Pop-Up Book Artist Paul Johnson

Pop-Up Book Artist Paul Johnson

I had the pleasure of meeting and hosting British pop-up book artist Paul Johnson when he was in Portland recently. He was on a West Coast tour: teaching four workshops at the San Francisco Center for the book, a weekend workshop at Oregon College of Art & Craft and working with students at Mills College in Oakland.
My own initial interest in paper was through origamic architecture, and this is one of the principals that Paul has used and developed throughout his career. He is an avid pop-up book maker, and has written almost twenty books on the subject, mostly for teachers. He travels around England teaching book arts in schools, and he comes to America about once a year to teach.
The timing of his visit was perfect! Once I learned a little more about Paul’s work, I asked him to contribute a project for my book, Playing with Paper, and he agreed and constructed this interlocking pop-up paper castle.
Paul’s construction techniques are unique because he uses paper tabs to interlock his ‘pages’. This allows his book structures to collapse very flat, because there are no folds that want to spring open.
Paul is also an prolific sketcher. He drew a lot around my home and studio, and this is a lovely little book he created with drawings of my studio. And it is one of those one-sheet book folds – one I’d never seen!


  1. Jordan Taylor says:

    I noticed this recent visit by the artist Paul Johnson after I had pulled down a piece that we had on the walls of our home and read the inscription on the back. The inscription reads “the landscape of dreams stretches to the limit of the imagination, Paul Johnson 88″… the piece itself is a shadowbox and is very reminiscent of the works displayed by the artist on this site. So, my question is this, could it be that we have an earlier work by Paul Johnson, who subsequently explored making pop-up books? I can provide pictures of the work in question, as well as the inscription, if you can provide any information on the origins of this piece it would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Jordan Taylor.

    • Jayme McCary says:

      We’re you ever able to find anything on this. I recently came upon one myself with an inscription on the back “can afternoon light visualize the mystery of moonlight?” And again signed Paul Johnson 88’. I’m having trouble finding a true history to the piece.

  2. […] with a different binding style taught ever day. The workshop culminates in a very special offering, internationally-renowned book artist Paul Johnson is visiting us all the way from the UK for the final day to teach the kids all about the artistry […]

  3. M.J. Goerke says:

    I hosted Paul a few years agao when he came to St. Louis to teach at the Foundry Art Centre. What a delight he was. He sketched my home as well and I treasure it. I understand he does this where ever he goes. Couldn’t resist telling you of my good fortune of having Paul and making a friend of him! I also took a workshop from you in Portland years ago and I treasure what I learned from you as well. Good luck with your book!Keep me posted on its publishing date mj