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Interview Yoojin Kim

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Yoojin Kim is a Paper Engineer and Artist living in New Haven Connecticut. She studied Printmaking, Graphic Design and Book Binding. Yoojin now works as a designer of dimensional paper products for UWP LUXE and Up With Paper. She’s also a sloth enthusiast and it’s her dream to hang out one day with a bunch of Sloths. Yoojin recently won a Louie Award with her “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry” Christmas greeting card. The brand new “Leaves: An Autumn Pop-Up Book” is her first published pop-up title and we had the opportunity to ask Yoojin some questions about her work and this wonderful book.  

BPUP – Congratulations with your first published pop-up book Leaves! You must be very proud?

YK – Thank you! Yes, I’m very proud of how the book came out. Autumn is my favorite season so it’s exciting to be able to work on a theme that I really enjoy. I wanted to design a book that is informative and interactive for children, and also visually resonate with adults. The beautiful illustrations by Lindsay Dale-Scott really helps the book stand out. Designing my first book turned out to be a very tedious process, but I had a lot of fun and  learned so much from the experience and I hope to carry them onto my next projects!

BPUB – What inspired you and your team to create this pop-up book about autumn?

YK – Autumn is such a beautiful and brilliant season, and I wanted to capture the vibrance of the season in the book. I’ve always loved to working with nature inspired themes so creating a book full of colorful leaves and adorable animals came to me naturally (no pun intended!).

BPUB – Can you tell us how you, Janet Lawler and Lindsay Dale-Scott worked together on Leaves?

YK – It was a big collaborative effort for sure! I had a concept and lots of ideas, but I needed help from a professional writer to condense and consolidate everything into a writing that fits into seven pages. Janet Lawler turned my scribbles into a lyrical poem that flows through the pages. Working with Lindsay Dale-Scott was charming- I shared my pencil sketches with her and I received stunning illustrations in return! I think we all had the same vision of what we wanted in the book, which helped in binding the text, illustrations and the pop-ups together.

“I wanted to capture the vibrance of the season in the book”

Yoojin Kim

BPUB – The colors of Leaves are beautiful! How was it to see both the artwork and your pop-ups as a final result for the first time?

YK – It honestly feels quite surreal. I still remember receiving the flat artwork from Lindsay and feeling the pressure of dissecting and converting the work into pop-ups.

BPUB – We’ve discovered a new 2018 pop-up book by your name titled Shells: A Summer Pop-Up Book. Can you tell us more about it?

YK – This is my new book project, coming out in Summer of 2018!  I hope to turn this nature-inspired title to be filled with colorful shells, animals and interesting facts. Luckily I’ve been working with Janet and Lindsay again, and am excited to explore a new color palette that captures summer ambience. Stay tuned!

BPUB – Are Leaves and Shells going to be part of a pop-up book series of all seasons?

YK – Yes, we’re continuing the four season series, all focused on nature themes!

BPUB – As a paper engineer, where do you find inspiration for your designs and techniques?

YK – I’m a very visual person so I take bits of inspiration from my surroundings. When I’m working on a pop-up of a specific object/theme, I really like to study the structure and how that object functions, to incorporate those details into the pop-up. For example, the idea for the hedgehog pop-up from one of the spreads of LEAVES came to me when I saw my pet hedgehog lay on her belly! I also refer to David Cater & James Diaz’s Elements of Pop-Up a lot- seeing the physical pop-up models help me visualize how I can work with certain mechanisms.

The UWP Luxe team at the 2017 Louie Awards

FLTR: Yevgeniya Yeretskaya, Yoojin Kim, Brette Guilmette, Monika Brandrup, Jackie Chakar and Nicole Yen

BPUB – You also design beautiful pop-up cards for UWP Luxe. Can you tell us more about UWP Luxe and the products that you make?

YK – UWP LUXE is a luxury/boutique division of Up With Paper. Our aspiration for UWP LUXE is to transform paper into beautiful paper designs and explore the possibilities of the modest medium. Our design team is always tuning into current design trends, so that we can turn our passion into cards & paper designs that resonate with the recipient.

Pure Alchemy cards are my personal favorite, where we get to use delicate laser cutting and try new printing techniques. One of our Christmas designs, Eat, Drink, and be Merry (illustrated by Brette Guilmette & I engineered) card won a LOUIE award this year, which gives us more drive & encouragement to continue to push the envelope.

BPUB – Will there be a pop-up book about Sloths from your hand anytime soon?

YK – Oh I’m sure there will be one down the road. Sloths are such fascinating animals and I love them too much to not make a book about them!

BPUB – Thank you Yoojin for this interview!

YK – Thank you so much for sharing the book. I look forward to seeing many more exciting books on Best Pop-Up Books!

Click here to go to our full (video) review of Leaves: An Autumn Pop-Up Book

Website Yoojin Kim: yoojinkim.com
Up With Paper: upwithpaper.com
UWP Luxe: uwpluxe.com

Image credits: Instagram Yoojin Kim

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