The Bicycle Race Books Complete

We finished the twenty copies of The Mexican Bicycle Race this week. David trimmed head and foot, four at a time because I am still a little anxious about slippage when using Ko-Ko.

I cut one-and-a-half inch wide strips of the paste paper we had chosen,

then cut the strips into squares.

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Friday Night Flicks: Fresh Guacamole and Honda “Paper” by PES

Last week’s flicks featured some of the earliest forms of animation. Tonight’s two videos feature work by contemporary stop-motion animator PES.

Fresh Guacamole, at a total length of one minute and forty seconds, is the shortest film ever nominated for an Academy Award.



Slightly longer (one minute, fifty seven seconds), there were no Academy nominations for  Honda “Paper” since it is an advertisement. It did get lots of recognition.

2016 Emmy® Award Nomination – Outstanding Commercial of 2016 – Honda “Paper”
2016 Cannes Lions – Gold Lion – Design/Animation – Honda “Paper”
2016 Cannes Lions – Silver Lion – Craft/Animation – Honda “Paper”
2016 Cannes Lions – Bronze Lion – Sound Design – Honda “Paper”
2016 AICP Show – Gold – Animation – Honda “Paper”
2016 Honda “Paper” added to The Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection
2016 D&AD Awards – Graphite Pencil – Animation – Honda “Paper”
2016 The One Show – Gold Pencil – Animation – Honda “Paper”
2016 Andy Awards – Gold – Animation – Honda “Paper”
2016 ADDY Awards “Best in Show” – Honda “Paper”
2016 The One Show ‘Automotive Advertising of the Year’ Award – Honda “Paper”
2015 Honda “Paper” selected to permanent collection at The Louvre’s Museum of Advertising



If you want to spend part of your week-end watching more excellent stop motion videos, you can check out PES’s YouTube Channel.

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How To Run A Mexican Bicycle Race got a little closer to completion this week. David set up Ko-Ko (my stack cutter) and we did the trimming of the fore-edge.

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Friday Night Flicks: Film Before Film, Zoetrope Replica, Circus Zoetrope, and Making The Pristitrope

Those of you who watch Friday Night Flicks regularly will know that I am interested in stop-motion animation. I am also intrigued by mechanical devices. Tonight’s videos combine both. The first, Film Before Film —Phenakistoscope, Zootrope, Praxinoscope, gives a little of the history of early devices that ‘animated’ still pictures.



Zoetrope Replica Optical Toy is a demonstration video for a replica zoetrope available from



The Circus Zoetrope was created for the 2010 launch of Temperley London’s Spring Summer Collection. From the text on Vimeo:

The Circus Zoetrope was officially unveiled to press and fashion buyers during New York and London Fashion Week and continued to travel to different markets for the remainder of the year. Keeping with the collections Circus theme, professional acrobats, contortionists, and circus performers were hired along with models to create moving images that both showcased the Spring Summer 2010 collection and the spirit of a circus. Wrapped around the spinning zoetrope, the frames taken from the 10 short films produce a magical illusion of action …



It was probably inevitable that someone would take one of these early animation processes and update it with digital technologies, so the final flick for today is The Making of The Pristitrope. From the text on Vimeo:

The Pristitrope is a modification of the zoetrope, a pre-cinematic optical toy that shows short, looped animations. It replaces the zoetropes static illustrations with 18 tiny LCD screens, merging a digital way of showing images with an analogue way of showing their movement. The machine knows in which direction it is turning. Therefore, basic interactivity is possible, for example in the form of simple game structures or choices within a clockwise/counterclockwise narrative.



There were a lot of videos tonight. Perhaps you’ll want to spread them out over a day or two, unless you decide to spend the weekend making your own zoetrope from the instructions found here or ordering one to make later from here.

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A Little Book

It has been a long time since I have written a blog post about something other than the Chinese thread book, so you are probably ready for a change! This week David and I put the finishing touches on the text of a little book. Entitled How To Run A Mexican Bicycle Race, it actually began life as a letter David wrote to me from Mexico in 1980. As well as writing the text, David drew a cover illustration

and two custom dingbats. The bicycle goes between the two main sections of the piece,

and the bent wheel goes at the end.

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Friday Night Flicks: Papier Machine

Today’s flicks combine several of my interests: it’s about a book, DIY paper models, and miniature electronics. Papier Machine was designed and produced by Marion Pinaffo and Raphaël Pluvinage, and the little videos were made by Clément Brandely.



You can read more about the project here, and maybe design your own paper toy —electronic or otherwise— this weekend.

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Making a Zhen Xian Bao/Chinese Thread Book: Part Five or A Personal Conclusion

When I began all this —the trip down an internet wormhole chasing a particular origami folding pattern— I had no idea where it would all lead.

The hunt for that set of instructions led me to an enormous trove of resources on the history of the Zhen Xian Bao (Chinese Thread Book), Chinese textile traditions, and origami folding. Continue reading

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Friday Night Flicks: The Man Behind The World’s Most Contentious Font

For some time now it has been de rigueur to dis Comic Sans and people who use it, but there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the font when used appropriately. Sometimes it is just right!

Here’s a short video about Vincent Connare, and the how and why of Comic Sans.



Perhaps this weekend you too will find a suitable use for this often under-valued and disrespected font.


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Making a Zhen Xian Bao/Chinese Thread Book: Part Four

Since combining the words origami and Zhen Xian Bao or Chinese Thread Book in my search for the ‘star’ box (flowered candy box) I have come across a number of origami versions of the Zhen Xian Bao. The earliest example I found was in Sarah Marshall’s images from a workshop given by Hedi Kyle in 2008 at PBI.

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Friday Night Flicks: disillusionment of 10 point font and The Typewriter

Today’s videos are both related to typewriters. The first is a witty series of typographic puns “animated on a smith corona galaxie deluxe typewriter” by Greg Condon.



The second flick is a promo for the book The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine described by author Janine Vangool as “150 years of history, a lifelong obsession, three years in the making”. (Confession: I bought the book.)



Perhaps you’ll get to play with a typewriter this weekend.

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