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Pop-Up Books March 1, 2010

Posted by leskanturek in 3-D work, Books, Movable Illustration, Pop-Up.
Tags: , , ,

A toy, miniature theatre, automata, animation…all this resting between the covers of a book  on your shelf.  Pop-up books were, for most of us, our first experience treating a book as a precious object, something to stare at in amazement and share with others as illustrations break the rules of 2-D print by coming alive.  Open the spread of a book and it’s the reader that makes the doors on the bus open and shut, or causes Alice’s house of cards to fall around her. Illustration in movable 3-D, viewers can look at the same scene from multiple viewpoints and interact with it.

(above) A spread from The Wonderful Wizard of OZ: A commemorative pop-up by L. Frank Baum and art by Robert Sabuda.   Tucked in a pocket on the page are green sunglasses to view the emerald city (and everything else) with.


Books with moving parts have been around since at least since the 13th century when volvelles or rotating paper circles were used in books to illustrate philosophical ideas. Later they were used to demonstrate astronomy, mathematics and other scientific theory. It would take another 200 years for moveable books to be marketed to children.

(above) A volvelle from  Astronomicum Caesareum c. 1540 showing the orbital period off the moon.( from the Lib. of Congress)


Lothar Meggendorfer, (http://www2.lib.virginia.edu/exhibits/popup/meggen.html)  a 19th century German artist, created superb moveable illustrated books.  Illustrations in Meggendorfer’s books performed as many as 5 or more actions simultaneously in different directions.

(above) Lothar Meggendorfer’s International circus (photographed by G. H. Mott)

Blue Ribbon Publishing in New York in the ’30s was the first publisher to use the term “pop-up” to describe their movable illustrations. Books like  “Puss in Boots” from 1934, engineered by Harold Lentz, ­ vied for the attention of an audience that was getting used to the relatively new medium of animated cartoons.
Today, hundreds of pop-up books are produced around the world each year. Each book has to be painstakingly assembled by hand.

(above) XXX pop-up book

Contemporary paper engineers like, Robert Sabuda, (http://www.robertsabuda.com/)  and Mathew Reinhart are designing more and more complicated pop-ups involving sound, and light. Pop-up books have since crossed back from being exclusively for children and now marketed in some cases exclusively to adults and museums.
In this post–modern technological age the artistry, craft and surprise of illustrations printed on paper that pop-up to life  still fascinate.


Pop up display key

  1. Cow and Her Friends: A Golden pop-up book
  2. Mommy? Story by Arthur Yorink, illustrations by Maurice Sendak, paper engineer Matthew Reinhart
  3. The 12 days of Christmas : A Pop-up Celebration by Robert Sabuda
  4. ABC3D – An alphabet book by Marion Bataille. Each of the 26 three-dimensional letters move and change.
  5. The Wonderful Wizard of OZ: A commemorative pop-up by L. Frank Baum and art by Robert Sabuda
  6. XXX pop-up book
  7. Little Monsters by Jan Pienkowski Publisher: Candlewick; Pop Rei edition (July 8, 2008)
  8. The Pop-up book of Phobia’s created and written by Gary Greenberg, Illustrated by Balvis Rubess, Pop-ups by Mathew Reinhart
  9. Hallo our Motorcar: Schreibers Plastical Picture-books
  10. TK pop-up book
  11. Leonardo Da Vinci: The Artist Inventor, Scientist in three-dimensional, movable pictures by A.& M. Provensen
  12. Uz Jsme Doma pop-up book and dvd,-Uz Jsme Doma (oosh-smeh-doe-ma, Czech for “we’re home!”) is a  band from the Czech republic.The pop-up book is a collaboration between UJD lead Miroslav Wanek and the painter Martin Velisek
  13. Alices’ Adventure’s in Wonderland : A pop-up adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Original Tale by Robert Sabuda
  14. Silly Heads by Ruth Wickings & Cathie Shuttleworth Publ. DK
  15. Winter’s Tale: An original pop-up Journey by Robert Sabuda
  16. The Pop-up Buck Rogers- 1930’s
  17. Little Red Riding Hood illustrated by Patricia Turner: A peepshow book
  18. Say Cheese – David Pelham
  19. Carter, David A.
600 Black Spots:
A Pop-up Book for Children of All Ages New York : Little Simon, 2007
  20. Fungus the Bogeyman Plop-up book by Raymond Brigs

Thanks to faculty member Peter Hamlin for creating the video demonstrating the books in the showcase. Here are links to the video posted on youtube

www.youtube.com/watch?v=rawuw02klbYe spacespacespacwww.youtube.com/watch?v=0iQlOr71Hmw

www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaVK1qpgq90 spacespacespacwww.youtube.com/watch?v=xvh9b74fpqc

Other Links:


the Movable Book Society


Teen Lui/Paper Engineer


Pop-Ups and Movable Books:  a Tour through their History




1. wishjoy - July 26, 2010

Very cool!

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