Design­ing Toroidal Books with Ken Leslie – Day 2

We started off today’s class talking about rectangular toruses. Or is it tori? Aha! Rectangular toroidal shapes. Ken shared some of his work that used the rectangular form. It’s awesome when he does this because he reads the text to you and it’s like adult story time.

Ken Leslie with one of his painted books

We then dove in with the rectangular shape using an exhibit poster of Ken’s that included a book that you could cut out and fold yourself.

Cut out, nonfolded paper toroidal book

Folded paper toroidal book

Next came the big project announcement – we have to plan a book that can take any toroidal shape we choose – it can be a circle, rectangle, or even a triangle.

Ken advised that we should just “barf out an idea”, that we shouldn’t be concerned with making something perfect right from the start. He added that we should plan the structure first before adding content – the structure should be used to inform the content.

Before I dove into the big deal, I did today’s spread in my PBI book. This is who/how I am today (or at least was this morning):

Drawn and paper panels of toroidal book

Then, taking the barf approach, I started the main project. I decided on making a rectangle, mostly because I already have a book that’s a circle. The model comes first, so it’s smaller than the size of the final book.

Paper with drawn grid lines

I added in the panels (totally winging it – there’s no formula like with the circle)…

Paper with drawn grid lines

…cut out the center…

Paper with drawn grid lines and center cut out

…and folded it up.

Folded paper

All of this took a lot longer than you would imagine. And then it didn’t fold up right (that’s why you make models). I was not happy, considering how much work I had put into it.

Not knowing what to do next, I put it on my head.

Book artist Elissa Campbell with folded paper on her head

Then I got over myself and asked Ken for help. He helped me reorient some of my folds so that the book closed up correctly. Whether or not the page spreads made structural sense was another story.

So I stared at my book for a long time. And then it was time for lunch. Argh.

I went back into the studio in the evening and asked Ken for more help. I told him that there were parts of the book that I liked and wanted to keep – how could I move forward with my structure without starting over?

He helped me figure out the adaptations I needed to get it to work. I started to work on my new model a little bit before I called it quits for the day. Hopefully I’ll have some pictures of a working model tomorrow.

Here are today’s gems from Ken:

When you shrink it [your book], your mistakes shrink also.

Any questions or fears?

2 Responses to “Design­ing Toroidal Books with Ken Leslie – Day 2”

By Jayne Buckley Sykes - 14 May 2014 Reply

Thanks again for sharing – and sometimes it’s the mistakes that teach us the most … Can’t wait for the next installment.

By Elissa - 16 May 2014 Reply

Jayne –

I have to keep reminding myself that these are learning books. If I try to get everything perfect on the first try, I’ll never get anywhere.


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