Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Book-A-Day 2010 # 161 (7/14) -- We Are Paper Toys! by Louis Bou

Every artistic movement goes in unlikely directions if it lasts long enough; that's one of the endearing things that keep the rest of us from completely ignoring artists altogether. And the artisanal plastic toys boom of the last decade -- I don't know what else to call it; that proliferation of toys driven by increased efficiency in short-run production and the near-ubiquity of decent computerized design tools -- has collided with the free-cheap-and-fast ethos of the Creative Commons web to make an overlapping boom in paper toys.

These toys are sometimes sold as kits, but more often are free -- made as downloadable patterns that only cost end-users their time, glue, paper and printer ink. Like every other web-inspired activity, there are forums and superstars and enthusiasm (and, I'm sure, also feuds and in-jokes and drama). And now there's also a book.

We Are Paper Toys! contains photographs of at least a hundred of these toys, organized by the thirty-two designers who participated. (As far as I can tell -- I have to admit that I don't know the paper-toy scene at all, since I have a printer with lousy color and fingers unsuited to fiddly little cutting and pasting work -- these are most if not all of the major names in the field.) The photographs are excellent, the art direction is fine, the book is well-designed and laid out on nice solid white pages, and the toys themselves are inspiringly diverse and exciting.

There's also a CD-ROM included, with PDF patterns for several dozen of the toys included. (Patterns are printed on the pages for a number of the toys, but the CD-ROM has much more, and is much easier to use.)

So We Are Paper Toys! is a neat coffee-table book, very suitable for picking up and leafing through at random, with lots of fun and exciting designs -- many of which imply heavily that the average paper-toy designer is still very young, which is no bad thing -- and a very usable do-it-yourself component for people more adventurous than me. As the subtitle promises, this is indeed "Print Cut Fold Glue Fun!"
Book-A-Day 2010: The Epic Index
Listening to: Richard McGraw - Hurting Heart
via FoxyTunes

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks for the review
louis bou

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