You’ve probably already noticed that we like to introduce pop-up book collectors from all over the world. We also love to share great pop-up book collections and this time it’s the impressive collection of José. José Alberto Rodrigues (a.k.a. JAR) is Portuguese. He graduated as a teacher of Visual Arts and has a MSc and PhD in Multimedia in Education. JAR started collecting (but is more fan than collector) movables and pop-up books about 8 years ago and his collection has grown ever since, although in Portugal it’s very difficult to find pop-up books in bookstores.
He’s currently preparing a series of pop-up books that will explore the transparencies and the explosion of colors, with games and inspiring challenges. These artistic and sensitive books will be published in 2017. He is also preparing a series of training workshops for teachers on paper engineering to explore this technique with children and young people in Portuguese schools.
“When I need a happy moment or some inspiration, I devote several minutes to my pop-up books. Pop-up books are a fascinating world!”
José Alberto Rodrigues
You’ll understand that we’re very proud to share the collection of José. A collector, Paper Engineer and most of all, a fan of movables like all of us. This interview is so loaded with useful and valuable links, we could just as well have made the complete text yellow. Enjoy our interview with José and discover how the purchase of a single pop-up book can lead to so much dedication and passion for art and movable paper!
BPUB – What’s the first pop-up book you bought?
JAR – The first pop-up book that I bought was One Red Dot by David Carter. This book got me hooked on pop-up books, especially because of all the artistic techniques of paper engineering and also because of the multiples perspectives I got to use in educational context with my young students in Portuguese schools and training teachers. After One Red Dot, many things happened, opened and changed in my life.
BPUB – Who’s your favorite pop-up book author or paper engineer?
JAR – For me, the best paper engineers are definitely Robert Sabuda, Matthew Reinhart, Sam Ita, Kees Moerbeek and David Hawcock. His works are absolutely brilliant and they explore the pop-up techniques to the limit. However, my passion and preference is more the artistic side of pop-up books. This is why, for example, I prefer authors such as David A. Carter, Ron Van der Meer or Katsumi Komagata. I also admire the work of many French authors like Philippe Ug, Gérard lo Monaco, Arnaud Roi, the duo Louis Rigaud and Anouck Boisrobert, Marion Bataille, Martine Perrin, Bernard Duisit or Vicent Godeau.
BPUB – What’s your favorite book in your collection and why?
JAR – This is a really difficult question. I have many pop-up books in my collection and it was love at first sight. It is impossible to choose just one, so I leave here a short list.
Un Petit Bois Mystérieux (French version) by Susumu Shingu. It’s an amazing book. This pop-up book is the first book of this Japanese author that I recently bought in Brussels. In this artistic book, the author conveys his vision of the kinetic art to a magical world of forests.
Little tree by Katsumi Komagata. A book that takes us to the author’s universe, very simple and sophisticated, it’s a real passion, an immense poetry built with fabulous papers and materials.
Inspiration by Ron van der Meer. An explosion of colors and shapes that amazes us at every page. It surprises and makes us gape with its buildings, though simple but wide. An artistic book that absolutely motivates and inspires us.
600 Black Spots by David A. Carter, one of my favorites. Like all his books, it’s a challenge. We must search for the black spots and count them. With very simple pop-up constructions, but sometimes extremely complex, this magic book leads us through a world of discovery and challenge. Whenever I show this book to my students or open the first page, a startled sound comes out of their mouths, awakening all their senses.
Drôle D’Oiseau (Funny Birds) by Philippe Ug. A fantastic journey through the world of birds. A book full of color and life, with a very beautiful message about the preservation of nature, telling us to take better care of it. Philippe Ug is one of the authors that I like and appreciate the most. I had the opportunity to do a workshop with him in October 2014, in Portugal. Therefore, many of the books from my collection are signed by him.
These are only a few of the many pop-up books that I love and own…
BPUB – How many books are there in your collection?
JAR – About 100. All of them are new because it is very difficult to find old or antique books. I wish I had more pop-up books but in Portugal it is almost impossible to find these books in bookstores. So I usually buy them online through Spain and UK, or when I go to Belgium or France. My budget is also very limited so I need to control my spending urge. But I believe that my collection will grow a little more.
BPUB – What book is missing or will be the first one you’ll order next?
JAR – This, for me, is a terrible question, a headache. So many, so many books that I cannot buy. For example, I cannot buy How Many by Ron Van der Meer or Paper Folding for Pop-Up by Miyuki Yoshida, and these are only a few of many that I would love to have. Recently I received two new books: Aesop’s Fables by Moerbeek and Le cube rouge by Barnard Duisit and Janik Coat. I’m waiting to get my last order from the UK with the books Trail by David Pelham, Welcome to the Neighbourwood by Shawn Sheehy and More designs of paper folding for Pop-Up by Miyuki Yoshida. My next order, if I can get or find it is Lutins des bois by Philippe Ug and at August 1st the new book by Andy Mansfield: See the Stripes. I’m also aware of two new authors and their works: Roberta Bridda Non fa una piega and Jani Lunablau’s Little Gallery of Nerds & Freaks. I saw some images of their pop-up books at the ArtsLibris 2016 in Barcelona and I was enthusiastic to have them in my collection. However, it will be difficult since they are artist books and I do not know if they will ever be published and sold. I am also eager to see if the pop-up books of Roberta Bridda and Jani Lunablau will be published.
BPUB – If you could choose a subject for a new pop-up book by your favorite author, what will it be?
JAR – The Carnation Revolution of April 25th. This is an important date. In 1974 there was a revolution in Portugal. This revolution ended with the dictatorship system in Portugal. It was a peaceful revolution made with flowers and almost no shots were fired. The 24 hours of this revolution would be an excellent subject.
“The most important thing is to awaken all your senses.”
BPUB – Is there anything else you would like to share with other pop-up book fans?
JAR – Pop-up books are a passion. It’s a love that will last forever. We must know how to manage this magical world. Every now and then, we have the desire to buy a lot of books but for those who have a very limited budget, sometimes we get frustrated. We have to know how to manage these impulses because we cannot spend what we do not have, and this makes us very selective in the choices we make. I prefer books that I can use on workshops or at school. I must be the one who has the largest collection of pop-up books in Portugal. I believe that my collection will be unique. That makes me happy. Soon my collection and personal library will be displayed in various locations. I want to share my passion so that more books like this can be available in my country. For those who are now starting, the most important thing is to awaken all your senses. BestPopUpBooks.com allows us, pop-up lovers, to keep in touch and be connected with everyone. The collection and knowledge that each one has on pop-up books, will only enhanced if it’s shared so that everyone knows more about this fantastic world.
BPUB – What do you think of BestPopUpBooks.com?
JAR – Your website is fantastic, a reference to those who have a passion for pop-up books. It was wonderful to discover your work. I believe that it will grow with more articles, book reviews and fascinating videos. It’s very important for those who want to learn and know more about this wonderful world. And also, you should continue to build a good database with all the authors of pop-up books in the world. That would be extraordinary.
BPUB – Thank you José for this great peek at your collection and passion for pop-up books! This interview will be a treasure for every pop-up book collector. We can’t wait to see your work as a paper engineer in your upcoming color books. Please keep us updated about your projects so we can share it with our followers!
For more information about José and his projects, visit and like his Facebook page.
If you’re reading this as a starting pop-up book collector you might be impressed to read about the collection of José. So are we. But please, feel free to share your collection and story with us and our followers. It doesn’t matter if you have ten or a hundred books. Your story and passion for pop-up books is what fascinates us. We know it’s hard to pick just one favorite book or author but you’re free to answer the questions of our fan interview any way you want it!