Popping Up Into New Paltz

Illustrator Robert Sabuda creates 3-D pop-up books.
Illustrator Robert Sabuda creates 3-D pop-up books.

The allure of pop-up art brought faculty, students, mothers and children together outside the Lecture Center to get their books signed by illustrator Robert Sabuda, on Wednesday, April 4.

Sabuda returned to SUNY New Paltz to host a lecture on his life as an illustrator after his first appearance in 2005.

This lecture brought inspiration and gave the audience insight on the world of pop-up books.

“I hope I inspired students to go out there and make something,” Sabuda said. “When was the last time someone actually made something?”

Sabuda’s lecture was sponsored by the Friends of the Sojourner Truth Library, a group of faculty, alumni, community members and students who donate books and materials to the Sojourner Truth Library to benefit the students. Other events that they host include the used book sale and the annual Dennis O’Keefe lectures.

Sabuda graduated from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he studied art. He said he decided he wanted to be a children’s book illustrator after interning with Dial Books for Young Readers. His first successful book was titled “The Christmas Alphabet,” published in 1994.

Attendees had the opportunity to purchase Sabuda’s pop-up books before and after the lecture. Sabuda took time to chat with fans, address their questions and sign copies of his books while stopping to fix minor defects in a few injured copies.

Sabuda explained his design process, which he calls “paper engineering,” during his lecture. He begins with the completion of a manuscript and then gets together with his design team to create a pop-up list.

Library Outreach Coordinator Morgan Gwenwald helps the Friends of the Sojourner Truth Library coordinate events. She said she was on board with having Sabuda come to New Paltz, and was pleased with the outcome.

“Robert Sabuda was a fabulous speaker and successful author,” Gwenwald said. “Everyone from kids to adults could get something out of this.”

Alissa Oko, a graduate student, said she was amazed by Sabuda after attending the lecture with her children’s literature class.

“I did not realize that there was so much you could do with pop-up books,” said Oko. “We thought it would be interesting to come.”

Oko said she ended up purchasing a copy of “Peter Pan” because it was her favorite as a child.

Sabuda said he hopes everyone took something out of this event.

“All I want for a child is to think ‘I want to do that,’” Sabuda said.