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HOW ARE THEY MADE?

Since I'm a papercutter, when asked this question most people assume that the cutting stage is most of the work involved. This could not be further from the truth.

art process; drawing a design

STAGE #1

Every design begins

as a pen drawing

in a sketchbook

paper swatches to create a palette

STAGE #2

Over a thousand

paper swatches are

narrowed down to

refine the palette

paper layers with printed templates

STAGE #3

I trace each layer

of my design on

a tablet to

create the templates

hand cutting out paper art with knife

STAGE #4

The originals are cut

with an Xacto knife;

editions with my laser

stack of colored paper with knife

STAGE #5

Each layer is

stacked into the

finished sculpture

To create an artwork, a painter will likely begin the process with:

spread of colorful layers of cut paper
  • brainstorming

  • composition thumbnails

  • rough sketches

  • a final sketch

  • value studies

  • color studies

Tiny hand-cut paper crows, in palm of hand

I do all these as well, but with some additional challenges...

For one, unlike a painter I can't mix whatever colors I choose. Instead I have swatches of colored papers that I must work with, so putting together a palette is much more difficult/complicated and can take days or even weeks.

Also unlike a two-dimensional painting, I have to do the structural engineering of how the design can become a reality. Precision alignment is needed to create the desired illusion.

 

Only once I have accomplished all of the above, can I prep each paper layer (sometimes up to 100 of them!) for its corresponding template and begin cutting.

 

After each layer has been individually cut, I must stack them all together in the proper order and bind them to complete the sculpture. Regardless of whether they are hand-cut or laser-cut, the journey of each artwork is an epic one.

Gain more behind-the-scenes views into my process, plus exclusive sales, discount codes, tutorials, and other rewards by joining me on Patreon.

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