I decided to contact several origami experts to get advice about how to improve one’s skill with origami. I received a pretty good response so here is the advice I was given from several highly skilled origami artists.
I did edit some of these replies slightly to fix some grammar and spelling issues since not everyone I contacted spoke English as a first language.
“My advice is to meet other origamists in real life, preferably good ones, to fold with them and to learn from them. The first time I met another origamist I learned a lot. I spent one hour talking to him in his house, we didn’t even fold, but he showed me his works and he gave me advice about papers. Also, origami conventions are cool.”
-Juan Lopez Figueroa
“This is more of a general tip, but i found it very rewarding to try out different forms of origami, like tessellations, modular and others. When i came back to do some representational folding, i found my skills were better. Though this might not work for people, it worked for me. Also, Andrea’s Rose (diagrams on Alex Barber’s site) is great for improving neatness, I found.”
“Before you start designing, you should fold as many designs by others as you can. Pay close attention to every fold and realize its purpose. you should also memorize their methods of folding different parts. I just designed a stag beetle and used Robert Lang’s Kabuto Mushi legs. The results were great! Try different papers and find the different methods and tricks of folding with that paper. Lastly, figure out what papers best suit your tastes and styles of folding.”
“Well i guess it’s like with most other things, in order to get better you simply need to practice. Fold a lot, read literature… there is no magic trick to it. i advice you to fold regularly, if possible everyday. Also read Robert Lang’s “Origami Design Secrets” and read through the section on Robert Langs website called “paper”.”
“What I do to improve is fold lots of crease patterns and fewer diagrams. For me, diagrams are more to improve folding technique, but they don’t give much insight to design. Crease patterns show exactly how paper is allocated, how points are formed, and how these points are all connected together (easily the hardest part of designing is adding creases between points). They also show how to use and incorporate multiple design styles.”
“The only way to get better at origami is to fold carefully and keep at it. Nothing worth learning comes easily.”
“This tip can be applied to anything really, if you can’t fold something try folding another model that is twice as hard… even if you fail. Then go back and try that first model again. I jumped straight into folding Satoshi Kamiya’s Phoenix (also my first crease pattern) and Ancient Dragon because I couldn’t do the Wizard. Now I can do all of them. I apply this also when I dance and other skills in my life.”
“I believe that folding all sorts of models helps. For example try some difficult old diagrams like Kirschenbaum’s Rock Crab to help you in your diagram decription skills, some human figures by Hojyo Takashi to help the finesse of your folding and the ability to lay out crease patterns in the full paper, some tiling and tasselations to help the precision and quality of your folding, and some free folding to explore the techinques you have obtained and to help you build a larger repertoire of moves and effects. I specially like the perfect division of a central point to test out my students when they want to start out with difficult subjects like Lang’s insects and the like, I always say if you can do the perfect division in a central point cleanly you probably have the skills to fold an easy one like the butterfly from Insects 2.”
“I think the best advice I can give is to be patient, keep practicing, try new techniques, and keep pushing yourself to do better in any way possible. And don’t be afraid to take advice from others about how to improve, often times it can be quite helpful.”
Do you have any other great tips about how to improve your origami skills? If so share them in the comments!