Tag Archives: apps

The Blog Is BACK!!!

It’s finally time to resurrect my blog from its long hiatus!  I’ve actually missed being on Walking In Public… digging up blog content has always kept me engaged with the publishing/art/design industries, and it motivates me to write and draw regularly.  So, I’ll be back on the blog for a long while, with all-new features and updates on my journey to success in the children’s book world!

What have you missed while I’ve been away from the blog? Here are the best things that happened, circa 2011:

Annie’s Top 5 2011 Professional Developments

1. Illustrated and designed the Little Farmer app.

You may remember that I began a project working on a toddler game app, called Little Farmer, back in May.  Well, after months of illustrating, designing and developing, we released it for sale in the iTunes store in October!  It has been a really wonderful experience working with a talented developer, Anita Hirth, to create artwork that children can interact with, right there on any iPhone.  There’s much more to say about the process of creating an app, and my future in the digital world… but those are subjects for bigger posts!

In the meantime, purchase the app here, or watch the video trailer, above!

2. Joined the Children’s Book Council’s Early Career Committee.

I’ve been attending events for young adults in the publishing industry for awhile, so it was exciting to be asked to represent Penguin Young Readers (and designers everywhere) on the Children’s Book Council’s Early Career Committee.  This organization creates opportunities for those in the first 5 years of the children’s book industry to network, learn, and become more involved in their fields… so their mission is right up my alley!  Since becoming a part of the team this summer, I’ve had a TON of fun making great friends with 20-somethings in different houses, through planning creative programming.  I’m also having a blast designing fliers, making good use of my design time and talents.

If you haven’t already, make sure to catch up on the CBC and ECC’s fabulous social media enterprises – Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

3. Made friends with WordPress.org.

One of the biggest hurdles in creating marketing materials for Little Farmer was: what to do about the website?  A website is obviously essential for promoting any business or product, but my knowledge of web design is spotty at best.  I’ve taken a class on Flash, but I gotta admit, coding scares the bejeezus out of me. So I turned to the platform I knew best – WordPress, home of this very blog!  WordPress.org is actually slightly different from its blogging sister WordPress.com. In a day or two, you can create practically any site imaginable, using existing templates, posts and pages, and update new content anytime – hardly any coding required.  The process is worth a separate future post, but here are the first two sites I made:

www.smartcookiestudios.com (using Suffusion theme)
www.anniebethericsson.com (using Blue Bubble theme)

4. Designed a few picture books.

What was I up to at my real job? Designing wonderful titles with Putnam and Nancy Paulsen Books!  In addition to my regularly scheduled board books, anniversary editions and novel interiors, I had the opportunity to have my own picture book assignments.  My first book, Half-Pint Pete the Pirate, was quickly followed by Dave Horowitz‘s hilarious, “spaghetti-western-style” Chico The Brave.  I also was honored to redesign Jan Brett‘s Beauty and the Beast reissue, and also redesign the jackets of a few international imports.  My favorite? The Aussie “new classic”, Maudie And Bear.

5. Freelanced Projects.  

Lastly, I’m happy to report that in addition to my busy schedule and pet app project, I also picked up a few freelance gigs.  Chief among them was an exhibition catalog for the Simms Taback retrospective at the Museum of Ventura County.

I’ll never forget that I was able to get to know Simms and work with him on this 16-page booklet of his work, in the few last months before his death this December.  He was a truly exceptional man with a kind heart, a keen eye for design, and an inspirational wealth of artistic creativity.  It was always wonderful to speak with him, and I loved that he was so involved with every aspect of his craft.  It does give me comfort, though, that before he passed, he saw the publication of his final book, Postcards from Camp, the opening of the exhibit, and travelled with friends and family.  He will be sorely missed!

Read more about Simms’ amazing life and work here.

. . .

And now, looking forward to 2012… keep reading here for more posts, new content, and as always, a love of illustration, books and design all around! 

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Calling All Interested App Folks

Things have been bustling here at the newly-founded Smart Cookie Studios, where our first app is almost ready to be revealed to the world!  We’re going to launch our website and social media soon (Twitter, Facebook), and are prepping for pre-release so we can finally show you all the final art, music and interactivity we’ve been working so much on.

That being said, I want to know – WHO should we tell about our app?? Do you want news and updates about our new venture yourself? Do you have a great app reviewer we should know about?  Know of someone in the industry we should follow on Twitter?  Are a fan of another great app studio? Or blog? Or developer?

I’m looking for any and everyone under the sun, so send me Twitter handles! Facebooks! Websites! Emails! Smoke signals!  I’ll love you forever…

 

Farm Animal Sketch Preview

Wow . . . I am having so much fun working on this recent iPhone app project I’ve been blabbing about. The game app consists of identifying every farm animal under the sun, so I recently completed all the character sketches.  I’m really satisfied with the work I’ve done thus far.  They look like a cute little family!

There’s still much to be done, but in the meantime, enjoy this sneak preview of a few of my favorite farm animals . . . and get your iPhones at the ready for its release this summer!


SCBWI 2011, Part II: Beyond Picture Books, to New Media!

(Oh hey, check out this new Oliver Jeffers’ Heart And The Bottle app!)

Everyone – and I mean, EVERYONE (that’s right, NPR) – is talking about e-books and new media.  While adult e-readers are already a major part of consumer culture, childrens’ apps and e-books are still in their infancy (pun intended).  People seem to have a special concern and defensiveness reserved for the future of kids’ books – after all, who wants their kids’ future reduced to bedtime stories curled up with an IPad?

Most industry professionals and consumers alike agree that traditional children’s books aren’t going anywhere.  For one, buying a two-year-old a Color Nook is a lot less cost-efficient than a $4.99 board book, if all the toddler’s going to do is chew on the corners.  For another, people like the visceral experience of buying a hardcover book and turning its pages, reading aloud themselves instead of pressing a button.

Instead, we’re heading towards more and more options for kids books, and while we adults will have to nervously or excitedly adapt, kids will grow up expecting content on myriad forms of media.

So I commend SCBWI’s Illustrators’ Intensive for making the focus of their annual NYC event “Beyond Books: Picture Books and the New Media“.  Hey, if we don’t know about it, let’s invite some panelists to tell us about it!

As excited as I was about hearing the “Online Presence: A Panel Review of Websites, Blogs and Social Media”, it wasn’t my focus of the day.  Mostly, I was there to hear about the latest digital development shrouded in mystery: apps.  It’s something we all know is the future (SO much cooler than e-books), but we don’t REALLY know how they’re created.  First off, we sat in on the “Development of Apps from Classics” discussion, with panelists Virginia Duncan of Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins) and Colin Hosten of Hyperion/Disney Digital Books.

Ms. Duncan explained the making of Greenwillow’s first app, Freight Train by Donald Crews.  With bold shapes and different views from its companion book, Inside Freight Train, this was a perfect way to get an introduction to all that can be done with an app. Take a simple story, then add movement, games, songs… the sky’s the limit!  Check out storyboards and other making-of tidbits from Freight Train here.

Now, say what you want about Disney’s creepy corporate hold on America, but there’s no denying that they’re best suited for transitioning to new media.  Colin set the tone for the whole Intensive by explaining Disney’s philosophy like this: “It’s not about format, it’s about content.” Whether it’s a book, movie, TV show, game, or app, it’s all telling stories. Not so scary, after all, right? And those that can seamlessly translate their work to many different mediums are those that will survive the shift in technology.

As Kristen McLean said in PW the other day, “kids are omnivorous consumers of media”.  They’re not picking apps over books, they’re doing both – and why shouldn’t we?

The Intensive-closing “Practical Application Panel”, with Lisa Holton of Fourth Story Media and Rick Richter of Ruckus Media, summed it up pretty nicely with some fantastic content they’re creating, that is pushing the boundries of physical books and beyond. The 39 Clues was ground-breaking, for example, but my new favorite is The Amanda Project, a story about an enigmatic girl who goes missing from her new school, leaving 3 “guides” behind to solve the mystery of her disappearance.

On The Amanda Project‘s collaborative website, teens (um, girls) create their own character within the series’ world, discuss clues and theories among themselves, and read weekly short stories. The web stories incorporate readers’ thoughts and original plot twists, so every person on the site has a chance to be published as a part of Amanda’s life. They can even share their own writing and artwork in an online Zine… awesome!

Just as you were wondering what’s the point of it all, at the center of The Amanda Project is a book series – written by different YA authors, and published after all the buzz was created online.  It translates to IPad and IPhone apps, e-books, anything digital… but it all comes back to the original books.  Genius.

Now let’s see a picture book do the same thing!