Sunday, May 8, 2011

Digital materials for children

After completing two semesters of my MA in children's literature at UBC, I've finally decided to do my thesis on digital materials for children. Every conference you go to these days includes workshops on the new electronic face of publishing, so it's hard to miss this subject. I've become particularly interested in picture book apps for platforms like the ipad.

If you haven't had the opportunity to play with picture book apps, you can seach under picture books apps on youtube and there are a lot of very short wonderful demos. I think I expected picture book apps to be gimmicky, but Heart and the Bottle, especially, seems to me a very natural extension of illustration and what I'm trying to do as an illustrator anyway, e.g., make stars sparkle, waves rock, characters do doubletakes and travel on and off the page.

I'm thinking of trying to turn some of my picture books that have gone out of print into apps, so was thrilled to find a wonderful easy-to-understand slideshow on how a picture book app is made posted by generous team that created Timo and the Magical Book.

There has also been a lot of buzz about electronic self-publishing. Here's one such project: it's by three authors and isn't being released in print form but as three simultaneous digital applications: a daily comic, an app and a game. Their theme song is very good.

I found about this last one on the amazing Canadian illustration, animation and design blog Drawn. You'll find lots of posts on children's book illustration and animation there. For instance, I learned about the extremely appealing children's music and animation by indie band They Might be Giants there.