Paper engineering fascinates me. I’ve tried it before, and my brain… it just doesn’t design/illustrate in three dimensions. Instead, I’ll just admire the work of others—like illustrator Simon Arizpe! He used paper folding to create THE WILD, a “pop-up object that reveals a story as you play with it.” As you interact with the piece, its illustrations change and tell fantastical tale.
Simon is currently raising funds for THE WILD via Kickstarter, which will help him bring his unique form of storytelling to a wide audience. Watch the video below to see the book in action!
If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ve probably noticed that I pin a lot of paper flower DIYs. I’m attracted to their bright colors and the sheer novelty of recreating living things out of inanimate objects. Illustrator Kim Sielbeck does just this with her charming series of tiny cacti. Using papier-mache, cardboard, polymer clay, paper, styrofoam, and clay pots, she’s constructed living-ish sculptures you can hold in the palm of your hand. All I can say is: do want!
Kim will be selling these small plants at the NYC MoCCA festival on April 2 and April 3.
Kim’s tiny plants are inspired by a spectacular window display she created at Desert Island in Brooklyn:
No, those birds in flight aren’t a photograph—they’re paper sculptures by Diana Beltran Herrera. For years, the Colombian artist has crafted lifelike, graceful creatures using meticulous construction and fine textures. It’s these intricate details that make Diana’s sculptures so impressive; look closely, and you’ll notice all of the small cuts that perfectly mimic a bird’s plumage.
Diana’s formal education is in industrial design, but after graduating, she realized she didn’t want to pursue it as a career. “I am really interested in the simple processes of transformation that don’t need complicated tools or industrial processes,” she told Frankie Magazine. Hence the paper.
In Diana’s eyes, there’s a disconnect between humans and nature; through her artwork, she wants to repair this relationship. As a result, pieces are “presented as a resistance where those sculptures remain in an ideal state and act like a model of representation of a reality that doesn’t suffer any change.” They’re beautiful now and will remain so for a lifetime—that way, we can always admire them. (via My Modern Met)
Diana has recently branched out and created butterflies:
Historical wigs—especially those from the Baroque era—have always fascinated paper artist Asya Kozina. “This is art for art’s sake aesthetics for aesthetics,” she writes, “no practical sense. But they are beautiful.” To celebrate this, she constructed a series of wigs made entirely from paper.
Asya used white paper to highlight the wig’s forms and their elaborate details. Tall bouffants, floral bouquets, and even nautical ships make up these crazy hair pieces. And to think—people actually wore these!
There’s more paper masks and costumes to see on Asya’s Behance page.
Morgana Wallace crafts fantastical female heroines with cut-paper collage. Her colorful creations feature capes, crowns, crows, and more, exciting the imagination with intricate details—each piece has multiple layers and textures that produce a three-dimensional effect.
To create these gorgeous illustrations, Morgana works with multiple types of paper. She will often use Japanese linen paper, combining it with thin card stock to create elements such as flowing hair. Not all of her work is cut paper, however, and she’ll also use watercolor, gouache, and pencil crayons to add the illusion of shading and depth.
Morgana now sells her work as prints via Deviant Art.
Using an X-Acto knife and some careful cutting, Ukraine-based artist Eugenia Zoloto creates intricate silhouettes out of twisting vines, beautiful blooms, and winged insects. The large, lacy portraits—around 15 inches by 11 inches—look stunning against a range of backdrops (check out the vibrant green grass, below). Some of them are now available in Eugenia’s Etsy shop, where you can frame them however you like.
Mlle Hipolyte is one of my favorite cut-paper artists working today. I love the meticulousness of her sculptures and the mask-like appearance that they all have. Their exaggerated colors and features give Mlle’s pieces a cartoonish quality, injecting some whimsy into her animal characters.
Mlle has recently opened an Etsy shop where she sells her handmade creations. There, you can purchase hang able busts of pandas, bears, foxes, and more. In addition, she also features DIY kits to make your own low-poly owls. Fun!
Check out Mlle’s gigantic cut-paper mural that she made last summer.
Did you ever play with paper dolls when you were younger? I did, which is one reason I love Yelena Bryksenkova’s collaboration with FLOW Magazine. The third installment of their Book for Paper Lovers is now for sale, and it includes this pullout of a folded paper house. Yelena even added some fun extras for you to cut out and play with!
Yelena works on a lot of interesting projects. Check out this hand-cut window display she created in Montreal!
Illustrator Melissa McFeeters participated in The Great Discontent’s 100 Day Project with her own, called #100daysofpapercutz. The Instagram-based series features a myriad of subject matters, including plants, animals, landscapes, and of course, pizza. Her cut outs, with their subtle texture and three-dimensionality, are totally delightful. Viewed together, they showcase the potential these projects have—not only can wonderful artwork be produced, but valuable creative lessons can come from working on something every day for 3+ months.
After completing her 100 Day Project, Melissa has continued to create paper illustrations. For October, she created some awesome spooky compositions in #31daysofpapercreepz. I’ve included a few of them here, too. (H/T Laurent Hrybyk)
Discarded books have found a new life with the work of Isobelle Ouzman. Her intricate, sculptural illustration carve into the publications’ pages, creating mystical landscapes that tell a whole new story—separate from the book’s original tale. Many of her compositions feature pen and ink drawings, but sometimes she’ll accent areas with watercolor paints.
Ouzman sells her altered books through her Etsy shop. She occasionally takes commissions, too. Wouldn’t this be perfect for the book lover in your life?