Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Spot the Dot demo

This concept app for toddlers occupies the space where book meets game...it’s interesting to see the sketches and storyboards by pop-up book author-illustrator David A. Carter:

I heard about this video by reading the transcript of the most recent #storyappchat on Twitter. If you’re interested in talking about book apps, the chat is on Sunday nights at 9 pm EST. In the first two weeks, several apps have been given away so that’s always fun! Follow @storyappchat to find out what the topic is every week.

Loreen Leedy
my web site

Monday, May 30, 2011

It's easy to sync iPad Notes with your Mac

Thank goodness, because during our recent vacation, I used the iPad Notes app to record zillions of ideas for ebooks and apps, plus started outlining my June 25th presentation for the Florida SCBWI, Picture Book Apps: New Options for Content Creators

You can email individual notes to yourself, but that’s a bit of a pain. By syncing, all of the Notes are transferred with one action:

In case you can’t read the above image for any reason, here’s the info:

How to sync Notes from your iPad to your Mac:

1. Connect the iPad to your computer and launch iTunes.

2. Click on Info tab in iTunes, scroll down, and under Other, check the box next to Sync notes.

3. Click the Sync button on lower right in iTunes to initiate the transfer.

A new Reminders section will appear in Mail, containing all of your notes.

Via Know Your Cell

Another thing I experimented with while on the road was sketching app ideas with the SketchBook Pro app for iPad. Since I don’t have a stylus (yet?) it’s pretty clunky to draw with any app, plus a mobile app is hard-pressed to compete with Photoshop or other full-featured painting software. For now, I’ll be sticking to pencil and paper for quick drawings. : )

Loreen Leedy
my web site

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


After my initial  post about how difficult is is to make picture books with long texts into apps for small screens, I decided to challenge myself and try to reformat one of my books to work well in this medium.  I chose Cinderella, as I could see many opportunities for the interactive elements required for an app. 

 PicPocket Books was interested in producing it,  and I hired my programmer/animator daughter to create animated sparkles on the pages where there is "fairy dust." PicPocket planned to add lots of nice sound effects that you discover by tapping the pictures. The challenge still lay in the length of text. A picture book double spread averages 11x17 inches. Shrinking the whole thing down would create text too small to read. In my other apps the narrator reads the story while the text is shown alone, then alternating with a picture, and I felt that these were more like audiobooks with occasional pictures than  interactive apps. I wanted to have a picture shown on every page, but how to fit all those darn words??

My solution was to crop each picture from the book in a number of ways so that the longer text would be spread out over multiple pages. I decided that a vertical format would allow more room for text. Above is a double-spread from the original picture book, and below are the three scenes I created from it for the app.
This is the right hand side of the page reversed. I tried to leave close to half of each picture for the text to overprint.

In this case I cropped in and screened back the bottom of her dress for the text to overprint.

And here the text will be white against the dark grass.

 Here is an actual screen shot from the iPad app.  (If you tap the castle in the app you hear a waltz, the fairy dust sparkles around the coach, and I think the horses clip-clop and neigh. ) This was the original copyright/dedication page which I was able to incorporate into the app. There were 15 double-page illustrations and one single page for the picture book. The app has 36 pages. It did require some creativity to make this work, and overall I feel it is a nice package. The app has received some very good reviews. Whew. Just a few folks said it was slow to load, and PicPocket is looking into that. 
I spent around 5 days reformatting the pictures, and I feel it was worth the experiment. My hope is that even though it does not have as many bells and whistles as heavily interactive apps, it will hopefully still do well.  The nice thing about digital media is that an app or an ebook will probably be available for many more years than the book in print. Cinderella is currently out of print as a picture book, so this app has brought it back to life - and it sparkles!

Ruth Sanderson