Saturday, October 27, 2007

Paper Crazy!

I have this special relationship with paper. Perhaps, it's because of my strange childhood where I was severely deprived of paper. I wanted to have paper so bad I had to steal from the office supplies of my parents. Paper was systematically hidden from my reach. And when I got my hands on these precious onion skins and silk pressed ones, I would cut out the ugly letterheads and leave the pristine white sheets for myself. This turned out to be disastrous because my parents would find out about the letterheads which I lousily disposed of in the garbage cans. Result? A swollen hand, huhu… Sometimes, I would rummage through the stockroom looking for milk (Bear Brand, specifically) cardboard packages (or other similar cartons). I learned to remove the thin layer bearing the printed side leaving me with the grayish brown cardboard. When I didn't find paper to draw on, I resorted to drawing on the walls, ceiling… every square inch of the second floor of our home was covered in either the "waxy depths of crayon" or pencils… You can say that this was my very first major masterpiece in the tradition of the frescoes of Michelangelo… It was a testament to my precocious skills and unfortunately a shame for my parents, who had to turn away visitors from looking at our second floor and challenge Barclay salespersons to offer a product that can clean my art away. Haha…

Just what did I do with paper… if I could get my hands on them? I loved the versatility of paper so much… You can fold them, cut it to your desired shapes, glue it, and make sculptures… almost anything! Aside from the traditional drawing, I remember making toys out of them… (huhu, not only was I deprived of paper, but also of toys… I made my own toys!). I would make Game and Watch replicas with complete "floating" character that would move if you tapped on them… I would make action figures (GI Joes, Mask, and even Transformers) complete with their equipment and accessories (also made out of paper)… I created my own virtual toys with paper, and perhaps this desperation to have my own toys upped my creativity notches beyond that of any normal child. These days, it's a different story. I now have access to a variety of paper, and I now have my own personal stash.

But stop this reminiscing already… recently I was commissioned to create a mascot/character design for an upcoming website that would feature ways into which an ordinary A4 paper could be turned into useful and practical CD protectors:

They wanted to build the website around this character so it needed to be cute or edgy, "maybe a superhero...something with emotion... something about using paper to protect cds....maybe cd character with folded paper hat, armor....paper shield...origami theme...origami crane dragon… protecting cd...." and so on… I did some research, and one thing led to another. Here is my initial sketch, working on the paper and CD idea, sort of like a paper samurai knight of sorts. I call him Papiro (Japanese twist on "papyrus").

The client liked the character, and with a little modification to make Papiro look more animated (such as extending the legs more, and having the eyes look more expressive) the design was finally finalized.

I was later contacted again to create a new character for the renamed site, this time to be called Diskimono… same concept, just different name. So, the new character should reflect the new identity. Here is the initial sketch, and go signal was given for the geisha concept.

Final design:

While researching for this project, I stumbled across a new art genre… the world of paper toys! Immediately, I was attracted (hmmm, addicted is more like it) to this craft. The process of making these toys is quite simple: download a design (or template and create your own design), print it on cardboard paper and then assemble (fold, glue and cut if necessary)! Here are just some of the toys I've already made:

Shin Tanaka Paper Dolls Set 1 07

Shin Tanaka Paper Dolls Set 2 11

Now, all of these designs are based on Shin Tanaka's Masked Hoody and Spiky Baby designs, all of which can be downloaded in his website. It's also worth visiting ReadyMech, another site that offers simpler toy models. Custom Paper Toys features toys in a regular basis in its blogs. There's also Pepakura Designer 2, a software which creates templates based on existing 3-D data. Amazing… Now check this paper model of Transformer's bumblebee!

On a totally different light, I have to go back working on a (research) paper… and prepare for a new twist in my life. Ciao!

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