If you’re an intermediate to advanced origami folder and you’re looking for a great book full of fish and other sea creatures to fold you’ll definitely want to check out Marine Origami by Joseph Hwang.
For full disclosure Joseph Hwang contacted me and sent me a copy of the book to review.
My first impressions of this book were that it’s super nice and quite high-end looking. It’s a hardcover book, it’s quite thick with 290 pages and everything in the book is in full colour with beautiful photographs of all the models.
The book begins with an introduction about the author and his fascination with marine life followed by a quick section about figurative origami. There’s also some tips about what tools to get and what paper to use and then it jumps right away into the models and diagrams.
There are 26 models in total organized into several categories: cephalopods, mammals, sea turtles, echinoderms, sharks and rays, fish, and crustaceans.
Pretty much all of the models in this book will require you to have at minimum an intermediate level of origami skill and some of them get quite complex. I’d like to say I’m at an intermediate origami skill level and I could probably fold around half the models here.
A few of the fish models are quite simple though and one or two of those may be fine for a beginner.
The rest of the models get pretty complex though and you’re going to need to large paper and a lot of time to make creases and grids.
You can check out photos of the different models in this book along with my comments on each one further down this review.
The diagrams themselves are very detailed and easy to follow. The paper has two colours so you can see which side is which and there are written instructions for all of the more difficult steps. There’s also a crease pattern included for each model. I personally can’t fold things from crease patterns (or really read them to be honest) but I always like seeing each model’s unique pattern.
The book ends with some thoughts and insights about origami design and the process to designing models like the ones you see in this book.
Overall if you love origami and you’re looking to fold more marine themed models you can’t go wrong with this book and I’d highly recommend it. As a bonus, since it’s such a nice looking book itself it would make a fantastic coffee table book or look great displayed on a shelf.
Where to get it:
For more of Joseph Hwang’s work:
This is a pretty neat little squid design. It’s simple and minimalistic yet very squid like and I like the curves.
This is another really unique and minimalistic design that I really like. The folding difficulty is definitely an increase here though.
A very cool Octopus design that looks very organic and life-like. It’s got 8 legs that you can pose however you want.
This is a very nice little 3D model. The little mini tentacle spikes are a nice touch.
This is an absolutely fantastic orca model that looks amazing with black and white paper. It’s also not too difficult to fold.
This is a very solid beluga design that’s also not too difficult to fold.
Another excellent design that’s not too difficult to fold. I especially like the details on the head like the mouth, eyes and those front flippers.
Seal Lion Pup
This model is absolutely adorable. It’s got a very nice 3D shape and the colour change on the eyes is awesome.
Green Sea Turtle Hatchling
This is one of the best sea turtle designs I’ve seen and has that same minimalistic style that you see throughout a lot of the models in this book that I really like. It’s also not too difficult to fold.
Another fantastic sea turtle design but much more difficult when compared the the previous design.
Sea Turtle Shell
The shapes and lines that make up the shell on this sea turtle are really cool. At first I thought it was crazy difficult but you basically just pre-crease the shell shapes and then follow the steps from the previous model for the rest.
A solid starfish design. It’s very cool how a single square of paper can end up in a 5-pointed star shape like this.
I really love this minimalistic stingray design and it’s not too hard to fold either.
Great White Shark
This is one of the best Great White Shark designs I’ve see without being crazily complex. I really like the gills, those are a nice touch.
Another really great shark design with a bit of a different shape than the previous model.
This is a fairly simple great little fish design.
This is probably the simplest model in the book and is a great little fish that even a beginner could probably fold.
Another excellent and fairly easy fish design.
This model looks pretty simple but it’s actually a lot more complicated than than the previous fish models.
This is very similar to the previous angelfish model and starts with the same base.
This is a really great 3D model.
This is another excellent fish design that’s not too difficult.
This is one of the best seahorse designs I’ve seen out there. It looks fairly simple but it’s actually quite complex once you see the diagrams.
A fantastic tuna design with lots of little details like the tiny spikes and fins over the body.
Giant Sea Bass
I think the coolest part of this model is probably seeing the diagrams where you fold a giant grid which later turns into this fish.
This is a really cool crab design but it’s definitely not easy.