Chuck Fischer, Paper Engineering by Bruce Foster, will be released November 10 by Little, Brown, who has just posted this beautiful video introduction on YouTube. Of note, throughout the pop up book, there are mini-booklets that reproduce the entire text of Charles Dickens’ original classic. Also, Chuck and I will be appearing this Saturday, November 6, at Crossroads Gift Shop in Osage, Missouri. If you are in the area, please stop by and introduce yourself! This is a rare opportunity to have your Chuck Fischer/Bruce Foster collaborations signed by the both of us! And how did this happen? Coincidentally, Chuck’s mom and MY mom live only about 30 miles apart there in Missouri! Something that Chuck (at the time in New York) and I (here in Texas) only discovered while working on our second collaboration! It really IS a small world!
Mark Mitchell, author of the fantastic blog, HowtobeaChildrensBookIllustrator.wordpress.com has just posted an interview he conducted at my studio. The interview gives some history of my work as well as some insights into the way I create pop-ups. Mark was kind enough to post several clips of our interview on his YouTube channel as well. C’mon! Take this shortcut to my studio!
Harry Potter, A Pop-Up Book, will be released nationwide on November 16, 2010 three days in advance of the release of Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! I am as excited about sharing this book with the world as I have ever been. It may be a cliché, but this really was a labor of love. My own daughters grew up with Harry as we spent countless nights enjoying the developing epic while I read aloud to them at bedtime. Harry has been an integral part of our lives for the past decade and more.
Advance reviews have been very positive and I am bursting at the seams to share this magical book with you. The illustrations by Andrew Williamson (concept artist for the movies themselves) are phenomenal and the text by Lucy Kee is entertaining and informative. I will be making several appearances this fall to present this book, along with my new collaboration with Chuck Fischer: A Christmas Carol. I hope both books will find their way into your family’s personal library.
Dates are still firming up, but a couple of events have been set: First up, Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, November 18 at 5 pm. It has also been confirmed that I will be appearing November 20 at Books of Wonder in New York, along with my great friend and pop-up maestro, Robert Sabuda, as well as Matt van Fleet, author of many wonderful interactive children’s books, like his new Cats. The timing of this event couldn’t be better, being the morning after the debut of the latest movie.
For a sneak peek at Harry Potter, A Pop-Up Book, click here or look under the Book Profiles link above.