18 March 2013

Props to the Paper Prince: Robert Sabuda

This past Friday, I went to a lecture on paper engineering given by Robert Sabuda. In case you don't know his work, he has done a collection of wonderful pop up books. His books delight kids and adults -- for real! ;)

My adventure started with a thirty minute wait in line to be sure I got a seat. (Totally worth the wait.)

He started his lecture with a quick demo of how to create a very simple pop up. It was very cool to see him in action. It's obvious when he speaks about what he does -- that he has the perfect job for him. He shared that he doesn't have creative hobbies because he is so absorbed in his work on pop up books.

He happily revealed that much of what he does is trial and error - sharing that sometimes the paper squeaks or doesn't move right and that he has to get in there and "fix it". Paper mechanics. Wow.

He showed us images of the Wizard of Oz pop-up book in progress, from prototype to completed pop up with green spectacles. Epic. He shared that pop up books usually take about a year from beginning to available on the shelf. (Wow, he has much more patience than me.)

Did you know that pop up books are still hand assembled? (Not by him but by teams of humans that do this for a living.) They are. Machines aren't nimble enough to do what human fingers can do. Each worker is assigned one task in the pop up and do it over and over to become and expert in it and then pass it on to the next worker to do their bit. Wow, talk about nimble fingers!

He shared what his next book will be -- The Little Mermaid -- it will be available this Fall. Can't wait to see it!


I had the opportunity to ask a question -- so I asked' "what fuels your imagination?" and he replied, "chocolate". Given the opportunity, I think we could be great creative friends. But for now, I am still a huge fan and admirer of his work.

What fuels your imagination?

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