Sketchbook Story :: Mary Beth Cryan

Mary Beth a.k.a. “The Princess of Pop-up” is an amazing paper engineer and illustrator to boot. Her career path is quite serendipitous. She studied illustration at Syracuse and after graduating she worked at a few different companies designing products in the home goods and children’s toys market.

…AND then everything changed, when she happened upon a book about designing pop-up cards. From that point on the entire direction of her career changed course. She spend the next year learning the craft and mustering up enough freelance work to quit her toy designing job. Mary Beth has been working as a freelance illustrator with a specialty in paper engineering ever since!! 6 years and counting :-)

Mary Beth has engineered and illustrated pop-up cards, books, and paper craft kits for many companies including the MoMA, American Girl, Barnes and Noble, Ladybug Magazine, Highlights High Five, and many, many more :-)

Here is Mary Beth’s Sketchbook Story ::

MC: Art has always been a passion of mine. I am very lucky to have supportive parents who are also in the field of art (my mom was as an elementary school art teacher and my dad is a professional photographer) .  As a child I would ask for and receive many various types of craft kits every year for my birthday and Christmas. I’ve done almost every craft that exists from mosaics, to tissue paper flowers, to pot holder loops, to crochet, to rubber stamps, and origami. Illustrated papercraft is the perfect mix of my training as an illustrator, my love of crafting, and my business experience as a toy/product designer.

 MC: I’m very inspired by fashion. My favorite designers use a lot of bright unusual color combinations, interesting shapes and bold patterns. They include Marc Jacobs, Viktor and Rolf, Miuccia Prada, and Dries Van Noten. I love bright colors from growing up in the 80′s. :)   I like very clean design so I am naturally drawn towards the patterns of Scandinavian design.  I include a lot of patterns in my work.

 MC: Here are some of my initial sketches:

MC: Then I built the shapes out of cardstock and drew directly onto the models.  Here I’ve scanned them in.

MC: I then draw them again in Adobe Illustrator right into the dielines.

MC: And here is the final product.  You can buy them here!! Here’s where you can find Marybeth Cryan ::

   website ::

        blog ::

Share your thoughts