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Yesterday, the Dallas Museum of Arthosted famed pop-up book creator Robert Sabuda at the Arts & Letters Livelecture series.  While in north Texas, Sabuda also visited the National Center for Childrens’ Illustrated Literature (NCCIL) in Abilene, Texas where he opened an exhibition called Wizards of Pop-Up: Sabuda and Reinhartwhich runs through 9/19/09. He spoke for approximately 45 minutes about his creative process and the manufacturing process used to mass-produce his creations.    He also hosted a pre-event demonstration where he walked participants through a few of the techniques he uses to create pop-ups.

 

His passion for bringing stories to life in three dimensions and in paper was obvious and infectious.  Not surprisingly, he was a great speaker and storyteller! 

 

  • Prototype Creation: I was surprised to hear that Sabuda uses only very simple tools – scissors and simple white bookbinders’ glue.  He creates an initial, simple draft all in white and begins refining it from there evaluating the mechanics and the design of the pop-up entirely devoid of color, detail, and illustration. Although I was familiar with Sabuda’s work, I was surprised to find out also that he illustrates all of the pictures in each book himself often using relief printing (without a press).  He mentioned that he has recently begun to digitize this process somewhat and that typically color is added to the design digitally using Photoshop. 
  • Manufacturing: Sabuda also spoke about the manufacturing process used to mass-produce his pop-up books.  Previously produced in South America, now his books are painstakingly created by hand in Asia – Thailand and China – in factories that only produce popup books.  He had high praise for the men and women he works with in bringing his books to life calling them artists who often go “above and beyond” to help make his books better and the construction stronger.  I was amazed to hear that they often create 25,000 pop-up books in one week, which is sometimes not enough to keep up with demand!   

 

After hearing Sabuda speak and seeing a video of the extremely manual manufacturing process, it was shocking to find out that his books were selling for ONLY $27.99.  It’s easy to appreciate the artistry in what he creates. His designs truly leap off the page and bring the story to life.  It was also inspiring to catch a glimpse into the workings of his unique, creative mind.

 

For more information about Sabuda or to download instructions on creating your own pop-ups, check out his website and his Amazon.com author’s page for a list of his books. Cross posted at Paper & Chocolate.

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