A Tribute: Origami Penguin (Design by Eric Joisel)

Penguin (Design by Eric Joisel)
Penguin (Design by Eric Joisel)

With great sadness the Origami world came to know of Eric Joisel’s passing away on October 10th, 2010.

Monsieur Eric Joisel was known for his intricate depiction of figures from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, his dwarf, mermaid, the cute little rat which almost all of us have folded, and a variety of other great models which he designed and folded over many many years. This is excerpt of his biography from his website:

Eric Joisel was born on November 15, 1956. He passed away from lung cancer on October 10, 2010 surrounded by his family and close friends.

Eric began drawing and sculpting when he was seventeen years-old. He started creating origami in 1983 and four years later, had his first exhibit in the Espace Japon Paris. Eric became a professional origami artist in 1992.

He had the magic touch of transforming paper into magnificent designs which he breathed life into through expressions and life like features. His work such as the characters from Commedia dell’Arte (which literally translated means ‘Comedy of Art’) are based on figures depicting the deadly sins (Laziness, Lust, Anger, Vanity and Pride)and are truly one piece wonders along with his work – Musicians – which depict his technique of sculpting, and curved creases.

Penguin (Design by Eric Joisel)
Penguin (Design by Eric Joisel)

His other works include the Barbarians – which are models based on Box-Pleating and are highly complex along with his older work such as the famous Gnome, Seahorse, Horse Head, African Mask, Colombine with a Rose, and much more.

Eric Joisel does not have any of his diagrams published but a few of them have made their way to Tanteidan Convention Books such as the Rat, Yellow Fish and Aberdeen in the Origami 10th Convention book, and his diagrams for the Cat and the Dwarf (only the base, though) in the Origami 13th Convention Book.

This great Origami artist was also a part of the documentary – Between the Folds – which chronicles the stories of 10 fine artists and intrepid theoretical scientists along with their great work. A brief interview of him and catalog of his work can be viewed in this video snippet below:

Outtakes from Jamie Kelley on Vimeo.

Those who have had the privilege of meeting and talking to him have mentioned that Eric Joisel had a great sense of humor and was known for his quick wit. Nick Robinson has penned a beautiful tribute to this great man which you can read here.

Folding Eric Joisel’s Penguin:
I decided to fold Eric Joisel’s 3D Penguin as a way to pay my respect to this great artist. Paper the World – which is a project dedicated to spreading simple origami of models that focus on endangered animal species – has shared this very detailed instructional video on folding Eric Joisel’s Penguin. This video shows Joseph Wu explaining the folding process. You will also find the link to the PDF diagram on the same page, in case you prefer following diagrams instead of instructional videos.

Do visit Eric Joisel’s website which has been recently revamped to pay your respects and browse through his magnificent work.

Farewell Monsieur Eric Joisel, you will be missed greatly…