Book Review: Origami Animal Sculpture

Challenge Yourself with Some Cute Advanced Origami Projects

photo of Origami Animal Sculpture Book
ORIGAMI animal sculpture. Tuttle Publishing

John Szinger
Bob Plotkin, Photographer
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
Format: Paperback
Date Published:9/16/2014
Illustrations: includes DVD; full-color throughout
Number of Pages:128

Introduction to the book

Origami is the traditional Japanese art or technique of folding paper into a variety of forms including animals and flowers based on the principles of geometry. If you are an origami enthusiast with some folding experience under your belt, you will love the challenging projects found in the book by John Szinger called Origami animal sculpture.

The book features 22 intermediate to advanced level projects designed personally by the author.

A bit about the author

John Szinger is an origami artist, software designer, developer, and musician who has been folding paper for most of his life but started to focus professionally on the art of Origami paper folding beginning in the year 2000. Since then he has been generously sharing his designs with the OrigamiUsa collection.

Overview of the book

This origami craft book is soft covered and has lovely photographs. Each of the projects features a picture of the finished origami project followed by detailed instructional drawings guiding the reader with step by step folding techniques. The majority of the projects can be folded from a 6" x 6" sheet of paper, but the author recommends larger sheets for the more complex origami animal projects. The author also discusses folding techniques he discovered called "putting it into the oven" and his unique method of wet folding for complex projects.

The book is organized into five areas of origami folding projects from the animal kingdom: Adirondack animals (woodland creatures), insects, cephalopods, Arctic marine animals, hex base critters plus an Asian elephant. A canoe, lean-to, and an Adirondack chair accompany the Adirondack woodland creatures section.

Origami drawing instructions are often challenging and confusing for beginners and even intermediate level folders.A DVD with instructional videos is also included with the book. The video instructions are demonstrated by the author and are somewhat challenging to follow because sometimes the video steps were not totally clear i.e. a hand would cover a substantial folding step leaving the viewer confused.It was also a bit disappointing to discover that the video only had 12 tutorials of the 22 projects featured in the book. The photo quality of the video tutorials is also a bit unprofessional.

There was a note on the DVD that additional tutorial videos were on the Tuttle Publishing website book page, but the website has no instructional videos to be found. I would have liked to have had video tutorials for all of the projects in the book because origami diagrams are difficult to follow. Folding success is more likely if you have someone demonstrating the origami techniques either personally or on a video.

All of the origami crafts featured in the book are quite lovely and unique, but I preferred the Adirondack woodland creatures. The common loon (page 28), foxy fox (page 32), brown bear (page 36), and Adirondack moose (page 39) were all so cute!

The author stated that he found the inspiration for these origami projects in the woods of the Northeast. Most of the above-mentioned projects are constructed using a "bear base" structure developed by the author.


I have little experience with origami and found the projects difficult and frustrating.I was unable to complete any of the folding projects I attempted. My 13-year-old niece, an origami aficionado managed to whip up several of the origami projects with little trouble.This book is suitable only for people that have been folding origami for quite some time and are comfortable with basic folding techniques. The author describes mastering the intricate folds similar to learning a complex piece of music. You may not get it the first time (or even the second, third or twentieth time) but you will with enough practice master it eventually.

If you have considerable experience with origami, this book will challenge you to higher levels of origami sculpture incorporating complicated folding techniques.