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Matthew Reinhart has created a stunning pop-up version of the classic Bible story The Ark. This faithful retelling is accompanied by glorious artwork and intricate paper engineering ? sure to captivate readers of all ages.
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Matthew Reinhart has created a stunning pop-up version of the classic Bible story The Ark. This faithful retelling is accompanied by glorious artwork and intricate paper engineering — sure to captivate readers of all ages.
How long have you been creating pop-up books?
MR: I've been working on pop-ups since 1997. I began as an intern with Robert Sabuda, the prince of pop-ups, and have kept working with him in one way or another ever since. I learned everything I know about pop-ups from him and his work.
Have you always been a book illustrator?
No, but I've always wanted to be one! I have drawn and painted and sculpted my whole life! I don't remember a time I didn't love to draw, actually. After high school graduation, I never thought I could make a living being an illustrator -- and neither did my parents. They persuaded me to go to medical school, but to continue drawing as a hobby. I wasn't ready for medical school directly out of college so I worked for a year in New York as an eye bank technician before my first semester at medical school. At the eye bank, we helped find new corneas (a clear tissue in the front of an eyeball) for people having eye surgery. It was interesting, but I kept drawing throughout my time there. I met Robert Sabuda who encouraged me to go to art school, so with the help of my very supportive parents, I began at Pratt Institute (a famous New York art school) a year later! I studied industrial design (designing all kinds of everyday products like cars, kitchen appliances, and furniture) and hoped to become a toy designer. I love toys -- especially Star Wars figures and Transformers (I've been collecting both for over twenty years! My collection is huge!). I worked on Nickelodeon's Blue's Clues after I graduated from Pratt, while helping Robert with his pop-up books. Soon, I started my own illustration projects.
Why do you prefer pop-ups over flat books?
Maybe its because I'm good at making pop-ups. I love flat books too -- but I feel like I illustrate in three dimensions best. I think pop-ups can really make a 3-D world that can draw a reader into the story -- and maybe that's why I love them so much. Plus pop-ups can be magical -- they just explode off the page and the reader has the power to make it happen.
Why did you want to create a pop-up version of the story of Noah's Ark?
Noah's story is my favorite story from the Bible (like just about every kid). Noah's tale is an epic one, and it isn't just a happy boat ride. Noah had complete faith despite the doubts of those around him. Also, I love all the animals in the Ark! Creating The Ark was a fantastic opportunity to create a three-dimensional Ark with all the animals I could think of inside. I've loved animals my whole life, and have been able to rattle off the names of exotic creatures since I was about four years old. Drawing animals is even more fun -- so I had a great time! It was really a dream project.
The artwork in The Ark is stunning. Can you describe the illustration process?
Well, The Ark artwork is actually a collage -- so I cut up paper and glued it together. First, I make the paper -- which is great fun but also a huge mess! I use acrylic paints to make all sorts of patterns, textures, and colors on large sheets of paper. After the paint dries, I draw a rough sketch of what the scene needs to look like in pencil on a scrap piece of paper. I designed a very graphic style for The Ark, but it was also influenced by Egyptian hieroglyphics and ancient Babylonian art. Then, rather than filling in parts of art with paint to color it in, I cut out very carefully with an X-Acto knife pieces of the different colored papers and glue them onto white paper to fill in spaces of color. I even cut out paper -- thin wood veneer to make the planks of wood for the Ark. I left white space between the color pieces so that I'd have white outlines instead of black ones.
Which pop-ups in The Ark were the most difficult to create?
I had the most trouble with the ark itself. That's a hard pop-up! Lots of things inside the ark's structure kept running into each other, but I managed to figure it out eventually.
How long did you work on The Ark?
About six to eight months. I loved every bit of it!
What's your next pop-up?
My next pop-up, which comes out this fall, is my first classic fairy tale -- Cinderella. I am super excited about it. It is a huge book and pretty complicated. It was a tremendous amount of work and a totally different style of artwork for me. I think it really transports you to Cinderella's world.
Posted January 23, 2005
I give it five stars although in truth it is just bit short of total excellence. I think it is one or two pages shy of providing full satisfaction. Otherwise, the artwork is colorful, nicely done with white border. The popups are complex and work well. I can indeed recommend this book with pleasure.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.