Nice Paper Toys

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I just wanted to open a discussion on the idea of selling paper toys, I'd love to know what people think about it. One of the beautiful things about what we all do is that we're offering people pieces of art/design/toys, for free, via the internet.

But! Has anyone successfully sold paper toys, has anyone used their paper toys to bring in some cash and support their online projects, does anyone agree or disagree with selling paper toys? I just got an email from a cool paper toy designer who is considering something along these lines, and thought it would be interesting to get some views from you all.

My wife and I have been running the Speakerdog Paper Toys project for almost two years now, we've given weeks or months of our time to bring it all together, we've had hundreds of thousands of downloads, we've worked with over 100 artists on different designs, we've exhibited all over the place, yet we've never taken a penny from the paper toys, and because of that it will always be no more than a 'sideline' to the commissioned illustration work and Speakerdog posters and art prints that we produce, since that's what pays the rent, that's our proper job and the main focus.

I know one awesome paper toy designer who sells his models, but the flat templates he sells are all A3, so that's a little bit more than you can offer for free via the net (since 99% of people would only have an A4 printer).

So, the discussion is open, what does anyone think?

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Personally I hate to sell or share my templates. Seems that designer who share the templates become mainstream and the others just follow him/her, like Shin Tanaka (my idol). I used some special paper and special crafting technique for mine that's not just cut n build. I work hard to make my toys as hard as plastic and as durable as I can, so I think it's worth more than just selling the template
So are you saying that all of us designers that put art in the form of papertoys online, for people to enjoy, for free are 'mainstream'? Shin included? Do you think we've 'sold out' creatively? Is mainstream a bad place to be? Or is it just that more people enjoy what we do?
hm.. first of all? is there anyone consider themselves as underground and mainstreams artists here? well.. i enjoy papertoys because of the fact that it is cheaper than vinyl.

the main thing is? doesn't it feel great to share what you think is the most fun thing that you've ever made...bout keeping the template for your own?? that's depend on one's personal view..but for me..seeing my design being customized by other artists are the most joyful experience in the paper crafting scene...

I have no comment or critics about selling papertoys, it is up to an individual... just make sure that you have a very good work otherwise, it will degrade you when you're not getting the feedback that you're expected...

well... papertoys is passion to some of us... so do I, and if you guys here happens to think about selling your toys... good luck!!
Dude, it's paper toys. We're never gonna be mainstream... ;-)

I think Regmart means that people are "inspired" by the free templates found online, and (re)use the shapes.
I honestly don't see a big problem with that, as long as you attribute it to and/or get permission from the original artist. (See NiceBunny and Sjors Trimbach for example)

If you look at my Little Devil, for example, I was inspired by the shape of Speakerdog, but because I built on and added the arms and the mouth and stuff like that you probably wouldn't even notice. Still, I had a look at your template to see how it was done.

And I agree with Pain Killah having others customize your work is a lot of fun.
Nope, not like that. mainstream is not that bad. But it seems that the original identity of the artist is replaced or taken by the other who modify the template. Master Shin became one of the victim. It doesn't mean selling out creativity also, but be protective also. Doesn't it feel crap when somebody taken your idea? It's already happened with Shin and Phil. For myself, I created my toys not just for fun sake, I embedded my concept n ideology inside it and I'll feel shit if somebody who ain't share a same vision doing my thingy.
For the regulars on this site, I think you will find that there is already a "Stream" or a like-mindedness in pursuing the fun/art/creativity/challenge/design in papertoys. Most, perhaps not all, do not pursue papertoys to become "Mainstream." It's just that if they do something good, the Stream follows their work.

Plus, look at papertoys like Speakerdog that have provided a cool canvas for art. That's ART! It's putting art into the hands of people who want to appreciate it! That is a really cool luxury that a lot of people don't have access to otherwise! (And as far as art goes, this art can be fun, too.) If it's just something that you make for yourself, it seems more like a shelf decoration than art.

I am grateful to all of those artists and designers who put their craft out there for me to build, because I learn from studying their style, techniques, and then I do my own thing with it, and then people learn from what I've done.
It's interesting to me that you try to make them as durable as possible - I assume this means you only do "one-offs".

I like the idea of the sharing and digital distribution of papercraft - what is ultimately a physical practice and product unlike simply downloading an image or piece of music - it gets the user involved in something creative that is tangible.

When I set about creating Cubeecraft the idea was to keep them as simple as possible (simple cuts, glue-less) and still looking pretty cool (whether or not I succeeded is up to the user I guess, haha) but Cubeecraft toys would probably not look at all like they do now if I was working with another material since the form was dictated by the construction process in many ways.

They are sort of disposable in a way (please recycle your cubee friends when you are done with them!) since they are fairly cheap to produce, and I'd would think most of the fun is in actually building them so if you toss one because you need the shelf space or your cat kills it it's just back to the computer to shoot out another one to build.
Yup, mine is just one-off only. It will be hard for other people to create, I use special paper, acrylic, gel and some other tools. I can't afford to show white edges also so I need to paint them. And to make the toy hard, it needs hours to process. Beside my reason up there, I think it's easier for people to enjoy the finished product rather than buying the template and ruin the toy themselves then sue me later.

But I got nothing to oppose for a shared template, it's the most fun thing ever happened in art world. I just don't hv something simple enough to share, well I'm still conceptualizing it without crashing with my ideology.
This is web 2.0 era, a different way of using the tools, and i think that the 'papertoys' is something beautiful and curious that happened in art and internet. It's not only about the design, paper or creativity; 'sharing' is what makes it so powerful and contemporary, and it could only go in this way, u like it or not. The collective creativity, or collective individualism.
...i know how hard is to get rid off this sense of jealousity when you create something (i'm a painter)...
Money stands in a first row, but here we have this 'economy of zero'.
I have decided for myself to sell my paper toys. Not just a PDF, but a nice printed model, bagged with a headercard. Why?
1 I like to make small production runs
2 Control on how the print will look
3 Options to use funny paper or paint for cool effects
4 My time is to little and precious for just giving my work away

Sure, I still will do some free downloadable toys by myself or with other artists (check the SF series of Thought Processors!).
Let's see how things will go...
Interestingly enough Sjo, we have just today started selling paper toys too, we're selling Speakerdogs that I have customised by hand. I think that's it with all this, to sell toys you have to give people something else, somethign different and something special. Good luck with it!
I am selling my toys this year at an expo, I think that its ok to sell them, aslong as its quality printing, if you were just selling a normal peice of paper with a poorly printed toy on it, thats not worth anything realy.

But if you Use quality photo paper, a proffesional printing service etc then its undestadable that they cost money to make, and can be sold.


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