Paper engineer Julia Yus's creations capture the child-like joy of pop-up books

Paper engineer, graphic designer and illustrator Julia Yus recaptures the magic she felt when she first opened a pop-up book in her delightfully colourful and child-like creations.

Do you remember opening a pop-up book for the first time? Watching in amazement as the pages sprung to life via artfully folded pieces of paper, complete with little taps waiting to be pulled to reveal their secrets? Madrid-based artist Julia Yus does. And in her beautiful, hand-crafted illustrations, she takes you right back to that magical feeling.

From a can of peaches that erupt open as you tug on the ring pull to a stack of pancakes that appears to vanish before your eyes, Julia takes the same principles and mechanisms from these pop-up books and cleverly applies them to everything from birthday cards to wedding invitations. They're so cleverly made we couldn't blame you if you wanted to buy one and keep it for yourself.

Speaking to Creative Boom, Julia reveals that her decision to move into paper crafts came after realising that working in graphic design wasn't quite right for her. "I noticed that I was always trying to include paper in some way at work and in my personal projects," she explains. "So I ended up turning this passion into my new profession."

And we're very glad she did. There's something fundamentally fascinating about watching her paper creations unfold and take shape with a simple action. Even everyday objects like a washing machine or a frying pan become charming pop-up wonders in her expert hands. "No matter how old you are, paper engineering will bring a smile to your face," enthuses Julia. And she's not wrong.

While Julia's paper creations appear to effortlessly slot into place, she adds that they involve much more work than you may initially think. "My process is based on experimentation and trial and error," she says. "Sometimes I find a mechanism that I want to incorporate into an idea, while other times I start with an idea and figure out how to make it work with a particular mechanism."

She adds: "To minimise paper waste, I typically create many mockups on a miniature scale during the experimentation stage. While creating these mockups, I also sketch my ideas for the illustration and look for colour palettes.

"Once I am satisfied with the mockup, I disassemble it and scan the parts into Illustrator. Then, using Procreate and Photoshop, I create the final illustration. To ensure everything looks good, I print it out several times before taking pictures and videos."

All this hard work and attention to detail clearly pay off, as Julia's creations have garnered a massive following on Instagram, all of whom are glued to her reels of cutting out dioramas, folding pieces into shape, and demonstrating how her latest project works.

Julia and her audience are on the same page, too, as her favourite piece so far – a biscuit tin that spills open to reveal a tape measure, sewing needles and a tiny pair of scissors – proved to be a massive hit with her audience.

"People from around the world connect with that experience, and I'm proud of the paper engineering behind it," she concludes.


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