Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Stephen Silver promotes the new app

When character designer Stephen Silver emailed me to tell me how much he enjoyed my drawing books I was really honored. I first came to know Stephen through his online classes at I took both his cartooning class and his self publishing course. Both courses I highly recommend. When I began publishing my own books I was sure to mail Stephen a copy. I never really thought he would respond, but he always emailed a thank you and some encouraging words. Then one day, just before Christmas, I get an email about working on an app with him and his programming friend, Johnny Byrnes. So a few conference calls of brain storming and off I was drawing all the animations and drawing steps for the app. Now I have illustrated a ton of books, animated commercials, designed toys, games, and even created giant illustration work for delivery trucks, but this was a whole new animal. Creating an app is not easy, it's not hard, it's not tricky, but it needs to have tricks to make it interesting. I don't know how to describe it. I guess the thing I always like about books is that you have limitations. First, you have the physical nature of the book. The size, page count, and maybe cost of printing sort of limits what you can do and then you have to play within those rules to make a great book or at least one that will interest people and make them want to turn the pages. An app has none of those limitations. There was no expense to produce the app, there were no page or content limitations and the size is really not an issue either since you can pinch to make things big or small or scroll left, right, up or down making the image on the screen unlimited in size. So you have this amazing playground to work with but there is one catch, you have to make it easy and intuitive that a child can pick it up and use it. Not only a child, but a child anywhere in the world, so you must work with a language barrier too. The first thing I was clear on and was happy to hear Stephen on board with is that kids would not draw on the app. Drawing on the iPad is tough. Now I know people can do it, but I sure can't. Plus, I wanted an app where four or five kids could gather around and draw the same character. I also wanted the app to not only teach kids how to draw my characters, but to encourage them to draw their very own characters. So, if you have kids and you want something fun and creative for them to do try my brand new app Drawing Animals With Numbers for the iPad and the iPhone.
Steve Harpster

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