Monday, December 04, 2006
This is a pencil rough for a piece of paper-engineering. It's a type of lever mechanism, and unusual in that it's constructed of card that is thick enough for the pieces to mesh - as gears would, or as a spanner (wrench) would against a nut. The sketch is one small detail from an upcoming project that aims to re-jig an earlier book of mine, Tractor Factory (see below). The idea is to do TF as a 'moving picture board book', rather than as a pop-up book, so that by sliding various parts around on the surface of the page the picture can be changed, whilst hidden mechanisms bring other elements into play.
I'm sometimes struck by how the bits that are never seen - ie the mechanisms beneath or between the pages - are often just as interesting as those that comprise the artwork. I like the idea of someday producing an 'inside out' pop-up book, where all the inner workings are visible - or perhaps a book of pointless but entertaining mechanisms, just in white card with no pictures. Adults would probably get it, but for children it would all be a bit arty-pretentious I guess.
As always, it's good to push the chosen medium around a bit. See what it'll do and what it won't, and then come up with something beyond reader expectations. Board books are traditionally very simple, maybe a lift-the-flap, or a basic to-and-fro slide. I've never seen anybody use geared mechanisms, so there's a little challenge. Seems worthwhile.