Monday, December 16, 2019

What a Mess

This is a pop-up book by Keith Allen and Jill Jankowski about two kids who are told to clean up their room. Each page is a mess of kids' stuff. The art is inept, and the book shows you really don't have to know how to draw cartoons to write a cartoon book. The pop-up mechanisms are simple and standard and they're not overdone, not overcomplicated although it looks as they are due to all the junk slathered on top of them for content.

It is a delightful book that pretty much every kid can relate to. And every adult has their own original kid inside of them whether or not they choose to acknowledge them.

So, everyone can relate to this book.

Except born priggish neat-freaks.

They cannot relate. Although they could relate by knowing someone like this.

The first page is an explosion of entering the room

The second page is a mountain of kid stuff.

As the page opens you can see the mechanism. If you look into the layers as they open then you can see how the pages are put together.

Page three is a toy box in a forest.

We expect page four.

This is a mechanism that combines two opposing simple mechanisms to twist a page 90°. The page that gets twisted is a separate page inserted inside the original two open pages but with its central fold perpendicular to the original central fold.

When the book pages are closed the mechanism twists the inserted pages to line up with the book pages and the mechanism closes flatly. When opened the inserted pages twist to lay flat but only by 90°. When all four corners twist at the same time the content looks like a tornado. So this mechanism is useful for things like a car wreck. Or to create a swirl of things flying all over the place.

Here is how this mechanism is constructed. It is brilliant. Whoever invented this mechanism is one twisted mo-fo. Everyone uses this mechanism. At this point, rare is the pop-up book that excludes it.

Two of these simple useful mechanisms face each other. The key element is the X in the center. The tabs disappear, either glued behind the base pages or folded backward and glued on top. Now, having done this you can see that actually both mechanisms can be formed in one piece of card stock and the whole area between the two points can be glued to the base pages. This area is the two arrow shapes that point to each other horizontally, if both were on one piece of paper. 

Either glue on these blue spots, or holes in these spots for tabs to fit through. Glue will form a tight construction while slots with tabs will be loose. Sometimes you want things to be kept loose so they flop into place. Either way works with this mechanism.

The inserted card is smaller than the original pages. It covers the mechanism and hides it. It folds upward into a tent while the original pages fold downward into a valley.

The corners of the top page interfere with the insert opening and closing so they are cut off. 

Because this page is glued to the mechanism, when the pages are opened and closed this insert (folded in half in the opposite direction as a tent in a valley)  twists to lay flat when opened and it twists back to fold when the pages are closed. 

The insert is loaded with content. Because you are new, all this content is separate and glued on. But experts will draw and print it directly onto the original mechanism to save production effort. 

Watch as all this crap twists like a tornado hit the whole room when page four of the book is opened. This mechanism is perfect for this situation.

Page five is the same mechanism that you see inside cases of wine. The cardboard inserts keep the bottles separate. This arrangement of cardboard slats with slots cut half way then pressed together facing each other slot to slot, has fascinated pop-up constructors forever. When taken out of the case as a single unit the whole thing folds flat. Surely that idea can be put to use for pop-up books. And this is what you see when page five is opened. You can make an entire chess board using this mechanism. Content is added to the mechanism so that the content extends above it.

This book is a very good study. Because it's so simple and because it uses so many standard mechanisms. Each page can be easily copied to produce separate cards with entirely different content. Perhaps even drawn better than this. The cuteness of this book is in how all these elements are brought together for the effort of describing the messy bedroom of children. And the magic of having it all cleaned up.

Amazon $22.00. Totally worth it. As a study. As confirmation you don't have to be a good artist to produce charming cards.


ricpic said...

Even as a kid I was made uneasy by too much chaos in my room. I mean I was as oblivious as most kids but beyond a certain point....anyway, my sister wasn't, there was no point at which the chaos bothered her, her room was a perfect storm at sea. And that hasn't changed. She still lives in a hegdish (yiddish word for total mess) and is unbothered by it. Even beyond that, unaware of it. Oh well.

Sixty Grit said...

While watching the show Hoarders I learned the term "clutter blind". Some people literally cannot see the disarray around them. I do okay with organization and tossing out clutter around mi casa but I should dust more. Maybe I am dust blind. Or maybe I just bring tons of it into my house from the shop. Who knows. Maybe I should dust instead of writing comments.