December 3, 2008
December 2, 2008
Alright, this is old news, but this past summer I went to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to visit my family and celebrate my Gramma's 90th birthday. Here's my Gram, Helen Wehby, on her big day with my sister Erin (always posed, tanned and up front), my three cousins (Lori, Lisa & Lynne) and me.
Most of my mom's side of the family is from Cedar Rapids - and my family lived there when I was young. Mom, Erin and I were lucky enough to spend some time in Cedar Rapids and explore some of my old haunts, like Bever Park.
I even visited my old school - I was a student of Mrs. Semeroth's second grade class at Erskine Elementary school in 1979. The school seemed a lot shorter than I remembered it.
Matthew and Robert have amassed an impressive collection of reference books, with subjects ranging from Amphibians to Ziggurats. When we need to look at the anatomy of a lion to make a pop-up of Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia or learn about the origins of Hamadryads for EM: Fairies and Magical Creatures, that's where we look!
The most important feature of the library, however, is to house our massive Simpsons figure collection. The citizens of Springfield have lived on top of our shelves for as long as I have worked at the studio - they like it there!
The only thing missing is a nice beanbag chair to tie the room together and provide a good place to take a brake with a book. There's a lot of options, but we have yet to find something that fits with the studio's particular aesthetic. Matthew may like at least one of these for sure!
October 22, 2008
October 17, 2008
Just finished my latest pop-up title tentatively called "Nursery Rhymes" to be released in Fall 2009 by Little Simon. Above is a sample piece of art I made to get myself in the mood. I had a fantastic time making the book, because it took me back to the first time I ever encountered books, like around when this picture was taken. I don't think I'll ever get to wear those pants again.
Some people say you can't remember that far back into your childhood, but I do have very distinct memories of being two to three years old. I especially remember boldly jumping down the steps which explains my intense unease at great heights. I don't remember what happened afterward - so I must have been knocked out cold.
As I have in past books, some of my family make cameo appearances as some of those classic Nursery Rhyme characters like...
...my little cousin, Jillian, as Mary Mary Quite Contrary...
... and another cousin of mine, Charlie, who catches a tiger by the toe.
One of my fondest childhood memories is watching Disney's Sleeping Beauty. I know, big shock right? Pretty pretty princess movies were a must in my house!And now it has been re-released on DVD!I had to have it and relive one of my favorite films! I did and it's still awesome.Eyvind Earle was the artist behind Sleeping Beauty's design-style, lush backgrounds, and fantastic colors. The Disney studios gaveMr. Earle over a week to do each background painting, instead of the one day turnaround other artists got.This is one of the most stylized animated films Disney had put out at the time (and in my opinion, ever)... after watching it again I've realized that thisfilm still inspires me today. And I owe it all to Eyvind Earle.xoJess
October 16, 2008
A few years ago when I worked at this studio as an intern, a fellow coworker and I began a project in our free time to build a clock out of paper from the book "Make Your Own Working Paper Clock" by James Smith Rudolph.
The project soon slowed down, and then I went back to school and the clock was completely forgotten. However, I just recently came across some of the pieces we had cut out, and I'm definitely going to have to take a stab at making the clock again! Wish me luck, because no one else in the studio believes it can be done!
Last week, we had a special visitor at the studio. It was his first time here and like many other visitors, he seemed to be overwhelmed with all the activity. Luckily we keep lots of toys around, which come in handy whether you are 25 years old like some of the designers or 15 months old like our new guest, Robert's godson Rayan Bounkit (son of acclaimed jewelry designer, Hassan Bounkit). Robert and Matthew were taking care of him and showed him the place where all the pop-ups are made. He even got a sneak peek at Robert’s upcoming pop-up book, Peter Pan, which was dedicated to him. Rayan mainly wanted to eat the pops, but we have a feeling he'll still enjoy it.
He is such a cute little guy and was happy to model for my next non-fiction title coming out in May under the Sabuda & Reinhart imprint with Scholastic. We are so happy with the results that I wanted to post a first look at Rayan as he shares the sign for “bath” in Baby Signs. We are excited for the new book and even more excited for Rayan to pop in again at the studio anytime.
For the past seventy-five years Esquire magazine has been making headlines with some of its more provocative and iconic covers. For this month’s anniversary collector’s edition, Esquire tops itself and creates the first E-Ink magazine cover. We have been hearing about E-ink for years and have been (not so) patiently waiting for its arrival in consumer products. Finally through a collaborative effort between Esquire, Ford, E-ink Corp. and Structural Graphics; wishful thinking became a reality this month. The above still photo does not do the technology justice so I have included one of many videos from the Web showcasing the magazine. You can view the short demonstration here.
We love the projects that Structural Graphics has been helming, whether it’s the effective Lexus pop-up book or the eye-catching inclusion on E-ink technology, and I’m sure they will pop-up on the blog again. To learn more about how E-ink works and what this Connecticut-based company is up to, visit their website.
Now, the the most famous mouse in the world has decided to take a trip to Cybertron (the Transformers metallic home planet) - and transform himself into Opti-Mouse Prime! Check it out - the prototype of the Mickey Mouse Transformer to be released sometime next year.
I can't wait for Donald Duckatron!
October 7, 2008
One of our favorite times of the year happened last week. It was our beloved (he made me write that) boss, Matthew Reinhart’s birthday! There were balloons and presents. A tasty lunch and even tastier red velvet birthday cake. And most importantly there was a dinosaur themed cookie bouquet delivered sent from Matthew’s family. This bouquet may not last as long as flowers, but they taste better and are a lot more fun! So congrats on Matthew making it another year, and we can’t wait until next year to do it all again. (Or at least tomorrow, when we get to celebrate Shelby’s anniversary of her birth!)
It was also a privilege for Shelby, Simon, Kyle, and I to meet Eric Carle (and take a picture with him!). His cut paper collage art is a big influence here at the studio. You can find more information about the Museum here: http://www.picturebookart.org/
And of course after a big meal lounging in the Lounge area of the University Club is a must. You see? Weʼre not that wild!
September 24, 2008
Last weekend, everyone from the studio (except Simon who had to go to a family reunion) made a pilgrimage to Washington D.C. and took part in the Moveable Book Society conference. This three-day event comes around every two years and is held in a different location each time. It’s a great opportunity for collectors, paper engineers, artists, and book lovers to share their stories and even a few of the treasures from their collection. There is always an exhibit associated with the event and this year we visited the National Museum for Women in the Arts as well as got our hands pulpy in a paper-making workshop at Pyramid Atlantic. Stay tuned for full coverage of the conference in the coming weeks!
To learn more about this great organization go to: http://www.movablebooksociety.org.
The first presentation was on the wonderful artist and paper engineer, Julian Wehr, brought to life for us by his son Paul Wehr. After sharing the life’s journey of Julian Wehr, he presented many rare drawings and prototypes from the Wehr Archives in the University of Virginia. My favorite was a color mock-up of a sequel title of Wehr’s first book. This unpublished animated book shown above exhibited stunning movement from his trademark rocker tab and delightful graphic endpapers. The book was ready for publication, but the timing was not right, so it was lost in the shuffle. What a tragedy. Maybe some day “The Further Adventures of Finnie the Fiddler” will see the light of day. Until then, it’s a good thing it was all in protective plastic sheets because there would have been drool all over this one-of-a-kind movable book!
To learn more about Paul Wehr and his quest to keep his father’s work alive, visit: http://www.wehranimations.com.
September 9, 2008
Brooklyn based design group The American Design Club is having its first show at the end of this month. The group is trying to put American designers back on the international design map. The show is called Out Side Of Sorts, Showcasing design that is for or inspired by the outside.
It will take place Thursday September 25th and a store called Character, located at 19 Price st. New York, NY. It should be a fun time, I know I'll be there.
September 6, 2008
I have been lax these past weeks posting and for that I am sorry. I have been consumed with working on the artwork for my next title, Nursery Rhymes, slated for release in Fall 2009. Surprisingly, I am on schedule! I thought you might want a couple sneak peeks at the pencil-sketched prototype I've created - but I can only show a pop-up that didn't make the final cut so I don't ruin too much of the surprise!
This pop-up for the the classic rhyme "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" actually didn't make the final cut of the book. The water spout gets really, really tall on the right hand side while the spider opens a tiny flower umbrella. In the end, we decided the design needed to be more centrally placed on the page - so I designed a new one (not shown here) that is quite different, a bit more playful and ultimately better for the book.
You can see the Itsy Bitsy Spider and her flower umbrella up-close in the above picture. Maybe I'll get to use this design for another book...
Today is the first day of class for many kids across the country. It’s also the first day of school for me. Yep, Professor Olmon has to report to duty at Pratt Institute and introduce another class of undergrads to the action packed world of paper engineering. I am always extra excited for the Fall term and even woke up before the alarm in my “first day of school jitters”. I’ll keep you posted on how the semester goes!
Sticking with the back to class theme I wanted to introduce the fold school, which is a great place to create your own cardboard furniture. Just download the PDF, grab some old boxes, and before you know it there is a petite stool, chair or rocker. Keep in mind, these finished projects were intended for little ones, but take the skills and patience of the old and wise.
August 21, 2008
Our beloved former fellow designer, Patricia Fry has crafted a delightful pop-up book adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffman’s The Nutcracker. Patricia worked in the NYC studio a few years ago before moving to Europe. Now in Switzerland, she is continuing to create paper engineered marvels in paper and I had a chance to interview her and learn about her experiences with The Nutcracker and life in the land of cheese and chocolate. Patricia has many good things to share (nine pages of things!) so follow this link at www.kyleolmon.com to see a new face in the field of pop-up publishing.