Monday, March 31, 2008

Happy Li'l Dragon


This clever fellow swooping in from the sky is Lassie (short for "Velassieraptor"), one of a collection of hideous beasts given a good home by my friend Marci. The design is my own, developed one afternoon when I tried to see how much of the KNL dragon I could fold from memory. (Answer: not that much.)

As with my shrimp design, the happy li'l dragon has not been published anywhere, although I plan to do so at some point. The head is a traditional fish base grafted onto the body of a traditional crane. Lassie was folded from a 7" square of dark green/light green duo paper. He (she?) measures 5" from snout to tail and has a 3 1/4" wingspan.

Monday, March 17, 2008

KNL Dragon


This happy fellow is the Kasahara-Neale-Lang Dragon. We see him in his native habitat, hunting for prey along the fertile plains beneath the majestic Orange Couch Mountains.

This beast is an adaptation of dragons by Kunihiko Kasahara and Robert Neale by Robert J. Lang. In Lang's own words:
...some years ago a composite (multisheet) origami model had become quite popular by combining the head from a dragon by Kunihiko Kasahara (itself a three-piece composite model) with the body, wings, legs, and tail of a simple one-sheet dragon by Robert Neale.... The combination became known as the Kasahara-Neale Dragon.

Lang uses a technique called grafting to create the critter with a single sheet of paper. Essentially, a large bird base and a small bird base are embedded in a larger square of paper, such that both bird bases touch at one point. The extra paper is used to give the dragon larger wings that the original. Unfortunately, it also produces a strange two-toned effect, but with the right paper, this isn't a problem.

This model was created from a square of 13 3/4" standard origami paper. The completed model is 8" from snout to tail, with a wingspan of 6". Diagrams and folding directions may be found in Origami Design Secrets by Robert J. Lang.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Crane comparison

Here we have three crane-like birds. The orange bird on the left is the simple crane, or orizuru. The green bird in the center is the "crane with folded wings", or orihazuru. The blue bird on the left is not technically a crane; it is the traditional "flapping bird" -- unlike the other two, it will flap somewhat convincingly when the holder tugs on the bases of the neck and tail.

Given the similarity of all three models, it should come as no shock that the folding patterns are all remarkably similar. Each model was created from a 5 7/8" square of standard origami paper folded into a standard bird base -- variations in the final folds account for the differences in each model.

Instructions for folding the crane and flapping bird can be found in many beginner origami books or online. Instructions for the crane with folded wings appear to be more elusive -- one source is Origami Made Easy by Kunihiko Kasahara.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Shrimp mk. 3

This shrimp ("Shrimp mark 3"... you don't want to see marks 1 and 2) was my first original design. I'm very pleased with it, although there are some improvements I eventually would like to make, particularly around the head and antennae. It is unusual in that the folder starts with a triangle (a 45-45-90 triangle, specifically) rather than a square, folded into half of a bird base. (Conceptually, picture folding a square of paper into a bird base, unfolding it, cutting the square down one diagonal, and refolding one of the resulting triangles along the existing creases.) The crease pattern and folding sequence are currently unpublished, although I do plan to publish both eventually.

I am particularly pleased with how well the tail came out. (You can see a close-up below.) As I was designing this model, one of my roommates brought out a bucket of shrimp tails ("don't ask," he said) so I could get a good idea of what they actually look like.

This shrimp was folded from one half of a 9 3/4" square of standard origami paper. The shrimp body is 6" long (uncurled) with 1 1/4" long antennae. The whole model is 6 1/2" from antenna to tail.