Behind the Scenes of the Bouncer Paper Toy

I have always wanted to make my own toys. Ever since my early days as a fresh faced boy in elementary school this has been a dream. As a child, there was nothing quite like getting a new toy. The feel of plastic, the wonderment of imagination, and the hours of play that would ensue. The idea of creating my own toy was dream that has followed me around like a loyal dog, a constant companion.

When starting Sotare again, I knew I wanted to incorporate more of my cartoon style drawings. I wanted the brand as a whole to reflect me as a person and the things I genuinely am passionate about and am in to. I really wanted to make a series of collectable toys- and making a paper toy was one way this could be possible.

I first learned about paper toys in the now defunct magazine Antenna. There was an article about Shin Tanaka and his wonderful paper toys. I was amazed at the art he was able to create using paper. His shapes were great and the design work was flawless.

The Bouncer toy began as a sketch on a blank sheet of paper. I sketched out how the paper toy would look from the front, as well as the sides. There were guestimations for the shape of the unfolded paper. I never made a paper toy before, none the less designed my very own template. A series of trial and error would ensue.


Next, I began drawing out the pattern on the computer. This was done using line tool and manipulating square shapes. After getting the initial form down, I printed off the design and begin to fold it.

Computer Drawing

After seeing the toy in real 3D shape, I took a marker and drew a rough sketch of my design. Seeing the 3D shape also helped me to fine tune the toy. As it was, the body looked more like a squirrel or kangaroo mouse than an actual kangaroo. The feet were not wide enough, and the head needed to be shaped differently.

First Attempt

The shape also reminded me of a bunny, so with Easter around the corner I decided to finish this version of the toy as a blue bunny.

Bunny Version

I then went back to the computer to adjust the design. I made the feet wider and reshaped the head. The tail was also designed, based on the Sotare kangaroo icon. It was at this point in time that the box was also designed.

Kangaroo 1

Putting the box together with the newest version of the toy was exciting. Things were finally beginning to take shape! I was filled with the joy of a five year old opening his first Christmas present.  After seeing the box and this version of the toy, I decided it was time to finish drawing the Bouncer cartoon character. I wanted the drawing to resemble the paper toy, and wanted the design of the paper toy to look like the drawing.

Adrian with Test V2

Once the drawing was finished, I then took his nose, eyes and hair, and put them on the paper toy. With this rendering, the toy was almost complete. There were a few things that needed to be adjusted with the head to give us what we now have as the official Bouncer paper toy.

Finished Bouncer

I am very proud with how well the paper toy has turned out.

Adrian with Finished Bouncers

A dream fulfilled… for now.

Start to Finish

-Adrian Black