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23 November 2008 @ 04:54 pm
How I Made my Pop up Book.  
Or, How To Drive Yourself Crazy With Yet Another Project.

Doctor Who and all associated copyrights are owned by the BBC, no infringment is intended. This was a work of love. Art and the pop up book design is copyright myself.

(for a post that includes the videos, please go here. C:)

Having decided to do my first gift swap, I wanted to do something cool. And since it was for TARDIS Day, I got to be geeky in what was considered cool, which was also going to be terribly fun. I wasn't really happy with any of the ideas I was coming up with, though. I wanted to do something different, and I couldn't think of anything. So I let the matter drift to the back of my mind, and waited for inspiration to strike.

I happened to be in the school library one day looking at books for knitting, when I glanced down at another shelf, and saw this book:

How To Make A Pop Up Book by Paul Jackson and Paul Forrester.

A Doctor Who pop up book! Brilliant!

Flipping through it, I was initially disappointed with how it was laid out. I didn't have step by step instructions for projects so you could see how something complicated and inspiring was put together. What it did have was infinitely better. It had many of the *techniques* that go into making a pop up book, simply explained with step by step photos and instructions. After showing you all of the techniques, it has a section called 'designing your own pop up book' where it takes the techniques and applies them to the same subject matter, so you can basically ignore the subject and just concentrate on the technical side. Isn't this awesome?

After, it has a gallery filled with inspiring pop ups, and a little information on the techniques used to make them.

After I had settled on the idea, I started to think about just how I wanted to set up the book itself. My favourite part of the how to book was this pop up by a german fellow named Lothar Meggendorfer, from the late nineteenth century. It looked fun, and really cool. It's a pop up 'house', with different rooms. I really liked how the doors worked for letting the person 'pass' from one room to another, and tried really hard to incorporate that in my designs. Didn't ultimately work, but maybe next time.

I decided to do something similar. With Doctor Who stuff.

Online inspiration.
I also went online, to see how other people have applied pop up techniques. I found a bunch of great videos on youtube where people have filmed them opening these amazing books... Check out youtube. n__n Great resource!

I also found that Robert Sabuda makes the coolest pop up books. Check out his Alice in wonderland book, it's really cool.

I LOVED The rabbit hole, that is SO neat. And how when you opened stuff, the act of the pop up popping up makes it 'animate'. Like when she's swimming in the water. Obviously a master.

As well as a japanese show where the host visits Robert Sabuda in the states to see just how these are put together. The host and narration is in Japanese, but since he's visiting the STates, the guys giving the information are speaking english. Plus it's really cool to see how they approach making one.

Mock ups!
So now I had inspiration, I needed to narrow down my subject matter. Luckily, before I had gotten my partner, I had made a post over at tardis_day asking about which classic episodes you'd show to friends who didn't really watch the show. That was my intent when posting it, but it served another purpose later! I was able to use the episodes she mentioned to choose the stories to illustrate. Heh.

Reading week came, and I decided to start. I sat down with reference from shill pages, the Tragical History Tour, Frazer Hines.com, and Youtube and started sketching out ideas.


I <3 my patient, patient room mates.

After I'd figured out about what I wanted to do with each of the stories I'd selected (Dominators, Black Orchid, the first Trial of a Time Lord, and just Eight since I'm not familiar with his stories) I started to try to make them using eight and a half by eleven computer paper.

I also learned why it's called paper 'engineering'. It's hard work! For some of it, I wound up just taping it all down and then folding the base and letting it crease how it will. HOW IT WILL.

I wound up with these mock ups:

All of the mock ups

first one

Ten's greeting you.


Jamie is unsure why the Doctor is as afraid of the Dominator as he is. XD

What ho?


That&quot;s k-9 in the front, there.

I don't even know if maidm likes K-9, I just wanted to see if I could make it. Random TARDIS room.

Objection, BRICKYARD!!!

When I met her, we talked about these stories, and she said how much she enjoyed them. :D

Readin&quot; a book

This and Two are my favourite ones.


You mightn't be able to see it, but Ten's in the background, sitting by the tree and having a picnic.

Clinging from the top

I'm glad I took this shot now, it'll help me put it all back together.

Readin&quot; the book

Scanning and Colouring
So after this, I had to tear these apart, and tape them down onto sheets of 8.5 by 11 paper, and scan them in. One thing I didn't think about was that when you print something out on 8.5 by 11, you need to have some sort of border when you print. Next time, I will make sure that I leave that when I tape everything down.

This took a few hours.


After scanning it all in, I coloured it in photoshop.


(Still some problems in this one, needs to be fixed. However, it's an example.)

What I discovered helped *enormously* for painting? Turn down the flow of your brush in photoshop. I had mine down to about thirty percent, and the line felt *so much more* natural. SO MUCH MORE. I can't possibly tell you how much of a revelation this was to me. I have been fighting with this for years. YEARS.

I also played a lot with the opacities of my brush. For things where I just needed some texture (like six's courtroom floor), I'd put down a base colour with the brush opacity turned up to 100 percent, then grab a couple of different colours, turn the opacity way way down, and just make a bunch of random dots. This is also how you're supposed to paint skin, apparently. It's not just one colour, but layered up with reds and purples and blues and browns over the base tone.

Since this isn't really a photoshop tutorial, that's all I'll say. Anyone have any other questions, they can ask in the comments or message me or something. :) I'll try to answer.

Then, I printed off a black and white copy at the school, and put it together to try to see what problems would crop up when I printed it up for real.

an example

I found a few problems that I could fix, so I hoped that everything would go smoothly when I printed it off for reals.

Aaaaaaah.... Printing. Something That Sucked To Do. It should have been easy, right? Wellllll.... Maybe. But not for me.

Included in Important Things I Learned is this: choose printer safe colours. (like this.)

See the &quot;OH GOD NO!&quot; icon?

If you click this warning symbol that comes up, it'll choose a printer safe colour for you, like this.


The colours chosen will be less vibrant, but that's usually okay. You wouldn't be able to print out those vibrant colours anyway, since your monitor uses light to mix colour, and printing is still restricted to what inks can do. You can poke about a bit, and maybe find a colour you like better, but keep this in mind. If you don't, this is what could happen...

(excuse the crummy compression, I wanted to show a .gif, otherwise the changes aren't really apparent.)


The colours aren't too different, but they are different. If I'd wanted the sky to be that purple, I would have *painted* it that colour. Y'know.

So after I printed everything off the first time, I learned that if you save a picture in RGB colour mode, then it'll print darker every time. And by darker, I mean this...

OMG, is that a TARDIS hiding in all of those darks??

... Yeah. I also found out that one of the printers they have just prints darker, so next time I will ask for the LIGHTER printer.

What I did the second time was take strips from each picture, and put them on one page. Then I only had to print one page, and I'd know how all eight would print off.

I SWEAR marii_chan told me to do this.

Things also take much longer to open up when they're on a CD versus when they're on a USB key, so next time I'll save stuff on a USB key. I got another one for twenty bucks that is eight gigs!!! So now I have a two gig one that can be used for stuff like this.

Puttin' everything together.
After everything is printed right, it's time to cut it all out! I cut everything out, and put all of the pieces for the seperate bags in ziplocks, so I didn't mix up any of the supports. Also, now I'm done with cutting out.

Done cutting!

Important things to consider when cutting: Use a metal ruler. If you use a wooden one, you can cut into the wood instead of straight. I guess you could use a ruler with a metal edge... Just make sure it's metal.

Protect what you are cutting out with the ruler. Don't think you'll be able to push against the ruler and keep from cutting into your artwork, it doesn't work like that. If you go all wavy, at least you'll be doing it in the scrap paper where it doesn't actually matter. You can always cut more, but putting it back requires a very steady hand, and tape. And it leaves a mark.

When I'm creasing the card, I've found you get a *much* better edge if you fold it the *opposite* way that you want it first, smooth it down with a bone folder, and then fold it the right way. (And smooth it down with the bone folder.)

I was terribly pleased with k-9, so have some pictures of him.


You can see the support between his head and his body. The cylinder for his neck and his collar just sit around this.


It was more difficult making him, because I had to figure out how he would fold up. T___T

I'm still not sure what the best way to glue everything down is. I started off with white glue, but I don't think that'll have the staying power I need. I wound up using about half a jar of rubber cement (whoo fumes), and I hope that holds better. Any better ideas for glue? The rubber cement sometimes just didn't stick. I think, if I make one again, I will see what else I can use. To apply the glue, I mostly used cheap paintbrushes, since their brush is quite a bit littler than the one included with the rubber cement. What else did I learn, using this? Watching rubber cement dry is VERY BORING. But necessary, otherwise the ratta-fratta-mutter-mutter stuff won't STICK. And you'll have to do it again.

I decided to cut holes for the tabs to stick through, so you couldn't see where they had been glued on. I think it looks pretty sweet...


Looking at this, I really like the feet, but those supports are pretty ugly. I managed to pull them off, and cut a hole for them to stick through. The best part about it is that not only will they be double secured by the backing paper, but they'll also be much harder to pull out, since they are sticking through the paper. It'll give them a lot of support. Now if only I could do this for the other pieces... Eight's legs really REALLY didn't want to stay together. I wound up just using packing tape, hopefully it's not too noticable. -___-;

The pieces also look much nicer:
Clinging. XD

No limbs yet.

Haven&quot;t secured the tabs down.

After I finished assembling everything, I glued the little scenes together. OBVIOUSLY the best way to do this is to stand them up, and carefully line them up so that even if they're a little bit out, they'll sit properly. I figured that out after I glued a couple together. Luckily for me, they still stood alright.

I was also displeased with how the backing sheets went together, there was an ugly gap. I decided to neaten those right up with some of that old browny packing tape (if I could find it) or strips of paper. I used the paper, since the colours matched better. The thing I learned after pasting most of them on? Joints need extra material to BEND, dummy. *bashes head on desk* Glue one part, MAKE THE FOLD, smooth the paper down with the bone folder, and then smooth it on the other side. That way, it's glued to fit when it'll need the most give, and will actually bend without a fight. :( ANOTHER LESSON FOR NEXT TIME. Forgot to take pictures of this.

I secured it with some string that a friend gave me, wrapped it in a clean sheet of newsprint, and then padded it with a free newspaper. Wrapped it in a pop tarts box (mmmm) with more clean newsprint, and then had some friends draw doctor Who related art on it. :) I like being in an art program.

Final Product!
All together

Ten waving

three quarter down shot

Two cowerin

Three quarter down shot

What&quot;s under that flap?

three quarter down shot

Surprise dog computer!!

three quarter down shot

:( This picture makes me sad, because flash =/= good.

Three quarter down shot


Three quarter down shot

He&quot;s reading Outlander.

Three quarter down shot

He&quot;s eating raspberry chocolate cake.

three quarter down shot.

Important Things I Learned.

1) When you're measuring everything out, measure right and precise right at the beginning. When you're cutting out the coloured versions, you're not going to want to measure anything. And it's difficult, anyway.

2) Put a nice, bold outline around the edges of all of your rough work, so when you're colouring and cutting out, you can see it easier. Or paste all of your work onto a grey or black piece of paper to scan, instead of white.

3) Remember that printers need margins to print!! Figure out the one that you usually get (it's about 0,7mm or half an inch on my professional prints) and PASTE EVERYTHING WITHIN THAT. Then, when you print it all off, you won't have to scale it back 96%. This makes everything smaller, and all of my nice 'two and a half inches' measurements are now OUT THE WINDOW. Baaah. Six centimeters isn't too bad, but others are just pains.

4) Make sure that all of your tabs are big enough. Card is thicker to fold, so it needs a longer tab. I had to glue extra pieces onto my TARDIS' so they would work.

5) Anything that is going to be printed twice so you'll have a front and back should be on paper. Two thicknesses of card is just too thick, and doesn't give a nice fold.

6) If you can, cut holes to stick the supports through. They are much more secure on the other side of the page, even if the glue gives way. And it's much less likely to (I hope), since it's not being pulled *away* from something.

7) Remember that card is thicker than paper (that's why I used it, right? heh.) and that when you see a cut edge, there's a white outline. werefox61 has this to add: If you take a felt tip marker in a similar color to the printed piece and run up and down the white edge, you don't have that problem. I learned this doing cards and scrapbooks, and I always cover the white edges. Obvious, right? lol.

8) Work in RGB, choose printer safe colours, and change the image mode to print in CMYK. Also double check at your printing place what file format they want to work in, ours is .pdf. Anything that's not a pdf will have a five dollar rip fee, and that might be per file. Bleck. (Again, could be different depending on the printer.)

9) Print a test! Oh godness me, print a test. What I wound up doing the second time, since I had different pages that I wanted to test, was taking a couple of strips from each image, and pasting them together on one page. AND THEN FINDING OUT THAT ONE PRINTER JUST PRINTS DARKER, but that's another head ache. Maybe something to ask?

10) Since I wound up with a bad copy of everything, I was able to practise on something. Perhaps printing out a couple of pages twice isn't a bad idea either, just so you can mess up. Especially if you have a time limit.

11) Sharp exacto blades are wonderful. They cut so much easier. But sometimes, it's good to go in with scizzors, since I've found that they can cut curves better. Or I just need more practise with my exacto.

12) I really love documentation. As you can tell from yet another epic post from me. XD Too long? I figured I might as well type out all that I went through, so if anyone else wants to do this, they'd have a good reference that doesn't leave anything out. Plus, then I can go back and remember exactly what I did.

Great things about this project: My digital painting skills are much better, now. I've figured out a couple of techniques that work for me. :D Also, I've braved the perils of printing, so when I have to print off my flat portfolio for Industry Day, I'll have some basic knowledge. *And* I have a rather unique portfolio piece. *grins* Now I just need to do one for my story!! Wouldn't that be cool? Maybe over christmas. Must... Continue... Craftiness.

Looking at my posts, I apparently finished this in thirty days of pretty solid effort. (Around school, and life.) Wow.

Showin' off.

Doctor Who and all associated copyrights are owned by the BBC, no infringment is intended. This was a work of love. Art and the pop up book design is copyright myself.
D: doctor who logosaturn_grrrl on November 23rd, 2008 10:46 pm (UTC)
This is awesome. I just went online and reserved the book from the library. A friend and I have always wanted to make a pop-up book for fun :)
Hiding in plain sightwulfae on November 23rd, 2008 11:10 pm (UTC)
Oh SWEET, I look forward to seing what you come up with!
Whoniversal aunt.: 5shinypontisbright on November 23rd, 2008 10:47 pm (UTC)
WOW. My mind boggles at how much work that was - but what an amazing pressie! Absolutely brilliant, ta for sharing the how-to!
Hiding in plain sightwulfae on November 23rd, 2008 11:10 pm (UTC)
It was... More work than I anticipated, going in. But well worth it. You're welcome!
The Orange Defender: ace explosionthatkaringirl on November 23rd, 2008 10:49 pm (UTC)
That's awesome! Thanks for sharing your process! I love your "Trial" page.
Hiding in plain sightwulfae on November 24th, 2008 04:17 am (UTC)
The funny thing is that it's one of the simpler pages, but it's always the one that people were really impressed with.

Layers = cool, I guess. XD
Nicolebandgeek01 on November 23rd, 2008 10:54 pm (UTC)
That is fantastic.

Hiding in plain sightwulfae on November 24th, 2008 04:19 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Ennui in Suburbiairreparable on November 23rd, 2008 10:58 pm (UTC)
Oh my god! I am in AWE of what you've done here, that is fantastic!
maidm: Merlinmaidm on November 23rd, 2008 11:05 pm (UTC)
I cannot express my awe at how you did that. It is seriously the most impressive thing I have seen anyone do for a present, and I feel so honered to be on the receiving end of it. :-D

You're going to post this to craftytardis, right?
maidm: harthdarthmaidm on November 23rd, 2008 11:06 pm (UTC)
Lol, this is in crafty-tardis! Way to read, Marion.
(no subject) - wulfae on November 24th, 2008 04:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
Allison Durnoallisona on November 23rd, 2008 11:07 pm (UTC)
Love this! The "how-to" is really fascinating- thanks for that!
Hiding in plain sightwulfae on November 24th, 2008 04:22 am (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it, I always hope that people like to read what I wrote, and that it wasn't too much information or just boring. Or whatever.
orangey sodapop: doctorsmercy on November 23rd, 2008 11:09 pm (UTC)
oh, that's wonderful!
thanks for sharing!
garpugarpu on November 23rd, 2008 11:10 pm (UTC)
That's gorgeous!
penwiper337penwiper337 on November 23rd, 2008 11:12 pm (UTC)
This is one of the most amazing things I've seen posted to this community. EPIC amounts of wow!
Hiding in plain sightwulfae on November 24th, 2008 04:22 am (UTC)
*high five!*
Kathrynkathrynthegreat on November 23rd, 2008 11:16 pm (UTC)
OMG! I am stunned! I am in awe! This is AMAZING and clearly you put a lot of work into it. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing!
Hiding in plain sightwulfae on November 24th, 2008 04:24 am (UTC)
You're welcome!
smile_ichibansmile_ichiban on November 23rd, 2008 11:18 pm (UTC)
d'aww thats amazing! I love the K-9 <3
Hiding in plain sightwulfae on November 24th, 2008 04:23 am (UTC)
Ahahaha, your icon makes me laugh.
Van: Doctor Who: 9 Fantastic!van on November 23rd, 2008 11:34 pm (UTC)
This is the most awesomest thing in the history of awesome and I am so jealous it isn't MINE. You are hardcore. <3333

I really want you to do a scene for all the other Doctors. AND THEN MAKE ME A COPY.
Hiding in plain sightwulfae on November 24th, 2008 04:23 am (UTC)
Thanks again for the ref on Jamie! That helped so much.
Sophie: 5th Doctorphilosophercat on November 23rd, 2008 11:34 pm (UTC)
I think this was so awesome, it broke something in spacetime. But it was worth it all. ^_^
Hiding in plain sightwulfae on November 24th, 2008 04:25 am (UTC)
*fixes the breaks with MOAR RUBBER SEE-MENT*
kicking_kkicking_k on November 23rd, 2008 11:48 pm (UTC)
Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow.

I wish this was going to be published!
Hiding in plain sightwulfae on November 24th, 2008 04:26 am (UTC)
Dude, so do I. That would be the coolest thing ever.

And I wouldn't have to cut one out and put it together to have one myself. lol.
(no subject) - kicking_k on November 24th, 2008 09:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wulfae on November 25th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
bewitchedwicked on November 24th, 2008 12:00 am (UTC)
I have that book! I'm glad to see someone else has gotten amazing use out of it. And just... wow. The work you did is amazing. I bow to your talent.
Hiding in plain sightwulfae on November 24th, 2008 04:26 am (UTC)
It is a sweet, sweet book. I need to check out more of these books! Do you have any recommendations, by any chance?
hiunnomiko on November 24th, 2008 12:21 am (UTC)
Wow that is just all kinda of awesome and pretty. :)
chocoholic47: badwolf tardischocoholic47 on November 24th, 2008 12:21 am (UTC)
This is so amazing!!
hollie_hobbiehollie_hobbie on November 24th, 2008 12:31 am (UTC)
:O!!! Holy amazing work! That is so impressive
Hiding in plain sightwulfae on November 24th, 2008 04:35 am (UTC)
the good ship Saucy Gibbonbalcairn on November 24th, 2008 12:33 am (UTC)
Amazing. :)
KnitChick: Doctor Awesomeknitchick1979 on November 24th, 2008 01:21 am (UTC)
OMG thank you for this post!!! I saw the pictures over on tardis_day and I saw in awe! I just recently made a couple of toys from Cubeecraft and that was so much fun, I may try something like this. Maybe. My drawing skills are major fail compared to yours!!

Oh and my favourite scene has to be Two and Jamie, they are just too cute! :)

Great job, and I am SO adding this post to my memories for when I think I have the guts to try something like this!
Hiding in plain sightwulfae on November 24th, 2008 04:37 am (UTC)
Well, I did the complicated way of drawing and colouring it, using photoshop. You can always use coloured or textured paper, or just colour with pencil crayons or markers or something.

You can do it! *grin and thumbs up*
Amyamarafox on November 24th, 2008 01:36 am (UTC)
This is really cool :D Thank you for sharing it
Hiding in plain sightwulfae on November 24th, 2008 04:38 am (UTC)
You are welcome. :D
dozmuffinxc: doctor squeesdozmuffinxc on November 24th, 2008 01:46 am (UTC)
Nothing for it but say "WOW." That's an amazing piece of work!
(Deleted comment)
Hiding in plain sightwulfae on November 24th, 2008 04:40 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! eh-heh, I don't think I'm sending out any more as gifts. O___O
Michelle: Squishy - Holmeslifebecomesart on November 24th, 2008 04:05 am (UTC)

You amaze me.
Hiding in plain sightwulfae on November 24th, 2008 04:41 am (UTC)
Thank you.