A pop-up book which illustrates the threat from predators on the population of the Front-Range's native Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse.
This project was part 3 in a series of activities built to show us the many different ways in which we could interpret or bring to life a character, in this case, an animal. Through these slides you can get a glimpse into the process I went through to create this final pop-up book and the many iterations and learning moments along the way.
Going into this project I was initially thinking I could should how the wildfires of Colorado threaten their habitat, but in a less depressing manner. After perusing the web for pop-up book mechanisms I found myself really drawn to one of a flower box with multiple layers of flowers. I was thinking I could have layers of grass and a layer of fire using the orange papers, but this mechanism definitely felt too clunky and awkward, so I went back to the drawing board.
After talking with my TA, we came up with the concept of showing both the regular habitat and the habitat affected by the wildfire. With this concept I was hoping to show that the life of the mouse isn't as morbid as it may appear with just his home on fire. I found a mechanism that could nicely show this by creating a secondary page to turn, that would then pull the mouse's tab and flip him to reveal a distressed mouse and his grass aflame.
After several hours of attempted construction of the second mechanism, I was still unable to figure out how to make it work. I believe it was mainly because the paper I was using wasn't stiff enough to transfer the force of the page turn to make disk or mouse flip. I took this small failure as an opportunity to brainstorm again to come up with a better pop-up book for my jumping mouse.
Taking the mechanism of the letter 'B' from the alphabet pop-up we were shown in class, I was inspired to change my initial idea of the fire as a threat to evoking the idea of other animals as a threat. In this new design the mouse spins out to look like he's peeking around the corner at a hidden threat within the grass. Before fully developing what this threat is though I decided to focus on the mechanism, since I saw issues with that in the first trial.
From this trial the big suggestion was to simply continue to push this idea further. Suggestions from this trial were to add something to the left page of the book, add more detail and layers to the mouse to make him lass cartoonish, work the grass to be less uniform, and perhaps try black paper considering the mouse is nocturnal. I also needed to think about what I wanted to make out of my color paper as well as which color to use.
After hearing comments that the mouse appeared a little too cartoonish in my first trial, one of my first steps was to try and re-design him to feel more realistic and more like the Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse rather than just a round mouse. I continued with the bottom right style, trying ti bring the fear to his expression through his eyebrows.
With this trial I liked the use of black, but wasn't sold on the use of the green for depth of the grass. I also don't think the sway of the grass conveys the idea of the predator in the grass it just looks like wind, which isn't as compelling.
In this trial I liked the more simple approach with the silhouette of the fox and I liked bringing in the green to the mouse. I also think the way the grass was handled here works well in more a subtle way than the last trial.
With these tests I was trying to finalize what the mouse was to look like. I decided I did like the two greens also appearing on the mouse, but I like the size of the white sample much better relative to the scale of the fox head. I also like that I eliminated the eyebrows and hands holding onto the grass in these trials, the extra details weren't helping my effort to make him look more real.
After these last drafts, I went on to create the final book with the nicer paper, which can be seen below in action.
I am very happy with the way this project turned out, I think I chose an appropriate mechanism for my animal and his behavior as a skittish mouse. I also feel confident in my use of color in the piece and my craft in general.