Can I commission you to design a certain species of bird or other animal - or make a suggestion?
In general I don't take commissions for models. I prefer to follow my own inspiration. Also suggestions for birds are of no real use to me, I hope you understand.
How are the models designed?
To make a design I usually begin with making a sketch of the bird I like to make a model of.
When I have a basic idea of how I would like a birdmodel to be, I make a few testmodels using plane paper. Using various 3D programs on the computer I achieve a design of the basic shape. The patterns are printed, cut out and assembled to judge their shape. There is a lot of trial and error necessary before the correct shape is achieved. Ofcourse it is impossible to capture every curve of the birds body in paper, compromises have to be made, or the model would have to many gluing tabs, making it too difficult to make.
When the design of the model is satisfactory I start with painting the template. For the paintwork I take most time. With very fine brushes I try to achieve the most realistic effect in colour and detail. I use watercolour or gouache paint. When the template is nearly finished I assemble the bird to see if all colours match up nicely with each other. Usually I touch it up further, making sure featherpatterns are continued over the edges, in this way masking the paper edges as much as possible. When a bird is finished I frame it behind glass, for protection. I like to regard my original models as three dimensional paintings, and present them as such. For the models which are available as a template, I follow the steps as described, but when the birds are completely finished, I carefully re-assemble them, and scann all the parts for further editing. I add tabs, folding lines and instructions.
Why are some of the models not available as a template?
I scan all the painted templates before I assemble them so I do have basic templates of all the models I made.
But I always do some adjusting and extra painting after a model is assembled. Sometimes even considerable extra painting, like eyes or other important details.
The templates I made available for others are made of models that I once more re-assembled after having painted these final details. But I haven't done this with all the models yet.
I like to try to assemble a model, what tools will I need?
You will need paper-glue, small sharp scissors, tweezers, long wooden skewers for applying the glue and to make the legs of the birds, small knife, watercolour and fine brush to touch up the birds when finished, a piece of cardboard for gluing and for parts which are used to strengthen certain parts, a ruler and a dull knife or paper piercer for scoring, nails and hammer or knead glue for fixing mounts to the wall.
Whether you choose a craft knife or small scissors for the cutting is a personal decision to make.
I never use blades myself, I only use scissors. The material you use should be sharp and fine in order to make the small cuttings.
For my models I use Collall paperglue, which is a dutch brand. I have no knowledge of the glues in other countries. I prefer this glue beacuse it is waterbased and dries transparant. The right glue is glue that holds almost at once, and when dried it should hold well enough that paper is torn before the glue lets go.
How do I print the models?
All the models are best printed on light paper (80 to 120 gr). 80 gr usually is the normal office paper used for printing, 120 gr is slightly heavier. In the USA 120gr equals a 32lb text weight printer paper. At the office supply stores in the USA this is described on the packages as a "premium" printer paper, meaning it is a little heavier than the standard weight papers sold for text printing. The lighter the paper, the better the model will hold in the end. Heavy paper has more resistance in curving and bending and will have the tendency to go back to its flat original state. The tabs will have more difficulty to hold. Light weight paper glues instantly (provided that the right glue is used) and the completed model is strong enough, also with light paper. Always use normal non-gloss paper. The opaque effect will make up for the brighter colours of photopaper. I do not advise Photopaper, or other glossy paper for my models.
In case a dent will occure in a finished model the dent can be easily pushed back by using a sharp instrument, push it inside in an opening at the other side of the model, and carefully push the paper back in place.
How do I glue the tabs?
Cut out the pieces with the scissors accurately.
After having cut out all the pieces, follow the instructions to assemble the model. Allow yourself plenty of time. It is best each tab is dry before starting with the next one. All the gluing tabs and other gluing-areas are indicated with a grey colour. Glue the tabs in the order as indicated in the illustrations. Glue the parts accurately on the tab. Glue is easily applied by a long skewer. Take a piece of cardboard or paper, and put a small amount of glue on it. For gluing a tab, take a little bit of glue with the tip of the skewer and add it to the tab. For the small tabs tweezers may come in handy. You may prefer to add the glue at the reversed side of the paper: the area that is glued over the tab. This way you can work clean and risk of making glue stains is minimized. If a mistake is made, quickly loose the tab, allow the tab to dry, and try again by using fresh glue. Each part, especially the head and the bill should be fitted a few times before gluing them permanently.
How do I fold?
Some folding lines, like in the tail and in the mount, are scored. Score the folding-lines along a ruler with a dull knife or a paper piercer to get straight folds. Small fold, like the folding lines in the bill and in the theighs, do not have to be scored. Fold them by hand on the folding lines. Most folding lines are ‘mountain-folded’. This means that the fold faces towards you. ‘Valleyfolds’ are the opposite, the folds are in the deep. The way it is folded is indicated on the template: MF= mountainfold, VF=valleyfold.
Do the models need to be painted or varnished after they are assembled?
Most prints are not waterproof, so be carefull when touching them up with watercolour. I don't recommend painting the edges of the paper. When the paper is thin enough they don't show and need not to be painted. Extra painting sometimes is neccesary in the eyes of the birds or around gluing tabs that show too much.
Always use a brush with a sharp point. When the prints are made with waterproof inks, you may touch them up a little more. Especially the reds and yellows can be made more brilliant with some extra paint. The eyes can be made darker with some black gouache or watercolour. You may apply a very carefully applied drop of Ranger glossy accents on the eye. It'll stay domed/rounded. Varnishing the birds is not necessary.
How do I present my birds?
A completed bird can be exposed in a showcase, a glass bell or - dome or behind a frame. I have placed some of the models in a showcase. But also I framed a lot of birds. I placed the models in a paper box and in a wooden frame, usually some 5 or 6 cm deep, and behind normal glass. This way the models last a long time to enjoy, and you can give them as a present or sell them.
The bird is positioned in a box made of cardboard.
The box is 5 cm deep.
A passe-partout of the same cardboard is glued at the front. The branch sticks out at the bottom, and is fixed to the cardboard with wood-glue.
The box is taped behind a second passe-partout which has a slightly larger cut out in the middle then the size of the box. The branch is also fixed to this passe-partout so it has two fixing points in total.
The final result behind glass and in a frame. The frames are made of wood and painted white with acrylics. The frames are 5.4 cm deep. You'll need the extra 4 mm for the glass and passe-partout.