fc01Forgotten Colours is a beautiful and inspiring iPad app that is filled with stories and illustrations by a very talented group of people. The colors are vivid and the stories filled with wonderful morals and happy endings. I was lucky enough to get a chance to interview the folks behind the magic and bring you some insight into what went into creating such an interactive app. Many thanks to Teo, one of the behind-the-scenes magicians at Play Creatividad, creators of the app, for translating the interview questions and answer for us. Enjoy! And make sure to check out the Forgotten Colours app!

fc-cover

Give us a little background on Forgotten Colours and the idea to turn it into an iPad app.

Francesc (Web Designer): Since the book had worked very well in Spain, we sought a way to share it with the world and the solution was digital publishing. eBook formats fell short because our book combines text and illustrations, but neither did we have any experience in the world of Apps for iOS. By chance we found a platform called Baker Framework for creating book and magazine Apps using Web development techniques (html, css and Javascript). We knew nothing about Apps but had much experience in web design so we decided to do some testing and the result was very good. We had managed to make an e-book but keeping the essence of the original book! Later, when the book was taking shape, we saw that we could add some small animations using Javascript and also some sounds and the result was …An enhanced eBook!

Desiree (Illustrator): We love technology! Working for the iPad is a delight because you can bring characters to life and create atmospheres, moving eyes, playing music, a surprising movement, interact… make a complete book of feelings.

How long did it take to make this app, from preliminary ideas to the full version it is now?

Francesc: From the first tests to the publication in the App Store… about 4 months.

Desiree: This never ends, there are always things to tweak and even more in the iPad world where new possibilities appear every day.

I read in the book that Silvia was originally an accounts assistant. How did it happen that you found your love and talent for writing?

Silvia (Author): Actually, I wrote short stories and scripts as a teenager that I let my friends read. But as I grew older I put my studies and work before, and I forgot what I loved so much. Until Desiree, illustrator and designer of the agency, challenged me to write these stories. I do small copy works in the agency, but writing about what you want is much more stimulating. While writing I remembered how much I enjoyed it, and have since resumed this path in which I hope to go on and contribute with my imagination.

fc05

Carmensina is a very unique character. Where did you get her inspiration from?

Silvia: Carmesina was born an afternoon of genuine inspiration, thinking a crazy idea that came that day at the agency: a one-eyed designer. So I started typing her story with that image in mind. A story as a fable of the world we live in: a gray and disenchanted society. But where with our attitude and imagination we can help to make a change. I also added the presence of Black Cat – inspired by the real cat that we have in the agency – and lots of imagination. And there was Carmesina, a character with a great story and still a lot to tell. Of course, then came David’s work, drawing her, giving her charm… but he will tell you better about that.

David (Illustrator): True, Carmesina is a very unique and peculiar character. Not only by herself but her creation process was as well. Usually when I draw a new character do a lot of sketches until I find what I was looking for. For Carmesina there are no preliminary sketches, when I read the story I picked up the pencil and drew her holding Black Cat in her arms. When I finished I showed it to Silvia and her reaction was: “It’s her!”… Just like that sometimes magical things happen; the character finds you. Obviously in the colouring process some features, were improved but essentially the early sketch is the Carmesina that the readers know now.

If you were given the choice to be any character in the book, who would you be?

Silvia: It is very difficult to choose just one character, they are like my children, my small creations, and I am very fond of all of them. But perhaps I would choose Carmesina, she has a great personality, or Griselda, because she is a free spirit, positive and cheerful.

Marta (Illustrator): Griselda, without hesitation.

Francesc: Black Cat, definitely.

Desiree: In this book I like Bella and Griselda because they were able to rebel and be different. We can all change our lives if we are not happy, even if there is a writer who tries to define our destiny.

David: Hmm… Difficult… I guess that, for the impression made on the audience and being the main characters of the second book we are preparing, I prefer the Black Cat – Carmesina tandem. But being a guy, and that answer would be a bit weird, I’ll say the Master Chew Wang.

fc03

The illustration styles in the book are so diverse. What are your favorite media styles? Pencils, watercolors, digital, etc?

Marta: Pencils and digital 😛

Desiree: I choose the media according to what the illustration suggests. I have no favourite, sometimes watercolour, pastel, pencil drawing, directly on the computer…. It is certain that everything ends up on my screen, where I retouch colours, shapes, illustrate and paint. I personally like the illustrations to have an artisan feel; it’s nice when the textures exceed the paper and make you want to touch it…

David: For the book we worked with pencil and coloured digitally, adding watercolour and colour pencil textures. It’s the cleanest and quickest way… but I have worked many years with watercolour and gouache, the truth is that sometimes I miss using these more traditional techniques.

I love the colors in this book! What are you favorite color schemes?

Marta: Even though the book has a bluish – greyish colour scheme, I normally tend to use colours that help the illustration to express its mood and not fixed schemes.

Desiree: In my case it is intuitive, I don’t think, I let go and just do it, enjoy it… but sometimes I don’t like it and I get angry. But the good thing is that with the computer you can change colours and compare. Sometimes you have to let a week pass to resume the picture and find what you were missing, including a colour for example.

David: I have no favourite colour scheme; I think the colour helps a lot to convey the atmosphere and the mood that the story requires. Anyway this is one of the advantages of working digitally. I really admire Guarnido Juanjo (illustrator of the comic book Blacksad) who works in watercolours and does about 3 or 4 coloured sketches for each frame prior to finding the tone that fits. Working digitally you can change hues until you get what you were looking for.

fc04

Was it difficult matching the design of the website and the HTML layout with the feel of the book?

Francesc: The main difficulty was to resolve the differences between the physical book’s square format and the iPad’s rectangular one. We decided to use the vertical view of the iPad and pretend that the book was displayed on a surface thus maintaining the original format. The rest was relatively easy, we have respected the original spirit, tweaking specific details and giving a bit of life to some illustrations with small effects and sounds.

What was it like collaborating with so much creative talent in the illustrators and the writer and all the people who worked on this app?

Marta: Fabu-astic!

Francesc: We are a team that has spent several years working together every day: designers, programmers and illustrators as well as our own writer. Many of us participated in the development of the App. It has been an exciting experience to learn to move through the world of the AppStore and see how our project crosses boundaries every day.

Desiree: A very nice experience! Creativity calls for creativity, someone’s idea is a spark that makes everyone contribute with theirs. It’s a book that had no other claim than to amuse those who worked on it and I think that’s the key to our success.

David: Teaming up with such creative people makes your work improve much faster and the final product is something that could not be achieved individually. It is a joy.

fc-illos

And finally… what “Fuels” you in life?

Silvia: Life itself is inspiration, although sometimes our mood doesn’t allow us to see the beauty it hides, I certainly find my inspiration in the small things, in human relationships and everyday stories. Carmesina and all stories were created this way. In my case, literature and film is also of great inspiration.

Francesc: We are currently focusing our energy on our own projects, the second book that we are finishing and new Apps that we expect to launch soon.

Desiree: The inspiration has been different in every moment of my life, now my daughter is my new muse. Children allow us to play and require us to be fun and create!

David: Life itself! There are lots of things that happen everyday that is the fuel to enjoy it… and if you finally manage to draw them, it’s great!

bard-smallFor as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a writer and illustrator. In fact, I wanted to create children’s books and I wanted them to be fun, colorful, and have animals in them. That’s why I was so excited to do this interview with Bard Hole Standal, author of the interactive kids’ book Jack and Joe, which was built for the iPhone and the iPad. I was given the chance the read the book and play around with it and let me tell you, I loved it! Personally, I think this is HUGE, especially for the iPad. Interactive kids’ books aren’t exactly new, but I feel that with Bard’s style he could pave the way for many books like his. And iPads are a great size for kids to use.

Here’s a few things that really jumped out at me and made me love Jack and Joe:

  • I loved the illustrations! Bright, colorful, good movement! Very cute and great style for kids. The illustrations were really engaging and I felt the artwork went along perfectly with the story.
  • The interactions build into the book are fantastic. The hide and seek page was one of my favorite parts! There are also pages you can shake and some where you can pet Jack! In talking to Bard, I learned that in a future version of the story there will be even more interactive pages.
  • Jack and Joe very much felt like characters that could be on Disney or Nickelodeon – the voices were good too and there was a good pace to the book and the reading.

On with the Interview!

Let’s start from the beginning. Where did the idea to create an interactive children’s book for the iPad/iPhone come from?

I think all illustrators dream of publishing their own children’s book. For me, it felt like the right time to give it a go. I had focused all my time and energy in being involved in vinyl toys and endless projects with toy companies that seldom went anywhere. I was tired of both toys and spending a great deal of time on things that never came to fruition. With the iPad and the iPhone’s App Store, that would not be a problem. You are in control of what’s published, no second or third parties involved. So I talked to my brother who’s a computer engineer, and we decided to combine our talents to make this book happen. We originally intended on programming it using Adobe’s Flash CS5 iPhone module, but Apple pulled the plug on that. Plus the tech was incredibly slow, nearly useless.
Basic RGB

How did you begin each page? Walk us through your process of completing an illustration for the book.

I started the process by writing a simple outline. The initial idea about a boy and his best friend, his husky puppy. I thought of the fun things they could do together while keeping in mind what sort of interactive tasks would work with that. In the outline I wrote some ideas down for a story arc and how the boy would end up being jealous of the husky. The boy wanted to be a husky too because, let’s face it, there is nothing more awesome to be in the world than a husky puppy!

I never really set out to make a literary masterpiece, I wanted a sort of random character-focused story without morals or life lessons. I just wanted to make it a peek into the world of two best friends.

After the outline was written, I wrote a proper manuscript and drew a very crude storyboard of each page. Then I used Illustrator to draw up the final images, and adjusted the script and drawings as I went along. I also had to come up with what sort of interactive things we could add to the pages. I had a bunch of ideas, but we had to cut back to make it possible to produce. Coding for the iOS devices is very time consuming. Compared to technologies like Flash, this is much more demanding.
Basic RGB

Was creating an illustration for mobile devices different from simply creating an illustration for print or the web?

I always had to keep in mind that everything I drew would have to be cut up into smaller pieces for it to be animated or made into an interactive page. So working with vectors in Illustrator made that very easy, it’s part of my style and it’s how I like to work already. I’m an interactive art director in my fulltime job, so this is part of my everyday life. If you’re a traditional illustrator, I’m sure it would be a little harder to wrap your head around than producing things for print. Also, you have the issue of resolution differences on the devices. The iPhone 1 and the iPhone 4 have different resolutions, and the iPad even has a different format! So you end up exporting everything three times and you have to make sure that the illustrations for the iPad work even though you’re cutting the sides off to make it fit within the format. It’s easy to slip into madness with all of these things to think of 😉

What do you hope kids will take from Jack and Joe? Where do you see this book going?

My biggest wish is that kids get sucked into the world of Jack and Joe and just end up having a really FUN time. That was my goal all along, to make a super fun book kids can play with for hours. And maybe they’ll all convince their parents to get huskies! That would be cool. The world needs more huskies. I see a world in the future where everyone has a husky. I’d like that world!

I hope the book makes it up the App Store charts and that it gets some attention. It’s proven quite difficult to get it out there, there’s no automatic success by having a book in the App Store. You’ll have to tell people about it before it moves anywhere. I was hoping that wasn’t the case, that we wouldn’t need the PR machines of giant publishing corporations. We’ll see how it goes. I think we just need to tell people that it’s out there and that they should check it out. Maybe make a free preview version too.
Page12_Promo

Who would you say has influenced your art style?

My art style is definitively influenced by a bunch of Japanese artists. I grew up with a keen interest in manga, so people like Akira Toriyama and Katsuhiro Otomo have been huge to me. In terms of vector style, Furi Furi Company, Buro Destruct and Maniackers Design were a major influence on me when I was starting out. Then of course there’s the video games of my childhood from Nintendo and Sega that were probably the reason for why I was drawn to illustration in the first place.

You say on your website that you love drawing animals. Any hope for a children’s book about pigs in the future?

Haha, yeah now that would be something! I would love to just sit down and draw pigs for a 6 month stretch. That would be a amazing!

I am actually working on a CGI short about a pig that wants to go to the north pole. It’s a side-burner project, so it’ll take a while to complete. I get my monthly dose of pigs that way though, keeps me sane and far, far away from bacon.

I eat a lot of sausages though, so technically I’m a hypocrit!

And finally… what “fuels” your illustration?

Giant exploding mega ultra death pigs! with LASER EYES!

At least the dream of one day giving such a vision a proper rendition as an illustration.
Until the day I do that, I will relentlessly be working on my skills until they can achieve such awesome awesomeness.
ipadandiphone_promo-1
Find more about Bard here:

Y’all know that I’m a big treehugger. I pretty much majored in camping. I’m also a big fan of DIY craft projects. So it should come as no surprise to anyone that I am absolutely 100% in love with this awesome Kickstarter project: Create Change App: Changing the Way We Consume + Create. It comes from the minds of my friend Jenelle of TrashN2Tees and software developer Sean McKenna, two ingenius minds with an amazing idea.

Of course I have to help promote something that I know for a fact that I would use the heck out of. Jenelle was gracious enough to take a few moments to answer some questions for me about the Kickstarter project and the fantastic app that needs to be made.

Kickstarting the Interview!

Tell us what inspired you and gave you the idea for the Create Change kickstarter project.

My whole life, I’ve always looked at things & automatically wondered how I can contribute and make a difference. How can this be bigger, better, amplified, successful, brighter, stronger, happier, worthier? For a long time I truely viewed this trait as a character flaw. I’d catch myself asking questions like, “who do I think you are?” The truth is, this ‘flaw’ has always been one of my greatest strengths & assets. One that I am embracing.

The Create Change App is a manifestation of my business TrashN2Tees where I design clothing & accessories using reclaimed materials. Its focuses on ways that you can creatively reuse items and keep them from our landfills, instigating a movement that changes the way we consume and create.

Give us a quick run-down of how the app will work for those who haven’t seen the video.

If you’ve got 3 minutes- be sure to check out the video here. Did you know that 70% of the items in our landfills can be recycled or reused? The app is going to be a compilation of DIY tutorials on a searchable database. Simply search the Create Change app for your no-longer-necessary items (for example: bottle caps, bike tires, ripped shower curtain, and dryer lint), you will instantly see results featuring creative ways how you can repurpose the items instead of throwing them away. The Create Change tutorials will walk you through the steps.

Browse the beautifully photographed galleries by choosing a category on on the home page and be inspired to create change. These tutorials are original (and eventually curated) content. You can instantly share photos of your finished projects: show us how you infused your own personality! Post your favorite tutorials directly from your phone on Twitter & Facebook. Submit your own tutorials to possibly be featured in the curated updates! All of the budget friendly projects range from stylish modern industrial chic home decor builds to quick & easy kid-friendly crafts!

What’s your favorite part of this whole project? The marketing? The creating? The brainstorming?

I was going to cop-out and say I loved it all, but sat with the question a moment. I love the collaborative brainstorming being able to exemplify my vision through unexpected creative mediums.

What do you hope the Create Change app will accomplish? Big Hairy Audacious Dreams here!

Big scary things happen in the world everyday, and a lot of us think there is nothing we can do about it. That is bullshit, we can DO something. I want people to really look in their trash cans & think about what they’re consuming. Think about how it affects our environment and realize that it doesn’t disappear after the garbage trucks come pick up. The app instigates action: a movement to change the way we consume and create.

Any big projects after the Create Change app is a big success?

There is still a lot of work to be done, I’m currently looking for an intern to assist with organizing the Create Change Pledge Event in November. (Send applications to contact(at)trashn2tees.com) We’re going to be spreading Create Change with live events in your town: including hands on upcycling/creative workshops, live music, and eco-handmade vendors.

Conclusion

Conclusion? FUND THIS KICKSTARTER! Don’t you want to have this app on your phone? Right now, Jenelle has a little over $1300 and she needs to reach $17,000 in 15 DAYS! You can check out the video to learn more about where the money will go and how the app will be created. All I know is that this is an app that NEEDS to be made. How wonderful will it be to go to your phone to find a use for something you might have otherwise thrown away?

I for one have helped fund this Kickstarter. Will you?