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Daily Challenge Part 1 (0-6)

I joined another origami Discord server beside Origami-Dan, and it is called Origami Design School. I will just call it DS for short. It focuses on design aspect and less about fold, material, and other stuff.

One of the main activity in DS will be daily design challenge. Each day there will be a prompt, typically a word, and we have to design something that has something to do with it. For example, if the prompt is "fish" then we need to design & fold any kind of fish. It has to be new design, and delivered within the day.

I was sceptical if this would do any good. All this time it took me several days to design one model. If it's cut into just a day, the result won't be decent. However the discussion mentioned that the goal is to keep us practicing constantly, which in turn making us sharper in design. Hmmmm I'm still not really convinced but will give it a try.

Later on, the daily challenge was made into every other day. This relaxed my mind a bit, but still it was tough. As I made more designs, I started to feel more confident in it. It took me less time to realize what's on my mind into crease pattern. Sometimes I can just close my eyes when taking shower and imagining the paper being folded to create my design. I guess after several time composing traditional bases, grafts, or pleats in the paper, our brain gets better at it. It is similar with programming, where initially beginner would struggle to write code and constantly need to test; but with experience one can code on top of paper with little effort.

I felt that some of my designs are worthy to be made into final fold, while the others are just wacky. Nevertheless I will start sharing my creation on this design challenge every 2 weeks, meaning there will be 7 designs per post. I will explain the design process, hopefully it is insightful for someone who is learning origami design.

#0 Chicken: Silkie

Silkie is a breed of chicken whose feather is white and fluffy. All other parts of its body is black. Oddly, it has 5 toes on each legs.

I wanted to try Kanokoya style, which is allegedly made by freefolding with 22.5° constraint. I planned which points of the paper will became which flap, and started to improvise the folding. In the end I got this weird base which sort of works.

#1 Ghost: Headless Horse

This is the ghost from one of the episode in old anime called "Ghost at School". That episode was the spookiest to me as a kid.

I just need 4 flaps which is separated by river. Silver rectangle suited my purpose, and this model was straightforwardly done. I didn't like the wasted corners and thought of using it for something else. In the end I could only use it for color changed hooves.

#2 Fish: Garden Eel Colony

I had a weird dream about this creature the day before, so I tried to make this garden eel. It is a colony of eels that burrow on sand, with their head sticking out of it and look for something to eat. They do social distancing very well.

The eels are thin. I hate doing sink in and out to thin flap and prefer to just go for box pleating. The plan was to make 3 eels using the 3 corners, and reserve the last corner for the substrate. It wasn't straightforward and I had to fiddle around the paper to come up with this structure. I started using 8×8 grid and come up with the basic structure (without eyes). Once working, I scaled it to 16×16 and added the eyes. I could make mouths, but I errornously folded the eels upside down so the mouth flap is in the forehead. I was anyway happy with the result, it's rare for me to make something unusual like this.

#3 Christmas: Cookie

I don't know a lot about Christmas, but I heard that family would leave cookies and milk for Santa.

I just need a bunch of flaps to make dots, similar to how I did it on my frigate bird. Windmill base could work, but I wanted to make something more innovative, something like pentagon/hexagon version of windmill base.

In the end windmill base is still the best. The choco chip was made by pleating the flap, squash the top and pull the layer out. Repeat this with irregular pleat size and position to get choco chip cookie. 

#4 Rodent: Naked Mole-Rat

This creature is unusual, it lives in eusocial colony like bees or ants. There is a queen for each colony and workers.

I wanted to use 22.5° for fauna model like this. So I started with the head, using one long flap to represent incisors, eyes, and ears. It was purely freefolded. I got a working configuration, and started to extend the base for body. I was planning for more customized 22.5° base but couldn't find one. The problem is I wanted the creature's torso to be seamless, from head to tail. This left me no choice but to put legs under the tail, and the classic quadruped animal's base was naturally formed. This base was used in my palm civet, as well as frequently seen in other designer's model. I've seen several Quentin Trollip's and one Kanokoya's model with it.

There are 3 flaps that got unused, and they are on each non-head corners. I feel guilty for wasting them but I can't think of better solution. If you can offer better solution I am happy to hear about it.

#5 Bird: Roadrunner Eating Lizard

Initially I wanted to make vulture or condor. When searching for it, somehow I ended up looking for desert birds and roadrunner came out. Just making roadrunner wouldn't be so innovative because it is straightforward: just make bird base with border grafts for toes.

However I found many pictures of this bird running with lizard on its beak. Apparently it is common for it to run while eating something. That reminds me of S├ębastien Limet's "A King's Feast", which is a kingfisher eating fish. So what if I made it just like that? With half lizard dangling from the beak. 

I used the bird base with border graft for toes, and allocate the grafted corner for upper beak, lower beak, and lizard. The lizard will be the longest so I put in in the corner. This caused a bit issue because the upper and lower beak is not aligned vertically, but rather horizontally. I did a test fold and apparently it is easily solvable by rearranging some layers. No mush involved!

I arranged the flap for lizard similarly with how I made my greater bird of paradise. There are 3 toes for each legs, which isn't accurate since lizard has 5 toes. I didn't want to rearrange the base to support 5 toes so I'll live with it.

The main bird base is stretched using Tetsuya Gotani's technique. This yields longer neck and tail, and shorter legs.

Since the design kind of looking good, I decided to fold with better paper. Hence the better model quality above.

#6 Poisonous: Poison Dart Frog

I anticipated someone will say "hey that thing is not poisonous, it is venomous!" so I better make something legit poisonous. In case you don't know, venomous means if the creature bit you, you got poisoned; whereas poisonous means if you bit the creature, you got poisoned. Snake and spider are usually venomous, while lion fish and puffer fish are poisonous. In the end no one said that though.

What's on top of my mind was poison dart frog. This type of frog is aposematic, meaning they possess bright & wacky color to warn predators that they are poisonous. It would be cool to make frog model with color changed patches, since I've never seen one.

I reused the half bird half frog base I used for my frog on top of lily pad model. Instead of grafting it, I rotated it to fit in the paper with excess papers all over the sides. This technique is explained by Jun Maekawa in his book "Genuine Origami". Three of the excess corners can be rabbit-eared and opened into color-changed spots, while the remaining corner became head to cover the seams underneath. This design has potential to be improved, say, by grafting the frog diagonally to form toes. That would be exercise for another day.


In this period I almost always stick to the animal subject, which is what I am most comfortable with. On next one, I will start to venture to non animal subjects. Thank you for reading!


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