These days I hardly fold any origami, but when I do, it's usually from either of the books Origami Art or Advanced Origami, both by Michael G. Lafosse & Richard L. Alexander from their Origamido Studio. Their designs have this elegance and beauty that attract me, and leaves me satisfied when I am able to reproduce part of that beauty with my own hands.
So when I offered to fold a present for a friend, I asked him to choose from those books. He picked their Humpback Whale.
Elephanthide paper, wet-folded
Folding this reminded me of my fascination with whales - one of my dreams is to watch a whale leap out of the ocean and crash back in, at (relatively) close range. That would be like an encounter with a god of the seas.
Perhaps my obsession with the form of the whale was what forced another attempt after the first version I folded from kami:
This 25cm x 25cm kami came from Daiso at $2 a pack, and I don't think I'll use it much more. The paper isn't exactly square, and heavily creased areas are prone to tear and shed color. Dissatisfied with the result, I found some leftover elephanthide at home in roughly the right color, and made what I hope is a better version. However, the color change was lost, and some details (like the pleats in the lower jaw and general body shape) had to be sculpted by wet-folding.
At the OUSA 2011 Convention I learned to fold Daniel Robinson's Humpback Whale, and i loved it so much that I folded it many times during the flight back home. I guess I love whales too much.
Step 15 of the diagrams shaped the upper jaw of the whale using a curved depression, quite standard. Daniel Robinson's whale used that too, but its lower jaw closes from the outside of the upper jaw, whereas the lower jaw of Lafosse & Alexander's whale sprouts from within the upper jaw. This causes the latter whale's lower jaw to appear trapped behind the curved depression. I didn't like that, and strangely the sample whale photo attached to Lafosse & Alexander's whale diagrams used a sort of swivel fold instead of the curved depression. Eventually I copied their method in my grey rendition.
The photos in the slideshow show a grey whale against a white background - what background color should I have used to hint at an aquatic environment? I tried a few blues, but they didn't mesh well with the grey subject.