A video interview with
Since 1994 Robert Sabuda has taken three-dimensional pop-up books to new heights. Elaborate dinosaurs leap off the page. Colorful Christmas trees rise up and blink. Knights in shining armor joust before the king and queen. The ease with which these things twist, turn, and delight readers is the result of much trial and error. Robert Sabuda is a completely self-taught pop-up book artist. Without any guidebook or mentor, Sabuda has always had to challenge himself to find out what is possible.
Robert Sabuda grew up in a small, rural town in Michigan. As a young boy, he spent countless hours in his bedroom drawing, painting, cutting, and gluing. When his mother brought home old manila filing folders from work, Robert discovered that the thick paper was perfect for making pop-up books. Throughout his school years, Robert continued to improve as an artist. At the end of high school he was accepted into one of the top art schools in the country — Pratt Institute in New York City.
During his junior year at Pratt, Robert Sabuda worked as an intern at a children's publishing house. That experience inspired him to become a children's book illustrator. After graduating from art school, Sabuda showed his portfolio to many publishers. He got his foot in the door by illustrating coloring books and eventually worked his way into picture books. Soon Sabuda realized that his true dream was to make pop-up books. Without any how-to guides available, Sabuda referred to the books he had made as a young boy. From there Sabuda quickly taught himself how to make more sophisticated pop-ups.
Robert Sabuda published his first pop-up book in 1994. As he learned how to "make the paper obey," his page spreads became increasingly more elaborate. In a relatively short period of time, Sabuda established himself as the preeminent pop-up book artist in the field. His popular books include original stories as well as adapted classics such as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and The Night before Christmas. Most recently, Sabuda and his partner, Matthew Reinhart, have collaborated to create the educational Encyclopedia Prehistorica series.
Robert Sabuda works from his studio in Manhattan with Matthew Reinhart and a team of full-time designers.
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