An interview with Marilyn Scott-Waters, the creator behind The Toymaker: Paper Toys That You Can Make Yourself
Conducted by a Polar Bear named Puck.
Puck the Polar Bear - So how did you get started in Paper Modeling?
Marilyn - Well, I've always liked making things and doing cut and paste as a kid. In fifth grade I made a diorama out of a refrigerator box, which was great fun to make but I had a heck of a time dragging it home. About five years ago I started working at home and making little peep boxes, paper pop-up cards and toys in my spare time. Then I would literally stuff them in a bag in the closet where they weren't doing anyone any good. So last year when my husband asked me what I would like for an anniversary present I asked for web hosting so I could build a website to allow people to download the paper toys.
Puck the Polar Bear - Are there Polar Bears on your website?
Marilyn - Yes, there is a Polar Bear wagon that is pretty popular. There are about a hundred or so paper toys on my website: www.thetoymaker.com. I've lost count. There is a holiday page that I keep adding to as the seasons change. It's been interesting to watch the website grow. I've had over 135,000 visitors to the site in the first year and a growing mailing list. It's been very fun! I've also been lucky enough to meet a lot of interesting people like Mike Chthulhu Hungerford from the Smartgroups paper model list. He was kind enough to test all the toys from my book. Having a real live book printed with an ISBN number and everything was a big step. I waited until I could have it printed on heavy matte paper in full color in a 12 1/4" x 9 1/4" format. It is available on Amazon.com at Amazon.com: Books: The Toymaker: Paper Toys That You Can Make Yourself.
Puck the Polar Bear - Where do you get your ideas? I bet you get a lot of ideas from watching Polar Bears.
Marilyn - My studio has a lot of old children's books plus shelves of books on the Arts and Crafts movement and other art subjects. Usually I'll think of some shape or box and then figure out how to fit it in to whatever theme or holiday I'm working on. Sometimes I'll just doodle a picture and then think of how to use it later. Everything I do is pretty fanciful, so it's not like the designs need to be historically accurate. I do take digital photos of things (like Polar Bears) for reference when I need to. I create the artwork by scanning a pencil sketch into Adobe PhotoShop where I apply the colors in layers. Then I assemble the design in Adobe Illustrator for the lettering. When the design is ready to print I move the whole file back into Photoshop to make a 133dpi PDF file.
Puck the Polar Bear - How did your new book get to be Polar Bear approved?
Marilyn - Ummmm. You liked it? Also the toys have to be easy enough for Polar Bears to make. One of my guidelines is Not a paper clock, that is to say I work very hard at making the models easy enough for kids to figure out with a little adult supervision or easy enough for an adult to put together with a little kid supervision. My goal is to help grown-ups and kids spend time together making things. In our house we have Monday Model Nightwhere we sit around the kitchen table after dinner and make models. It's a special time we all look forward to.
Puck the Polar Bear So what does A Bree Dairy Ate Oh Bleck Tarry mean? Is cheese involved?
Marilyn Do you mean "Abrideri et Oblectare"? That is my motto and means To Amuse and Delight in Latin. I put a little Toymaker mark on all my toys.
Puck the Polar Bear - What is your favorite kind of airplane?
Marilyn - My favorite airplane is whichever one I happen to be riding on that is going someplace interesting.
Puck the Polar Bear - Will there be more Polar Bears in your next book?
Marilyn - There might be a few! The book I am working on right now is about two otters that have to travel to the town of Merry-Go-Round to pick up a Seahorse Carousel. There will be a Flying Fish Car, a train and a truck and of course a carousel. It's a chance to do more planes, trains and automobiles than I have in the past.
Puck the Polar Bear - That's all the questions I can think ofcan I have some tuna now?
Marilyn - Not a problem. Let's go see what's in the kitchen.
Marilyn Scott-Waters is a graphic designer, author and illustrator with a bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of California at Irvine. Her studies also included Elementary Art Education. Ms. Scott-Waters resides in Costa Mesa, California.
Puck the Polar Bear is a stuffed bear that lives in the Toymaker's workshop. He spends his time upsetting gluepots, licking stamps and eating herring.