An Origami Man with a Guitar

Written by RussellIntermediate, People


Andres Segovia (Origami Man with a Guitar) by Neal Elias

“All music is folk music. I ain’t never heard a horse sing a song.”

-Louis Armstrong

Origami’s golden age?

Sometimes I think origami is going through something of a golden age. There are more people taking up origami than ever before, there are more models to fold than ever, and folding instructions are much more accessible. This is partly down to the internet. It’s brought origami to the attention of people across the world, unearthing new talents and leading to the discovery of new folding techniques along the way.

Models of ever-increasing complexity, detail, and realism are produced every year. Trying to decide what to fold next, you sometimes feel like a kid in a sweet shop. YouTube has created an almost entirely new way of engaging with origami – a massive library of easy to follow instruction videos.

The result of all this is that people getting into origami today have a huge array of models to fold and a wide range of ways of accessing them (including this website, and my book Origami Made Simple), far more than was available even ten to twenty years ago.

The downside of this huge explosion of origami is that some wonderful older models could get forgotten, lost among the dragons, phoenixes, pegasuses (pegasi?), unicorns, and insects that are popular today. That would be a shame. Every now and again, I try to focus on a model that I think doesn’t get the recognition it deserves and should be remembered. Neal Elias designed quite a lot of models that you don’t see people folding any more, including this model of Andres Segovia.

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Origami Man with a Guitar….Andres Who?

At the serious risk of displaying my ignorance, the first time I came across this model, I had no idea who Andres Segovia was. I had to look him up. One of the world’s most influential classical guitarists apparently. Even though I’m not enough of a guitar aficionado to know who the model is dedicated to, I think this is a very strong model of an origami man with a guitar.

The origami designs that appeal to me the most are the ones that embody an action or emotion. This is something that Elias excelled at with designs like The Last Waltz, Llopio’s Moment of Truth, Siesta, and this origami man and a guitar – Andres Segovia. The model has such a natural pose, with the legs crossed, head at an angle, and the position of the guitar, that the figure really does look like he’s playing. It is a wonderfully expressive design.

Folding the model

If you’ve folded one of Neal Elias’s human figure models before, you’ll recognise the basic construction of this design. It’s a one-piece box-pleated model folded from a rectangle, with an Elias Figure Base at one end to create the man and the other end for the seat.

It’s not a particularly difficult model to fold, but I’d rate it as high intermediate just because of one step. This is where the model becomes 3D and the man adopts a seated position. It’s probably the most important step in the whole folding sequence. This is a crimp through all the layers, and there is a risk the paper will tear at the base of the figure’s spine if you are not very careful.

Choosing the right paper for this model is important to reduce the risk of it ripping. You need something that is quite thin as there are a lot of layers, but the paper also needs to be quite robust. Lokta backed with tissue paper would work well, or home-made tissue foil. The one in the picture is made from biotope (pictured below), bought from here.

The original rectangle was 60cm x 20cm (24in x 8in) and the final model stands 10cm (4in) tall, 7cm (2.75in) wide, and 5cm (2in) deep. It took me about an hour to fold this. You’ll need to allow time after completing the folding sequence for shaping, particularly around the arms and legs.

Pack #1 Biotope - Extra large

Instructions for Neal Elias’s Andres Segovia

Diagrams for this model are available in the book The Origami of Neal Elias, which is available from the British Origami Society through Amazon here. This is one of the best books in my collection, and if you’re looking for more models by Elias, this is the perfect place to start. This collection also includes The Last Waltz, a Boy on a Rocking Horse, and Llopio’s Moment of Truth, previously featured here.

Get Involved

I’d love to hear your views on this origami Andres Segovia model.  Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments below, or you find can me on Instagram or Twitter. Check out my Pinterest boards too!


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About the Author


Russell has been folding origami since he was 8 years old and has recently written the book, Origami Made Simple. He is on the Council for the British Origami Society and a member of OrigamiUSA. When he is not folding, he enjoys photography and traveling.

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