How did you get better?

General discussion about Origami, Papers, Diagramming, ...

How did you get better?

Postby noob » March 20th, 2008, 4:49 pm

So i'm new to this forum and was curious about something.
All you origamians that are super awesome and stuff and can fold kamiya's stuff and other insane stuff, how long have you been folding and how did you get better with origami?
Did you take lessons with someone, talk to people, or just fold more and more things?

I'm wondering because i really want to be able to fold animals well, but i can't and was wondering how others progressed and got better.
I think i'm pretty good with modulars but not so good with animals.


Also do you think printer paper is good to fold animals with?

Thanks
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Postby JeossMayhem » March 20th, 2008, 5:20 pm

Really, practice is all it takes. Check out origami books from the library and buy the ones you like. Start off easy and work your way further once you've got all the basics down. Nobody gets proficient in just a few days. It just takes experience and persistance.

And as you'll notice in this forum, printer paper is usually good for practice but not much else. It's a bit thick for some things and doesn't shape well unless the model is fairly simple and doesn't photograph well. However, for sure, it's a cheap alternative if you're just testing some diagrams out before making your masterpiece from more expensive, higher quality paper. Printer paper is a good place to start if you can't find pre-cut squares of Japanese kami or foil at any art supply stores. Another upside is it helps when you're practing learning from crease patterns since you can just print it out on your sheet, instead of finding references.

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Postby noob » March 20th, 2008, 5:42 pm

thanks JeossMayhem.
i've got plenty of books, and i can do all the folds but it just doesn't look good in the end. but i'll mess with other papers i guess. How many years have you been folding?
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Postby mrsriggins » March 20th, 2008, 6:55 pm

Try using kami (origami paper) and experiment with papers. Some models look better when folded with thicker paper others thin. Once you know how to fold a model fold it again focusing on being very precise with the folds and it should come out looking less messy. The more you fold the more you understand. You're not going to pick up origami for the first time and tackle a kamiya model. It takes practice and understanding of origami- all the steps and how they work. The more diagrams you look at and fold the clearer it becomes. The internet is such a wonderful thing for origami because there are soooo many free models. Also take full advantage of this forum. People love to help. There also a wealth of learning on here from paper to cp's to wet folding- there's a bit of everything so take advantage of the search function on this site for questions you might have too! Happy folding :)
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Postby JeossMayhem » March 20th, 2008, 7:40 pm

I've been folding on and off for about a decade now, usually in the summers when I don't have school. There's people here that have been folding waaay longer than that though. It's nice to have a wide range of skill levels here so there's always people to learn from or admire.
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Postby origamimasterjared » March 21st, 2008, 2:22 am

Fifteen years of practice. I joined the origami email list six or seven years ago. From there I learned about and started going to local clubs. I also had little competitions with Jason Ku before he got really good. Went to the PCOC 2003 convention, where I was critiqued by Joseph Wu and Robert Lang about what was right and wrong with my work (bad paper). Saw what was right with theirs, and have been working to improve ever since.

My advice: Use commercial store-bought origami paper and commercial origami foil (Japanese foil) for practice (foil for more complex/layers origami). Anything that is not becoming a display piece is practice. Then get into the good stuff. More on that later....
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Postby klnothincomin » March 21st, 2008, 2:26 am

Well, I started folding when I was five, and I just kept trying many different models, and they all got more complex. I started folding a simple crane, and now I folded Kamiya's Ancient Dragon! It is surprising what you can fold as long as you try, I mean, I am only thirteen, and I still have many years of folding ahead of me!
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Postby Ondrej.Cibulka » March 21st, 2008, 8:14 am

We have one fold adage in the Czech republic: "Repetition is mother of the wisdom." When you learning writing, you write hundreds of each letter. If you will fold hundreds of ancient dragons, you will be the best (but only with ancient dragons).
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Postby xaoslord » March 21st, 2008, 3:38 pm

I'll let you know when I get better... [-o<
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Postby Jonnycakes » March 21st, 2008, 5:58 pm

as Ondrej.Cibulka said, repitition is key. I folded from diagrams for many years, and that helped me a lot. That is where you learn how to do a lot of different folds, what result they have, and how certain appendages/parts of animals/etc. can be represented through origami. I personally advanced my skills a lot (though I wasn't purposely folding for that purpose) by folding from "Origami Sea Life" by Lang and Montroll. I folded just about everything in that book, many of them several times. That book is wonderful-it has models of every difficulty and they are all very good-it is great for the advancing folder.
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Postby HankSimon » March 21st, 2008, 6:58 pm

1. Buy some inexpensive, commercial origami from a craft store. I think you might get 100 sheets of kami from MJ Design for ~ $7USD.
2. Slowly learn how to make very precise, sharp creases. The more precise you are early in the sequence, the better the model at the end.
3. Get practice with lots of styles, but let frustrating models rest, while you go to other models. Then come back. Lots of us have timeout baskets of unfinished models that we keep returning to, as our skills grow. Both Akira Yoshizawa and Robert Lang have remarked that some of their models took 25 years (!) to perfect. So patience is important.
4. Determine which models, animals, authors that you like, and try to become an expert in those areas. That approach will give you motivation to develop deep expertise will help you grow with other styles.
5. If you have the opportunity, then teach. You will gain much insight.


I proposal a non-rigorous sequence of skills:
1. Folding technique,
2. Understanding bases and folding sequences,
3. Reading diagrams and CPs,
4. Understanding design principles,
5. Designing,
6. Designing complex or elegant models,
7. Designing foldable designs,
8. Diagramming,
9. Teaching

I believe there are subskills - like wet-folding, and photographing etc. - but I believe these 9 steps offer a manageable path to improving your skills to whatever level. And you can link these skills to books or models.
(BTW, I have been folding for a very long time, but I don't yet design or diagram.)

I like the very old books by Harbin and Randlett for learning the techniques, bases, and sequences. Robert Lang's Origami Design Secrets is important to have. It is tremendously advanced, but is very accessible as a reference source to beginners. Peter Engel's Origami from Angelfish to Zen is good for Origami concepts from a different perspective. Montroll has lots of books for all level of folders.

I like to go to the library and look at the Origami books. And sometimes in a bookstore, I have purchased a book for just one model that I liked.

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Postby Cupcake » March 21st, 2008, 10:00 pm

Heres my way, in three easy steps:

Step 1: Fold models from diagrams from easy to intermediate to complex at about four models a day for 3 months
Step 2: Figure out how to fold from CPs while folding models from diagrams, starting with simple and boxpleating, to hard and non boxpleating. Again, about four models a day for 3 months will do fine.
Step 3: Use your experience with the techniques from all those models to design your own models. Do as many as you like, but don't do too crazy. Begin with simple models, and work your way up to harder ones. Maybe start with boxpleating until you get the feel for designing from CPs, then move on to other ways of designing.

And there you have it. Thats pretty much how I got to where I am now. Now if only I could find some better paper #-o
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Postby malachi » March 21st, 2008, 10:23 pm

Folding from CP and designing are totally optional, just as learning to play by ear and compose are optional for playing music.

Practice is the only requirement if you want to improve your skills.
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Postby origamimasterjared » March 22nd, 2008, 3:15 am

Fold slowly. Don't try to race. Fold neatly and carefully. If you rush, you are more likely to be inaccurate and/or damage the paper. Complex works should take hours to fold. I generally spend 2-3 hours just normally folding with plain origami paper/foil. Display pieces can easily take ten hours if you include paper preparation and finishing touches.

If you're impatient, DO NOT fold things built on a large grid or that depend on a very finicky set of reference points. A tiny inaccuracy and your model can be ruined before you even get to the real folding. Try splitting up your time for folding. I usually find I can't put the paper down, and try to finish the entire thing in one sitting. If it's something with a lot of precreasing, try breaking it up into at least two periods--one for precreasing, and one for folding. Take breaks. Go drink some water, eat, and wash your hands. Sweat is really bad for folding (No, it is not the poor man's wetfolding.)
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Postby noob » March 22nd, 2008, 6:13 am

Thanks everyone for all of your responses. i'll try and glean what i can from all of the information.
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