The following post is authored by guest blogger Anna Grossnickle Hines, children’s author and illustrator. Watch for her forthcoming book app Not Without Bear.
Okay, confession time. I just became eligible for Medicare. I could be looking at retirement, but what fun is that? How about a new career instead?
Last November, my son-in-law, who does computer animation, offered to help me make a trailer for my book, I Am a Tyrannosaurus (published July 12, 2011). My husband, an experienced audio-visual guy, recorded my granddaughter saying the lines, added some music, and WOW! What a treat to see my book come to life on the screen.
Then we thought, why just make trailers? Let’s make apps! Two of my daughters are also writers and the third is an illustrator–married to another computer genius. We formed our own company: appropo.
So my husband and I set out to learn something about programming: Xcode and Objective-C. Aargh! I was enjoying the challenge, but the early projects were calculators with lots of math. When would we get to the fun stuff?
Then I heard about Composer and signed on. It was a little perplexing at first–there wasn’t much in the way of instruction in the beginning as it was in Beta–but in a few days I was making things happen on my iPad–fun things, like a porpoise bouncing around a tub! I could start a real app right away!
I decided on Not Without Bear, a pop-up book published in 2000 and out of print too soon after. It had been fun to see what actions I could create with folded paper. What might I be able to do with it as an app? I started in the vertical format using mostly scanned art that I mushed around a bit in Photoshop. Even with rough art, it was a thrill to see what could happen.
On one of my first pages I was able to make the wheels turn, Bear rise out of the backpack, and the cat go up and down in the basket.
Within a month I had 7 pages with numerous interactions. Much more fun than building calculators in Xcode and–dare I admit it after authoring more than 60 books?–even more fun than writing and illustrating another book.
Early in June I shared my app with my family partners, to an enthusiastic response and some helpful input. I switched to the newly available horizontal format, got serious about the art, and started adding sound effects and music. Now things were really popping!
The action starts right off on the cover with Audrey rocking and giggling to a lively tune, and is followed by 9 story pages–7 of which are nearly completed.
Thanks to my family and to Demibooks, I have a whole new creative avenue to explore, and I’ll be working with the people I love most in the world. What could be better?
A lite version of Not Without Bear should be available soon, and the full version shortly after. Check out appropo’s Facebook page or forthcoming website (www.appropo.co) for more info or visit my page at www.aghines.com