5 Lessons from Creating “The Freedom Trail Pop Up Book”

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About Denise D. Price: Having seen twenty countries on five continents, Denise has a certified case of wanderlust. Inspiring a love of history, architecture, and world culture, her travels have been a major influence on how she views the world, reacts, interacts, designs and breathes.

Denise was introduced to the paper arts over twenty years ago at a summer arts intensive. And her passion for the paper was stoked and has burned ever since. Holding an MBA in International Business, she combines her astuteness for business and her eye for detail to create marketable and interesting art.

Last month I launched a Kickstarter Campaign for “The Freedom Trail Pop Up Book” (CLICK HERE to see the campaign). Since then I’ve been talking a lot about why I created the book. But it’s not just the why that’s important, but the HOW.

Almost 5 years ago I visited Boston as a tourist. I walked The Freedom Trail and I was so inspired by its history and beauty that I needed to take a piece home to share it. Being a pop-up book collector of sorts (they were my souvenir of choice on any trip I took) I began searching for a Freedom Trail Pop Up Book. When my search came up empty I began searching for ANY Boston pop up book, but alas, I found NONE! (With some online research I found one had been created about Fenway Park, but it’s now out of print and a collectors’ item.) When I moved to neighboring Cambridge, MA later that year I decided that I would create a Boston pop-up book that captured the heart and legacy of the city. So of course, The Freedom Trail would be my subject.

But I was not a historian. Or a paper-engineer (the official designation for people who create pop-ups). Or a professional illustrator. Or a writer. I had a lot to learn!

Here are 5 of the biggest lessons I learned in pursuit, creation, and production of this book.

  1. How to cut, fold, score, manipulate and glue paper to create 3 dimensional shapes. I learned to become a paper engineer and the practical applications of geometric concepts like angles, planes, parallel lines, polygons and their properties along with perimeter, area and volume.  For the first time in my life (sad, isn’t it?) I actually put into practical use trigonometry and the necessity of pi (3.14159).

  2. How to mass produce something. If you ever want to go in to product design of any kind, this is a huge undertaking! I had to learn the economics of mass producing a book with materials readily available on the open market, in a size acceptable for printing at a low cost, and that would fit the “average” die cut machines on the market, mostly overseas. After THAT, I had to find a production house who would take on the project and negotiate with them about cost, production, and shipping.

  3. To appreciate and spot significant architectural details and elements of the historic buildings in Boston. I can no longer approach a building without appreciating the symmetry of the windows, the style of dormers or looking from the corner of my eye for the cornerstone.

  4. Embarking on a passion project is hard work. This may seem obvious, but until you do it yourself, you have no idea how hard it can be.  For this book I had to commit countless (seriously, I stopped counting) hours to historic research, visiting the Freedom Trail sites, studying the buildings, and of course creating the pop-ups, illustrations, and text for the book.  All of that was very hard. And then I had to figure out how to actually get the book made. That may be the hardest part. Fundraising is a huge undertaking that has lots of challenges. And, along the way, I’ve had to endure lots of rejection (mostly from publishers) and naysayers. Sometimes it seemed like finishing may not be worth all of the work. BUT…

  5. Some people really care. I have found immense kindness and genuine interest in the project from so many wonderful people along The Freedom Trail. At times, I have been overwhelmed by their continued support of the book, even though it took so long to create.  They never forgot about me and would check in periodically on the progress. Now through Kickstarter I see there’s also support for the book across the country and internationally. It’s very exciting to see something I worked so intensely for finally coming to life with engaged support!

I’d love to be able to share the book with you too – so please CLICK HERE to see our Kickstarter video and funding page. You can pre-order your copy of the book for only $45 and there are lots of other rewards for pledges large and small.

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