Monthly Archives: April 2011

Best-Illustrated Game Apps for Babies/Toddlers

I know, I know . . . it’s been too long since I’ve posted. But in that time, a new project has been brewing.  I’ve been offered the opportunity to illustrate and design an iPhone app for babies/toddlers, and I couldn’t be more excited. So stay tuned for tons more updates as I enter the world of new media and app development!

In doing market research and speaking with the app developer, I’ve come to the conclusion that when it comes to game apps for babies and toddlers, the market is wide open.  For instance, the Toddler Teasers series (above) has sold millions of apps – I’ll bite my tongue and leave you to judge the images and design for yourself.

What’s lacking, overall, are game apps with high-quality illustrations.  Who says that images in an app have to look digital, cartoonish, mass-market, or be pasted together with clip art and stock photos?  The developer and I agree that it doesn’t have to be that way – and I’m looking forward to putting the same watercolor, hand-drawn quality into this app that I would into a trade picture book.

That being said, there are a few good illustrated apps out there (and some nicely-designed apps that don’t need illustrations at all).  Before I dive into book apps, let’s take a look at some nice iPhone game apps for toddlers:

1. Peekaboo Barn (Night And Day Studios) / The most comparable app to ours, Peekaboo Barn’s game of farm animal names has been downloaded over 400,000 times!  Illustrator Divya Srinivasan’s young, quirky illustrations are well suited for the app world as well – quite a departure from her editorial work.  Be sure to check out the sequels, Charley Harper’s Peekaboo Forest and Peekaboo Wild.

2. Word Wagon (Duck Duck Moose)Duck Duck Moose is another award-winning app developer that I can really get behind.  Their animated characters and levels of learning look like a lot of fun, don’t they?  And as far as illustrations that are super-digital, these are pretty sharp.  Check out their other apps like Park Math, Wheels On The Bus, and Fish School.

3. Tiny Tunes Toy Piano (562 Studios) / A well-designed interactive way to start off your kid when they’re still too young for piano lessons. The combination of note name, letter, color (and bonus – animated animals!) could help small kids learn basic songs in no time.

4. Uncolor (Christy Brant Co.) / An innovative and simple twist on the illustrated app.  Just draw on the screen with your finger and an image appears beneath the black surface.  Kind of like those rainbow Scratch Art boards from childhood!

5.  Balloonimals (IDEO Toy Lab) / Because I – literally – could find no other illustrated, non-licensed-character apps for babies and toddlers that I thought were well done, here’s my favorite non-illustrated app.  The design is gorgeous, 3-dimensional, and interactive.  Just beware not to spit on your phone when you blow up the balloon!



There’s no doubt in my mind that Marcel The Shell With Shoes On is the best stop-motion animation video I’ve ever seen.  If you’re not familiar with this Youtube sensation, I won’t even bother to explain – just do yourself a favor and watch the film (above)!

Now, I’ve been itching to announce for awhile now that Marcel will star in his own picture book, the first from YA imprint Razorbill.  When Marcel made a video guest appearance at work, to talk about how excited he was to be part of the Penguin family, we couldn’t be more excited for him (and his creators, Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp).

How will Marcel The Shell translate to a picture book?  I initially pictured it as a photographic Chronicle-style gift book, but turns out, the images will be traditional oil paintings instead.  Now… who is the artist going to be, I wonder??  And if you’re worried about this style of humor losing its touch without Jenny Slate’s hilarious voice, don’t be.  The press release assures us that there will be an interactive audio version to add the voice of Marcel to the reading experience.

Can’t wait for November 1 to see Marcel pulling his lint “dog” around by a hair!

“Sometimes people say that my head is too big for my body, and then I say, ‘Compared to WHAT?'”

Top 10 Reasons I’m Abandoning My Career In Children’s Books

10.  The best books have already been written.

9. My ideas are too conceptual to be confined to a commercial market.

8. I can make more money by self-publishing my dystopian-paranormal romance novels.

7. Other jobs that pay better: circus performer, used car dealer, phone psychic. pyrotechnician, lifeguard, court reporter.

6. I’m looking to attract a more intellectual audience.

5. It’s no fun without violence, drugs or nudity.

4. Celebrities are taking over my craft.

3. No one needs illustration when you can steal stock photography off the internet – for free.

2. In 10 years, books will be obsolete anyway.

1. It’s so easy a child could do it.