Cover Letter p2
Jeremy's Page
Cover Letter 1998

In addition to its unusual assortment of models, another important part of what makes Origami for the 21st Century unique is that it's funny.  Humor  is employed throughout the book, not only in its hilarious folding themes (e.g. Origami for the Almost Deranged),  but also in the written instructions.   Take for example the Yin Yang whose instructions are a continuous rhyming poem.

Most of the diagrams in Origami for the 21st Century have already been tested out in a variety of settings. Many I have tested out in person at the monthly Bay Area Rapid Folders meetings and at the annual Origami USA conventions. 

At these events, I pass out the diagrams and help people only when they need it. When a folder has difficulty with a step, I know that step needs to be revised, which can entail enlarging it, breaking it down into more steps, or redesigning that portion of the model to be able to diagram it more effectively. 

The primary venue for exposing my diagrams has been the Bay Area Rapid Folders Newsletter, a quarterly origami newsletter for which I have been editor, producer and major contributor for almost three years. The diagrams have also appeared regularly in Imagiro , a bi-monthly origami "zine" and in the Origami USA Annual Collection, and have appeared occasonally in the Japanese origami publication, Oru, and in the British Origami Society Convention Book.   In all of the venues that they have appeared, my diagrams have proven to be extremely effective and well-received; this exposure has not only provided me with a platform to test out my diagrams and get feedback but also has generated quite a following of folders eagerly awaiting my book.

From attending annual origami conventions and regularly visiting bookstores, I'm very familiar with the many origami books that already exist, and I am also aware of the large market for origami books, especially simple ones.  Although Origami for the 21st Century contains models of all skill levels, not just beginning, it is sure to appeal to the beginning folder, for it has plenty of simple models and has a revolutionary system of teaching the basic folds by example.   The conventional approach found in most origami books is to include a separate section at the beginning of the book that teaches the basic folds.  The problem with this is that the first-time folder will tend to skip the basic folds section, go straight to trying to fold the models, get hopelessly stuck on a step and then never want to fold origami again!   Even if the folder does manage to go back to the basic folds section and find where the elusive fold is explained, it's not certain she/he will be able to apply the explanation to the step in question.  To avoid this unfortunate scenario I've devised a new method for teaching the basic folds.  Instead of having a separate section,  Origami for the 21st  Century has the explanations enclosed in cartoon clouds which appear throughout the diagrams whenever a fold is first introduced.  So, if a folder needs help with a step she/he can just look up at the cloud for assistence (analogous to the computer onscreen help window).  In case a folder does not start at the beginning and ends up getting stuck on a step with no cloud attached to it, she/he can turn to the Basic Fold Index which tells which page each cloud appears.  The main benefit of incorporating the basic folds into the model diagrams is that it will enable anyone to jump right in and start folding models rather than having to first go through a basic folds training course.  However, I am open to including a more conventional basic folds appendix in addition to the clouds. 

 With the exception of a few models I would still like to diagram, the illustrated portion of the book is complete. 

The diagrams which are drawn using Macromedia Freehand (used also by John Montroll and Robert Lang) have all been brought together into one Freehand 7 multipage document in order to make editing and printing easier.  Still to be done are the photographs of the completed models, the front and back cover design, and the final layout, editing and proofing.  I would like to take part in designing the cover and perhaps photographing the models.  I'm hoping your publishing team will take care of the book's final layout, editing, proofing, and, of course, printing and marketing. 

While I am anxious to get Origami for the 21st Century in the hands of folders, my main priority is that it be of highest quality possible, and I'll do whatever it takes to make it so.  It would be wonderfull for it to be out by November 7th, so it can make its first splash at the Pacific Coast Origami Conference, but this might be an unrealistic goal, as I will be away from my computer all summer (June17-Sept. 3) teaching at Camp Winnarainbow, a circus arts camp in northern California.  So, perhaps aiming for Christmas is more practical. 

Enclosed is a draft of the book, and also folded models.  I will be in NYC June 26-30 for the OrigamiUSA Convention; so I'll be able meet and talk with you in person and demonstrate the action models.

Based on the high quality and creativity that I have seen in your previous origami books (in particular, Kenneway's Complete Origami), I'm sure that your publishing team will find Origami for the 21'st Century extremely well-suited to their talents and expertise, and also very fun and rewarding to work on.  I look forward to joining forces with your team to bring about the final folding together of my fourteen years of insane origami dedication.  Together we can produce my first origami book, the first of many more to come, which will inspire a new generation of folders and help carry origami boldly into the 21'st Century.

May the folds be with you!


Jeremy Shafer