Circus Chapito was entirely handcrafted out of paper and took us nearly 5 years to finish. When we started the graphic design studio beshart back in 2008, we decided not to work for customers on Fridays. Instead, we would work on more personal projects. This would enable us to go beyond the restrictions of client briefs and push our limits. Creative Friday was born.

As a result of these creative sessions Circus Chapito was born. It really is a special circus: all the artists are animals and it’s made entirely out of paper. We set up different scenes and made lots of photos.

A selection of 50 of those pictures was then sent to several children’s book publishers, hoping they could provide us with a matching story. The people at Manteau jumped to the opportunity. And by spring 2013 author Hetty Van Aar finished her wonderful story. It took us another four months of working around the clock to finalize the images you find in the book today. “Welkom in Circus Chapito” was published in October 2014 by Oogappel, Manteau.

We’d like to know what you think!

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During one of these creative Fridays early January 2009, we joked about making our own children’s book

A dream for every parent who reads to their toddlers every night before bedtime

A few weeks later we had a series of sketches of circus animals

Over the course of 3 years, all sketches were transformed into little paper sculptures

We stitched together a big circus tent

We made an audience of over 200 people (can you spot anyone familiar?)

And to get that genuine circus ‘feel’, we decorated the tent with over 50 tiny light bulbs

We worked for customers during the day and returned to office when the kids were laid to bed, to shoot every angle of the circus and test different lighting options, trying to capture the right atmosphere

Everyone who worked at studio beshart between 2009 and 2013, has, to a great or smaller extent, contributed to this project. These people are (in alphabetical order): Elien Dauwe, Bob Haentjens, Tom Haentjens, Inge Lavrijsen, Serge Schoffelen, Steffie Vierstraete and interns Femke Bakker and Miet Claes. Big thanks to Peter, Johan en Philippe at Manteau for believing in us and to Hetty Van Aar for writing a great story.