The brief was to design and deliver a workshop /activity making a calendar with the Hackney Coffee Club on Mare Street for people with mild to moderate dementia and their carers. I wanted everyone to go away with a hand-made object that was sturdy, lightweight, practical and useful.
The solution: a desktop calendar that came in three parts which slotted together. Holes were were made in the cardboard and the sheets were attached with split-pin paper fasteners. The aim was to create an activity that involved a range of relatively simple tasks plus the final decorating stage.
I tried to encourage individual creativity and was gratified to see some very interesting results not only with abstract combinations of colour and shape but also cut-out imagery which, in some cases, reflected different countries.
For those who couldn’t make it to my recent workshop at Imagine Festival of the Arts in Sutton, here’s a video tutorial for the pop-up time machine. It comes in two parts: how to draw the time machine and how to make the pop-up.
The theme of the festival was HG Wells – he lived in Sutton at one stage – and I based the time machine on the one in the 1960 film. I did take a few liberties: the time machine in the film doesn’t actually move location but instead the surroundings change as the date changes. I designed the pop-up to make the time machine look like it’s moving through time and space to give a more dramatic effect.
The basic abstract design is nice in itself and can be used to create all sorts of designs.
Posted in 3D, illustrations, pop-ups, workshops
Tagged HG Wells, illustration, Imagine, John O'Leary, pop-ups, Sutton, The Time Machine, workshop
Happy Hallloween! Here’s a video of Spooky Ride, my first ever pop-up book, published by Tango Books way back in 2001. Spooky ride was the start of a long and fruitful relationship with Tango Books that still continues. The paper engineer for the project was the very patient Matt Johnstone whom I bombarded with questions at the time. It wasn’t until pop-up book 2 that I took on that role myself, picking it up as I went along.
I’d seen a funfair ghost train in Finsbury Park and wondered how that could translate into 3D book. The final book has one continuous train track running through holes in the pages, out the back of the book, round to the front and back in again – so you can read it over and over and over and over… My brief was to base the illustration style a little on ‘Funnybones’, keep the colours pure and make it scary! – well, sort of, it’s a children’s book.
Posted in Books, illustrations, pop-ups
Tagged Dracula, ghost train, ghosts, illustration, John O'Leary, pop-up books, pop-ups, scary, Spooky Ride, video, witch
I’m very pleased that Sutton Council was prepared to book individual practitioners and not just groups and organizations for their ‘Imagine Festival of the Arts’ this month. Yesterday, we ran two 2 full family workshops and an evening session with a smaller, but perfectly-formed, group of adults.
As always, one of the exciting aspects of the workshops was the mix of people who attended. I like to think that the activities I offer work regardless of background and highlight the similar ways we all approach visual 3D problem solving. The workshops also work well for those who speak very little English, offering a means of communicating through the making and designing process.
I was asked to briefly address the prize winners of the GDN and CO-Gas Safety competition in Committee Room 10 at the House of Commons on Tuesday. I’ve been involved with the judging of this for many years – my way of giving something back to the charity CO-Gas Safety for their support and help after we suffered from the effects of low level CO exposure in 2003.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) can be emitted from any combustible fuel
Up to now, it’s been run as a poster competition for primary school children. The Gas Distribution Networks have taken over the project and under new rules, it can involve any form of creative expression to highlight the dangers of CO – so pick what you’re good at. It’s now also divided into KS1 and KS2.
Details of the competition here: competition
Entries and queries: COschoolcompetition@energynetworks.org
This sort of initiative is important as it gets the message out there through the kids, it informs them of the dangers of CO and helps them keep their families and friends safe.
Key points are:
Get your gas appliances regularly checked.
Install a CO detector (smoke detector is not the same thing).
Learn how to recognize the symptoms.
Know what to do when a leak occurs.
With that in mind, please go to the site Katie Haines Trust and use the drop down menu ‘Carbon Monoxide’. There’s a few videos on the home page as well, but read the hard facts first.
The video shows pop-ups from the second children’s theatre production I co-created for Wordpepper which finished it’s final tour earlier this year. The show was presented by Half Moon Theatre in association with Apples and Snakes.
I made 19 pop-up books in total for the show, from very small to extremely large constructions which opened up to form the set. The video shows a small section of the smaller ones. These presented a type of illusion, being made to look like full books but often containing only one pop-up design to illustrate a moment in the show.
First school of the year tomorrow at Stopsley Primary in Luton for a 2 and a half day project in pop-up book design.
Day 1 will consist of learning the basics. Each of the 3 Year 4 classes will learn techniques which they will then share between them before my next visit. Images show the ‘manual’ I’ll be leaving to guide them and to show the starting point for day 2 when we develop the books further.
Posted in 3D, Books, pop-ups, Schools, workshops
Tagged 3D, John O'Leary, paper engineering, pop-up books, pop-ups, primary schools, schools
Given my work on two children’s theatre productions presented by Half Moon over the last 3 years it seems fitting that the current venue for my touring exhibition is also a theatre. Park Theatre in Finsbury park has kindly agreed to host the show for the month of December to coincide with their production of Rapunzel.
The other connection for me is that the pop-up books seem quite theatrical in their own way. Just like stage sets, all is not what it seems, the illusion can be broken by deconstructing the constructions or going behind the scenes.
The work on show are examples of flat illustrations from the books or those pop-up spreads that can be easily merged.
The artwork is produced using a combination of traditional and digital media. Most start as pen and ink outline drawings which are then scanned and further developed in photoshop where the colour is also added. Because of this, the final artwork exists in digital form only.
What you see in the exhibition are signed and numbered archival prints, produced at the London Print Studio on 290gsm A2 Ilford Gallerie Pearl paper in editions of 25 using Epson Ultrachrome pigment inks.
The exhibition runs until 10 January 2016 and can be found in the theatre’s stalls and mezzanine corridors. All the prints are for sale.
What I like about Illustration Friday is that it gives me the chance to revisit some of my past work. This week’s word is ‘Treasure’. The picture shows, what else, artwork from pop-up picture book no.2, Pirate Treasure Hunt, published by Tango Books.
Posted in Books, illustrations, pop-ups
Tagged 3D, illustration, Illustration Friday, John O'Leary, paper engineering, picture books, pop-up books, pop-ups, Tango Books, treasure