Origami is a term used for the art of creating a 3D object from a single square piece of paper. The term “Origami” comes from the Japanese words, “Oru” – folding and “Kami” – paper, so the word “Origami” literally means paper folding.
Traditional Origami Crane Design
The art style has its origins in ancient Japan, traditionally using flowers, birds, frogs and dragons as subject matter. The most famous traditional Japanese design is the origami crane.
Modern origami artists challenge themselves with newer subject matter, such as automobiles, sci-fi aircraft and fantasy architecture. Fan art origami is a recent addition to the world of origami, featuring stunning paper models of characters from films, computer games and comic books.
The characters from JRR Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” have inspired many fan art pieces. These origami models of the characters are technically difficult and highly detailed, so the project takes more time and effort than many forms of fan art.
Gandalf the Grey
Eric Joisel, born in 1956, is a French Origami artist. His creative designs have an organic, sculptured feel to them. Each paper sculpture is folded from a single piece of paper; following the rules of Origami purism which states that the paper must not be cut or torn in any way to assist the artistic process.
Joisel’s characters are not only highly detailed; they also reflect the character’s personality through pose. This effect is extremely difficult to achieve, but the result is an amazingly accurate and realistic character model.
Creating such intense detail requires a lot of planning ahead and concentration. Mistakes in origami are often irreversible, and the artist will have to start over with a fresh piece of paper.
See more stunning origami designs from Eric Joisel here.
Fan Art by Brian Chan
Movies play a large role in fan art, inspiring artists to sketch, paint, sculpt and build replicas of their favorite movie characters out of a variety of materials.
V for Vendetta Mask
Brian Chan is an avid origami artist who creates a variety of origami fan art pieces, insects, animals and flowers. This life-size mask inspired by the movie “V for Vendetta” can be used as an original Halloween mask, or an indoor decoration.
Bat Symbol from the Batman Comic Books and Movies
Inspired by the movie “Batman Begins”, Chan designed an origami model of the Bat Symbol. Origami can be used to create 3-dimensional models, but some subjects like the Batman logo require a flat, 2-Dimensional effect.
Pixar's Wall-E Character Model
Wall-E, a robot from the Disney/Pixar animated movie takes on a new form through this origami model. This design uses characteristic poses of the Wall-E figure to emphasize the lovable personality of the popular character. Even though the movie was aimed at children, adult audiences are enjoying a variety of fan art stemming from the film.
Iron Man from Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics character Iron Man has a fairly simple color structure of red and yellow, which makes the origami artist’s job a lot easier. Complex colors in a design can be difficult to achieve in origami, because a sheet of origami paper generally has only one color for each side
Origami artists will sometimes paint the finished model to give it more detail, but the challenge is to create these details without painting the finished figurine.
Rei Ayanami from Neon Genesis Evangelion
The famous and often plagiarized character Rei Ayanamie has a complex color design. An origami artist could use multiple sheets of paper to give the model more color, but in this instance, Chan has opted to use a single piece of paper for a graceful, fluid look. To add more color, he has painted the finished model.
Check out Brian Chan’s origami website.
Final Fantasy Characters Origami by Satoshi Kamiya
Computer and console game characters inspire a lot of fan art, the most unique being 3D sculptures and models, whether they are made from Lego, modeling clay or paper.
This design by Satoshi Kamiya is of Chocobo from the popular game, Final Fantasy. The characters in Final Fantasy are complex and highly detailed, but this master origami artist has created a convincing likeness of the character from a single piece of paper.
This is another stunning design by Satoshi Kamiya of Bahamut, Dragon Lord, from the game Final Fantasy. Satoshi used clever folding to recreate the muscle structure of Bahamut, creating a powerful replica of the masculine dragon character.
Four-legged origami creatures are easier to balance than bipeds, but heavy tails and heads need to be weighted correctly so that the character can stand alone without support. Yet another gaming character from Kamiya, this model is a believable replica of Fenrir from Final Fantasy.
Kamiya was born in 1981 and started folding paper at age two. View his site here.
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