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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

I’m just going to say it. I want to go to SXSW Interactive this year. No. I really really REALLY want to go to SXSW Interactive this year. I was fortunate enough that last year I was able to attend through my day job, and I met so many amazing people and learned SO MUCH. So much that I’m pretty positive that I learned more in 5 days at SXSWi than I did in my 4.5 years of college. I thought for sure I would be going again this year, but it looks like if that’s going to happen, I’ll need your help. So I’ve come up with a deal for all of my awesome readers, family, and friends.

The SXSWi Snailbird Proposal

If you help to send me to SXSWi, I promise you I will bring to you all the latest, greatest news and education from the most awesome conference ever hosted in Austin, Texas. I will create a separate SXSWi page where I will write up all my notes, post all my pictures, and share all the downloads, tweets (both on designcoyote and rescueanimals), and resources I find. I’m even going to create a special #hashtag for Twitter usage so all you have to do is follow it to see my SXSWi tweets.

Some of the sessions I hope to go to (which is also all the things you get to learn about as well!) include: Storytelling Beyond Words: New Forms of Journalism, Security and Privacy in Social Networks, Taking Your Brand Back from Your Customers, Voices Carry: Why Authentic Brand Voices Matter, Social Media Boundaries: Personal/Personnel Policy, The State of Social Marketing, The Promise and Pitfalls of Real-Time Marketing, Social Media in the Underground World of B2B, Epic Battle: Creativity vs. Discipline in Social, Sparking Real World Action with Social Media, How Comics Journalism is Saving Your Media, Can Gaming Make the World Better?, How to Raise Awareness Through Blogger Outreach, Tech Superwomen: Mentors and Mentees FTW, and oh so much more that are on my list but I don’t have room to post.

OH! And don’t forget I would totally take pictures and share notes from speakers like Kevin Smith and Joss Whedon. Because hell yes, you know you want to hear from the two of them.

We all love learning. And you already know that I love sharing knowledge – on here, on @designcoyote, on I Love Rescue Animals, and on @rescueanimals – so you know that I’m only going to be bring you the best quality and create a stellar resource for those of you who can’t make it to SXSWi yourself. This is your chance to be a part of SXSWi for just a small donation (and some fantastic incentives). I will be sharing a ton of resources for social media, sharing positive causes, utilizing the internet and social media to raise donations, and how to market yourselves online, as well as design tips I learn, the newest technology for artsy folks, and other great education resources.

There’s even an entire session devoted to social apps and charitable giving using social media and how philanthropy utilizing Twitter and Facebook is on the rise. There’s just so much good going on at SXSWi this year that I don’t want to miss it. And there’s so much that I can bring back and teach others. I feel that animal folks in particular would get a lot out of the sessions I want to go to because we work so hard to raise money online and social media has changed the way we’re able to share messages – whether it’s about finding a forever home for a stray dog or it’s asking for donations for a sick cat. This is all knowledge that needs to be shared to our community – it can help so much and I don’t think many animal folks know how invaluable SXSWi is to our cause.

How Much Will This Be?

I didn’t find out until today that I would have to come up with creative ways to get myself there, so the total amount of money I’m trying to raise is $950 – which is JUST the price of one SXSWi ticket. Since I live in Austin, all the lodging expenses are taken care of, and I’ll pay for my own food and goodies. I just need help getting the ticket.

What You Get For Helping!

Don’t worry. You won’t be walking away empty-handed either. Besides the shared knowledge of all I learn, you will also get an awesome incentive depending on what level you donate to. These are as follows:

$1-$15: Join the list of other donors on my SXSW page.*
$16-$29: The above and an individual shout-out on the designcoyote twitter (1,700+ followers).
$30-$49: The above and a pencil sketch of your pet/favorite animal (in The Family Menagerie style).
$50-$74: The above and the pencil sketch gets inked and colored with marker.
$75-$99: The above plus a 100×100 pixels digitally colored avatar of your choice (in TFM style), as well as a shout-out on the rescueanimals twitter (17,800+ followers).
$100-$199: Be included on the donors page, receive a twitter shout-out (on both), a sketch of a pet/favorite animal, and a 100×100 pixel digitally colored avatar, and 1 month of advertising on the blog*.
$200-$349: Mention on donors page and twitter accounts, marker-colored image of pet/favorite animal, 100×100 avatar, 2 months of advertising on the blog*.
$350-$474: The above AND a full-colored digital illustration of your choice.

$475: SPONSORSHIP LEVEL 1! You will have a large prominent THANK YOU at the top of the SXSWi resource page, thanks on both Twitter and Facebook (for both Snailbird and I Love Rescue Animals), PLUS 6 months of advertising on the blog and a full blog post thanking you on Snailbird*.
$950: SPONSORSHIP LEVEL 2! You will have a large prominent THANK YOU at the top of the SXSWi resource page, thanks on both Twitter and Facebook (for both Snailbird and I Love Rescue Animals), PLUS 12 months of advertising on the blog and a full blog post thanking you on Snailbird AND I Love Rescue Animals (and if you or your company has a blog, I will also write up a guest post about everything I learned because of your generosity that you can use on your website)*.

Interested in donating but looking for some other prize/incentive? Feel free to comment or email me and we can talk! I’m open to hearing your ideas.

*Being included on the donors page, as well as getting posted on Snailbird and I Love Rescue Animals websites, means getting your name and link seen by artsy folks, nature-lovers, and lots of animal advocates, pet bloggers, and other activists. Snailbrd gets on average 5,000 unique visitors a month with 80-90k hits a month. I Love Rescue Animals receives an average of 6,000 unique visitors a month and 100-150k hits a month.

ChipIn to the Send-Nikki-to-SXSWi Fund!

So you can all help keep track of where I am in donations, I’ve set up this nifty ChipIn that’s connected to my PayPal account. Once you donate, you will receive an email from me confirming the amount and the prizes you will receive. Just click on the ChipIn widget below to donate or go straight to the ChipIn page.

What If The Goal Isn’t Reached?

Good question. If I don’t receive the goal of $950** by March 9th, all of the donations will be fully refunded. That’s right, you’ll get all of your money back and I’ll just have to wait to go to SXSWi next year. If however, it IS funded, as soon as SXSWi is over (March 13th is the last day), I will begin work on all of your prizes. It’s a win-win situation (the very best kind)!

**Note the ChipIn has been lowered to $900 because I received $50 in donations outside the ChipIn. – Updated 3.5.12.

The Final Plea

I want to go to SXSWi so much. It was an incredible experience last year and I don’t want to miss out again. I learned so much, and I feel that this year will be even better. So for just one donation, you can help send me to this awesome conference full of great opportunities and in return you get to learn all that I learn and some (you know those incentives are pretty awesome). Pretty great deal, yeah?

So please please help, and share with your family and friends! I will be forever grateful to you and so very honored. Thank you! You guys rock!

Women in Tech: R. Williams.

Hey, something to blog about (thanks Amanda). It’s March 24th, Ada Lovelace Day! What does this mean? It means that today is a day to celebrate all women in technology!

Who was Ada?
Born Augusta Ada Byron, but now known simply as Ada Lovelace, she wrote the world’s first computer programmes for the Analytical Engine, a general-purpose machine that Charles Babbage had invented. she translated Luigi Menabrea’s memoir on Babbage’s Analytical Engine, appending notes that included a method for calculating Bernoulli numbers with the machine – the first computer programme. She also wrote the very first description of a computer and of software.

Roberta Williams: Graphic Adventure Queen

Some people, over the years, thought that I only achieved what I had achieved because of my husband, but, I always countered those people that the company was started because of a game that I wrote…not something my husband wrote. Therefore, it could be argued that he was there because of ME, not vice versa.

My Tech Heroine: Roberta Williams (quoted above)

Roberta WilliamsTo those of you who know Roberta Williams, it should be of no surprise to you that I chose her as my tech heroine. I am a gamer. I have loved playing computer games, and Roberta Williams was the only woman to be included in PC Gamer’s Game God Exclusive. She is the genius behind one of the first huge computer adventures games: King’s Quest. She also created the much lesser known Dark Crystal computer game (a game I always wanted). She and her husband were the original masterminds behind Sierra On-line, one of the first computer game companies, and her company was the first to include a female as a main character in a game (which not only did NOT ruin the game, but brought in even more gamers – girls!).

Known as “Queen of the Graphic Adventure,” Williams made a significant impact in the world of computer gaming. She laid down the foundations of generations of adventure games. In a world dominated by men, Williams became the first successful female game designer, paving the way for the many females who have followed her footsteps. Adventure Classic Gaming even called her “the single most successful adventure game designer ever lived.” Between 1984 and 1998, eight different games came out in the series King’s Quest.

If you’ve ever had the chance to play these games, you’ll understand right away why I say that Roberta Williams is a worldbuilder. I guess that’s one of the reasons why I love adventure games. Not only does the games have their own histories and worlds, but I also just love games that challenge my mind – I love having to think about things and figure out how to do something to get to the next step. I prefer it over the brute-strength and waging battles of other games (even though I love WoW). King’s Quest is a great game because you have to take things you find earlier in the game and use them to solve something later on. One of the reasons I’m such a hoarder in Warcraft is because in King’s Quest, every single item might have meaning later on in the game (even a rotten apple core!) and you shouldn’t throw away anything. You never know what might be useful.

Roberta Williams created a new way to play adventure games. You could say that she’s the reason we have such deep layers of history in even the most heavily played MMORPGs. When it comes to computers, gaming, and technology, Roberta Williams has cemented her place in history. She is the number one female gamer ever.

Who’s your female tech heroine?

Snailbird.com!

And we’re back up, with tons of help from my previous host.  Thanks a bunch, Dan!

I’ll be making quite a few changes to reflect the new domain name.  For now, I’ll work with the old set up and the old title of Coyote Dreams until I get up the new theme that I’m working on.  The old site will continue to redirect to this page, but it’d be helpful if everyone updated their links.

I’ll blog for real when I get a chance to.  Right now, the house needs to be cleaned (after which the cats will once again knock everything down and undo any work I might actually accomplish).  Hey, at least it makes me feel better.  Even if it is just a half-hearted attempt.

How is it Monday already?

MailChimp

I’m sure I’ll be doing a much more thorough review of MailChimp, but as it stands, it’s probably one of the best email services out there. Not only is it the easiest one I have ever used (as opposed to both Constant Contact and Mail Campaigner), but it’s also got a sense of humor that all the other services severely lack.

The templates are easy to customize, the finish product is streamline and professional looking, and the dashboard has the easiest navigation with help at every corner. I also really appreciate the reports they have for the number of opened emails, number of bounced emails, and who clicks on the links in the email.

I’m really enjoying the look and feel of this service. It was a snap to sign up, and I keep refreshing my dashboard just to see what the admin chimp has to say next.

So far, MailChimp has my approval. I’m currently using it for my personal site, and I’ve got the Alumni Association of Northland College signed up with it (I’m in charge of their newsletters), and the price is very reasonable. I highly recommend this email service.

/end blatant advertisement.

Firefox 3.0

Firefox 3 was released the other day and I finally just got around to downloading. As a first impression, I’m not sure I like it. The browser is suppose to be streamline in its design, but I actually find it cluttered without the definition of individual rows (the commands, the navigation bar, and the bookmarks toolbar are right on top of each other, no longer separated with an indented line as in the previous Firefox). It bothers me that they all look smooshed together. Maybe it’s the OCD in me, but I’d rather they didn’t touch (as opposed to the food on my plate that I mix together all the time).

One of the most annoying things I’ve found so far is typing in URL in the address bar (the new “Awesome Bar”). This brings up previously looked at sites, of course, but with Firefox 3, it also brings up information about the site, all crammed together – another cluttered mess. The idea of having information right there is in the right place, but the way Mozilla implemented it doesn’t work right and just makes it incredibly hard to read. I’m hoping that the bugs in this will get worked out, because finding previously looked at sites with just one word is, in theory, really cool. It just doesn’t look the best right now.

And though it’s really no fault to the new release, I’m also annoyed because many of my Add-ons are not compatible with the new version. I’m crossing my fingers that they’ll be updated soon with something that works.

This is, of course, just a first impression as I only downloaded it last night. Maybe it’ll grow on me and I’ll learn to love it as I find new gems in the browser (I have yet to find any). I don’t know, maybe I’m just adverse to change. I miss the old Firefox with it’s simplicity.

What do you think?

Wow, I Should Be Shot.

Sometimes my own stupidity shocks the hell out of me.

Who do you know who has the brains to actually delete their recycle bin? Yeah. I was trying to delete something off my desktop, my hand slipped and hit the tab key and before I processed it, I had hit delete (and then was a moron and didn’t read the prompt asking if I really did want to delete this item – instead I just hit yes). I realized that the folder I was trying to delete was still there, tried to drag it to the trash, and discovered, with much surprise, that it was gone.

I’m an idiot.

I could not for the life of me figure out how to get it back and where the hell that thing was located on my actual computer. So I had to google it and found this really amusing and sarcastic site about Why People Delete Their Recycle Bins. Yeah, way to make me feel even more incompetent. It is pretty funny though.

And that, my friends, is my stupid moment for the week, day, hour.

(Oh, by the way, I figured out the flickr thing and customized my journal. Woot!)