When I was first offered Paper Dandy's Horrorgami by Marc Hagan-Guirey, I completely misunderstood what it was I was reviewing. I thought this was going to be a children's - though, granted, older children's - paper craft book, and all it would require would be paper, scissors and folding. I was completely wrong, but this is a really fascinating book!
There are a list of tools and materials needed to create each scene Hagan-Guirey describes, such as a scalpel and blades, and a self-healing cutting mat, and these are not things that I have. So I'm going to review this as it stands, rather than as to how useful it is at helping you create these scenes.
There's a really interesting introduction before the book gets into the various scenes you'll be creating. It's really interesting reading as Hagan-Guirey talks about how he first got interested in craft as a child, his interest in horror and the buildings and gothic architecture used in those movies, how he discovered kirigami, and how his career progressed until he gets to the point of writing this book.
Paper Dandy's Horrorgami is quite complicated and involved. The list of tools mentioned above is included in the How to Use This Book section, which talks you through terminology, the different ways to fold and score the paper, and specific techniques. It's clear that creating the Horrorgami scenes will require a fair amount of time and concentration; it's fiddly stuff, and distractions might cause you to cut or rip the paper, or perhaps cut yourself.
Then we have the step-by-step guides to each scene. There are 20 scenes, which include The Fall of the House of Usher, The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow, Skull Island and Dracula's Castle. The scenes are in order or difficulty, from Beginner, Beginner - Intermediate, Intermediate, and Advanced. Each scene has a photograph of the finished scene without effects, an introduction and difficulty level, a photograph of the finished scene with effects (see below), a six step photographic step-by-step guide with cutting tips and a template on thick card. You can either use the templates to create the scenes or use them to transfer the design to paper. Unfortunately, the templates don't have a perforated line near the centre of the book, so they're not simple to detach. I can't really tell how you're supposed to detach them, unless it's just by cutting them out of the book.
The scenes themselves are really gorgeous, even with the horror theme. Because of the difficulty level, they get more intricate as you go on, but even the scenes early on are really something. The book does make them look better than they would be for anyone using the book, though; coloured lighting and coloured backdrops are used effectively throughout to give the scenes an eerie feel and almost an atmosphere. We won't have that. The only way we can get close is if we use coloured paper. But as I said above, before the step-by-step guides, there is a photo of how the scenes will look without the affects, without the lighting and backdrops, and it doesn't look as cool. But I still think there will be a sense of achievement afterwards and I'm sure we could try and come up with our own methods of trying to create the eerie feeling. Click the following images for a larger view.
The House of Usher
The Headless Horseman
of Sleepy Hollow
All in all, Paper Dandy's Horrorgami is a great book, and would be wonderful for a Halloween activity, but you will need to make sure you have the tools and the time before trying anything. Not really something for a Halloween party. But still really cool, and it looks fun, and I'm sure those who enjoy paper craft would love this! If you buy all the tools and materials in advance to go along with, this book would make a great Christmas gift to the creative Horror fan in your life!
Thank you to Laurence King Publishing via Midas PR for the review copy.
Published: 1st September 2015
Publisher: Laurence King Publishing
Paper Danday's Website