I have always been fascinated by flip books, so it isn’t surprising that I have made a couple. For the first one I set myself an extra challenge: I wanted the book to read in both directions. I wanted the viewer to be able to flip the pages in one direction, then turn the book over and flip it the other way.
The book was called Optimist/Pessimist.
I thought about printing images on both sides of the pages, but both images would be visible as the book was flipped which would be confusing. Instead I decided to produce the design by punching holes.
I punched a 5 hole section of the design into each page, moving the punched section along the spiral. When the pages are flipped the spiral either grows or shrinks, depending on whether you are looking at it as an Optimist or as a Pessimist.
My second flip book was produced when I was teaching myself Adobe Illustrator. It’s called Abracadabra and contains the letters of the title shifting through the colours of the rainbow and morphing from one letter shape to the next. The first image is the cover. The second image shows all the shapes used in the book.
I did both books as open editions, but have stopped making them as I found the cutting/punching/collating/assembly/trimming increasingly tedious. I also found that many people have trouble operating a flip book smoothly.
There is now a solution for that problem. Kinetic artists Mark Rosen and Wendy Marvel teamed up with manufacturing designer Steven Goldstein and ran a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign. Their invention is now commercially available.
This device avoids both the difficulty of people not being able to flip the book easily, and the problem of handling books in an exhibition setting.
Kinetic artist Juan Fontanive has gone one step further, mounting his flip books in self-contained motorized enclosures, so nothing is required of the viewer except enjoyment.
You can see more of Fontanive’s work here.
I think I may have to buy one of the kits!