My paper on how classroom testing informed the design of The King’s Ears has been accepted by the International Workshop on the Future of Books and Reading in Human-Computer Interaction at NordCHI in Gothenburg, Sweden, October 24, 2016. The committee has been very flexible, allowing me to attend remotely and present my paper by skype on October 24.
The app is nearly complete, and just needs final sound files installed and a few minor tweaks. Unfortunately, getting funding for this last part of the project took so long that my lovely programmers have had to accept new jobs. Hopefully these final changes can be made soon and the app can come out before the end of 2016.
The Canada Media Fund Experimental Stream has approved our beta and will be releasing the funds for the final phase of production.The CMF business analyst assigned to the project said the beta was “absolutely beautiful”. Joy!
Finally completed and sent in the beta of my thesis story app, “The King’s Ears”, to the Canada Media Fund Experimental Stream. Fingers crossed that it passes inspection and qualifies for the 2nd phase of funding. The app is the creative portion of my hybrid creative/theoretical thesis for the MA program in children’s literature at the University of British Columbia, Canada. I’m applying ideas formulated by picturebook scholars (especially Maria Nikolajeva, Perry Nodelman, Lawrence Sipe, and Schwarz) to the creation of the additional modes afforded by the iPad. It is incredibly inspiring to be working with Katarina Jovanovic’s story, Philippe Béhà’s art and the amazing voice of Terry Jones. And I’m so fortunate to be working with such a creative and diligent team: designer, illustrator, and animator Elisa Gutiérrez, and programmers Judy Choi and Trevor Robinson.
Like many Wacom tablet and Mac users, I found my photoshop tools weren’t working properly after upgrading to Yosemite. Even after downloading the latest wacom driver and installing Adobe’s White Window Workaround plugin my lasso selection tool often conks out. Designer and author/illustrator extraordinaire, Elisa Gutiérrez, showed me how using the paths palette can be a substitute when the lasso tool isn’t working.
Am waiting excitedly for a new app by one of my favourite authorstrators, Chris Haughton. In the meantime, he shows how to make a collage squirrel in the wonderful Guardian kids’ section, How to Draw, which features regular tutorials by famous illustrators.
Fox and Sheep, who will putting out Chris’s app, also publish brilliant Heidi Wittlinger’s Nighty Night and Little Fox, as well as the innovative Petting Zoo by Christoph Niemann.
Many picturebook trailers are little masterpieces. I’ve noticed that what often distinguishes the professional picturebook trailer from the amateur one is sound, including great music and professionally recorded narration by real performers. I find it remarkable that the animation technique can be very naive or simple and the trailer can still be a very beautiful and professional work of art if the sound is to a professional standard. Clean, beautiful, imaginative sound is much more important than the sophistication of the animation technique. The trailer for 13 Words by Lemony Snicket and Maira Kalman is the best demonstration of this that I can think of. The animation is minimal but the sound is incredible and the thing that truly animates this piece of trailer heaven.
Another example of superb sound paired with a beautiful but technically simple animation is Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton.
I was thrilled to discover that I could buy and download the amazing music that Matt Wand created for this trailer.
Here’s the Rascal Media youtube playlist of favourite children’s book trailers. Included are a couple of amateur ones that I thought deserved honorable mention. And here is my vimeo album that includes some trailers of Portuguese publisher Orpheu Negro. I love them all!