Thursday, December 13, 2012
I've been immortalized!
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
"I Want to Go to the Moon" shortlisted!
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Explanation of Sprite Sheets
Phew! so much to learn - but it's fun once you get over the hump of knowing absolutely nothing. Patience with being in that frustrating period of initial ignorance and believing it will pass is the secret of learning.
This movie comes from the website for a software called Texture Packer.
SpriteSheets - TheMovie - Part 1 by Code'n'Web
gorgeous multi-platform publication
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
12 books in 120 seconds
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Robot Media storybuilder
Nonexistent instructions. There are seven videos on their youtube channel which are not particularly high resolution, have no narration and the same annoying theme music. They load slowly which makes it hard to scrub back and forth looking for the bit you want. So a tip is to copy the url of the video and paste it into keepvid.com so you can have the 7 video tutorials on your desktop. Studying these videos to learn how to use Storybuilder requires concentrated scrutiny, but I got there.
Functions I'm hoping they'll add:
1. animations can scale up
2. drag and drop into a container, e.g. flowers into a basket
3. being able to choose x,y coordinates of draggable objects.
4. draggable characters can flip horizontally if you drag them in the opposite direction like Nosy Crow's Cinderella.
5. addition of path animation
6. being able to add code for your own special interaction
Here's a little video demo of what I've done so far with my design of The King Has Goat Ears by Katarina Jovanovic and Philipe Beha, published by Tradewind books.
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Literary quality and apps
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Can a 57-year-old artist learn to code?
Why Kids should learn to code
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
oh no, George! trailer
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Picturebook app resources
As a children’s book author and illustrator, and now academic, I’ve been seeking out information on apps and the possibility of making picturebook apps myself. I believe the best ones are uncluttered and have actions, interactions, and sounds that not only support the narrative but add dimensions of meaning through these additional modes. The best one I’ve seen to date is, apart from a couple of design errors, The Heart and the Bottle based on the print book by Oliver Jeffers. Unfortunately, HarperCollins has not offered any updates to fix the bugs in this wonderful app, and hasn’t replied to my emails.
Here’s a youtube preview of the app. And here's a very nicely written review
A good article introducing picturebook apps as a genre by New York Librarian Elizabeth Bird on School Library Journal
Speaking of Reviews. There are a lot of reviewers but not a lot of thoughtful, intelligent reviews by people who understand picturebooks and early literacy.
Kirkus reviews are okay - descriptive, rather than enlightening. I find their ratings unreliable. http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/ipad/
Digital storytime http://digital-storytime.com - lists everything, but has very little to say except praising apps for being bright, busy and selling lots
Children's Technology Review editor Warren Buckleitner, a PhD in Educational Psychology and the founder of the Dust or Magic Institute is a wonderful writer on the children’s digital space. He doesn’t mince words and calls digital products evil if they have in-app selling. He has written extensively and brilliantly on what constitutes a great app and hosts the wonderful Children’s Technical Review youtube channel:
However, he doesn’t seem to have a lot of interest in picturebook apps.
The august Horn Book online doesn’t have a separate app review section, but mixes them in with books and other children’s materials in their Out of the Box section.
Touch and Go on Library School Journal site
touch and Go’s top apps of 2011
The Guardian online has arguably the best children’s book section in any paper anywhere. It is absolutely fabulous. Wonderful articles and multimedia features on all children's materials.
Children's App Awards
The indispensable and indefatigable Warren Buckleitner is also behind the KAPi (The Kids at Play Interactive ) award
The other award for children's digital materials is the Bologna Ragazzi Digital Award given out at the Bologna Children's Book Fair.
Major developers (aside from Disney)
Vancouver's own Loud Crow - responsible for Pop out! The Tale of Peter Rabbit and the delightful Sandra Boynton books such as Moo Ba La La La
Nosy Crow - London's book and app publisher of Cinderella and The Three Little Pigs. Very exciting company who know their kidlit.
Zinc Roe is the developer of the apps for Marie Louise Gay's Stella and Sam books. They use the voices and art from the TV cartoon. I love Sam but I think they've turned imaginative kidlet Stella into a knowing mom figure which really offends me on a number of levels.
Toca Boca - brilliant Swedish company. Their Robot Lab is huge in Saudi Arabia. Is there a reason for this? Speak up, Saudi fans.
HarperCollins - Book publisher and responsible for commissioning the app of the Heart and the Bottle. Why oh why can't they fix the bugs? I'm begging, please.
OceanHouse Media - massive output of apps of limited interactivity geared to teach reading. Oceanhouse has acquired the rights to Dr. Seuss, Dave McKee's Elmer, and Mercer Mayer's Little Critter books.
Moonbot - started by an old lady children's literature academic (like me!), famous illustrator, and a tv producer. Responsible for the animation-heavy The Fantastic Flying Books of Mister Morris Lessmore
Making your own picturebook app
I confess that I’ve only been labouring on the design of an app for Tradewind Books since September and haven’t made one yet. But I’ve been researching, reading the blogs of other author/illustrators and following their experiences with do-it-yourself software. I’ve been going to seminars, webinars, and online chats, as well as learning how to animate with Anime Studio Pro which seems particularly good for making cut-out animation from existing illustrations.
So if that's where you want to go too, first look at this brilliant slideshow by Dutch team, Visser and Verplancke.
Research into Children and Digital Media
A year ago there weren’t many articles written by scholars on children and the ipad (it only came out in 2010!) but more is being written all the time. Unfortunately, you need to be searching Google Scholar while logged into a library site to be able to see the complete text of articles published in scholarly journals if you’re not a subscriber.However, there are several wonderful organizations doing serious studies on digital media and children and the troubling amount of time kids are spending glued to a screen of some sort.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Forays into animation
Working for Tradewind Books on iPad storybook app design for The King has Goat Ears by Katarina Jovanovic and Philippe Beha required that I be able to create small videos as well as image files. After deliberating over whether to buy Toon Boom or Anime Studio Pro, I went for the latter because it seemed better for cut-out animation - I knew I'd be animating picture book illustration rather than traditional frame-by-frame drawing. The first thing I created was the video invite for I Want to Go to the Moon. Then Mike Katz at Tradewinds gave me the job of creating a trailer for their new chapter book Nutz! by Virginia Frances Schwartz and illustrated by Christina Leist. I got the scans of the illustrations from designer Elisa Gutierrez and proceeded to storyboard and create this 35-second video. RascalMedia is my new company for trailers and storybook app design.
Silken Laumann's kids loved Mr. Got to Go
Monday, January 30, 2012
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Moon Launch Performances
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Vancouver Book Launch
Here's the video invitation for the Vancouver launch of I Want to Go to the Moon by Tom Saunders and illustrated by yours truly. There will be children's activities, refreshments, book sales and a moon stage for performances featuring the word "moon".
All stage hams are requested to contact me to get your name on the lineup.