Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Review: DC Super Heroes Origami by John Montroll

What happens when you combine Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Justice League with the art of origami? You get the most incredible collection of paper-folding projects ever assembled. These 46 models, meticulously designed by internationally renowned origami master John Montroll, are guaranteed to amaze. With clear, step-by-step diagrams and instructions, simple squares of paper transform into Batarangs, S-Shields, Invisible Jets, Green Lanterns, and so much more. Also included in the back of the book are 96 sheets of specially illustrated folding papers to make your DC creations truly come to life.

In the six years I have been writing this blog (yep, just realised that The Book Zone was six years old last week), this is the first craft book that I have reviewed. Considering my main teaching subject is Design Technology, and much of my time is spent delivering GCSE and A-Level Graphics courses that is pretty poor, although when I'm not buried in school work I really do prefer to break away from it all by burying myself in fiction. However, when those fabulous people at Curious Fox asked me if I would be interested in a copy of DC Super Heroes Origami I could not resist.

Now I have next to no experience of origami (it's not in the Edexcel Graphics syllabus!), so I'll start off my focusing on this book's DC super hero 
angle. There are a total of 46 origami projects in the book, split into four collections: Batman; Superman; Wonder Woman; and The Justice League. This gives for a wide variety of projects, many that will be recognised by those with a basic knowledge of the DC universe (Bat-symbol; Robin; Clark Kent's glasses; Wonder Woman's tiara), and some that are a little more obscure (Krypto; Clayface; Jumpa the Kanga; Hawkgirl's made; Green Lantern B'dg). So as far as the DC universe is concerned there is pretty much something for everyone.

And now for the origami. I have discovered that I suck at origami! The book comes with 96 printed sheets, all ready for folding (once you have carefully removed them from the book), and the projects are graded simple (one star) through intermediate (two stars) to complex (three stars). At the front of the book, there are several pages of instructional diagrams that outline the basic (and not-so-basic) folds used in the proceeding projects. It is suggested that newbies practise these before embarking on the DC projects (Pah! Practice is for wimps).

Naturally I decided I was good enough to skip the one star projects and I kicked off my origami career (short-lived) with the two star Bat-symbol. It didn't turn out too badly and for a handful of minutes I felt quite proud of myself.

As they say, pride come before a fall! I then decided I must be good enough to move straight up to a three star project. How wrong I was. Wonder Woman has never looked so bad!

Seriously, talk about epic fail! And yet I have absolutely no idea where I went wrong. I didn't assume that I knew better than the instructions, and I followed them to a tee, but she just does not look like the photo example in the book. I've since gone back and tried a few more one- and two-star projects with a little more success, but I am still trying to build up to trying another three star project.

As an origami layman I would suggest that on balance this book is best suited to those with a little more experience than I possess. It is certainly not for younger children, but patient teens and adults with a good degree of manual dexterity could have a great deal of fun with this book. A work colleague who has far more experience in this field had a flick through and she felt that the papers were certainly suitable, and with a bit more general origami practice I should find even the three-star projects within my capabilities.



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