Illustrators can now jump with both feet into digital publishing with the help of some free software and a contest launched by InteractBooks.com
“What better way to showcase all that our InteractBuilder e-book software can do on the iPad and iPhone than holding a contest to find the very best interactive book it can make?” asks the Interact Books website .
“And who better than you to produce this book by using your developer talent and our app software for the Mac and PC?”
A Youtube video doesn’t do the reading experience justice, but an actual iPad encounter with The Tortoise and the Hairpiece by Don Winn, illustrated by Toby Heflin and distributed on the Apple iTunes store demonstrates how the touch screen interactions and subtle animations of an interactive book (let’s call it an i-book) make for a whole new storytelling language.
I-books or interactive e-books aren’t quite the same as the e-books now making headlines for trouncing paperbacks in sales at Amazon.com.
They’re a new animal, maybe a new art form nd it may be months or even years before anyone knows where this fusion of tactile interactivity and literacy is going, commercially or aesthetically speaking.
Developers and a few publishers are delving into the format, but no leader for an interactive book-building engine or platform has emerged — yet.
In the meantime Austin, Texas based-InteractBooks wants to push the innovation timeline up a little by launching the first ever contest for an interactive children’s book. Entries must be built with their free InteractBuilder software.
- First place prize – 16gb white or black WIFI iPad2, or $500. lnteractBooks will also publish your title and give you a three year membership in the InteractBuilder community (a $300 value)
- 2nd Place wins a 32gb iPodTouch or $200* and a two-year membership to the InteractBuilder community.
- 3rd Place yields a $100 Best Buy Gift Card and a one-year membership to the InteractBuilder community.
All runners up and anyone entering the contest with an InteractBuilder-approved book will have a free year’s membership in the InteractBooks builders community.
The deadline is September 18 and the winner will be announced October 1, which doesn’t give you much time.
That’s why the InteractBook folks are encouraging illustrators and authors to mull over the books they’ve already done, published or unpublished, with pictures and text ready to go — and see how they might adapt their story to this new media.
“Do you have a picture book already in print that lends itself to interactivity? What about an illustrated story that’s just prime for animated graphics and coloring, tapping, and swiping on a tablet? Have you always wanted to make an e-book?” the website asks.
Read the contest details here.
Yes, I’m one of the judges for the contest. So I can tell you ahead of time what we’ll be evaluating your submission on:
1) A theme that’s enhanced for readers through interactivity
2) A well-written script that is different from the norm
3) Visuals and illustrations in keeping with InteractBooks’ high-quality standards
4) The ability to leverage the technology of smartphone devices and tablets
5) Effective use of music and sound effects (yes, the books can include sound, voice and video, too!)
6) Voice narration of text recommended but not required
7) An easy to read script by a child and/or parent
Remember, education and entertainment are the basic ingredients. Try to have your picture elements’ interactive behaviors fit in with your story, or better yet, help move the story forward. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of building your own book from Photoshop files, team up with a programmer or someone who’s already working with the InteractBuilder software. Read more details on the contest press release.
And good luck! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Lisa’s dragon takes flight
You remember Lisa Falkenstern, the illustrator who needed help coming up with a name for her new picture book. She sought our suggestions and reactions to some of the picture book title ideas that she and her editor at Marshall Cavendish were batting around?
Well it’s out! And, yes, it has a title. Lisa’s celebrating with a book launch party this Saturday at Clinton Book Shop, 12 East Main St., Clinton, New Jersey. Reserve your book for signing by the author-illustrator by calling 908-735-8811.
Lisa thanks everyone who participated in our June 1, 2010 poll to vote for and suggest titles for her book.
Tchaikovsky and Duke Ellington meet Don Tate
There’s a wonderful post with pictures in the Vermont College Journal of Fine Arts, Hunger Mountain by Austin, Texas children’s book author-illustrator Don Tate. In it, he shows us how he came to grips with an assignment to illustrate Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite by Anna Harwell Celenza (Charlesbridge Publishing.)
Don writes that the nonfiction picture book due to be published later in the year tells how composers Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, “collaborated to reinvent a holiday tradition, by remaking Tchaikovsky’s famous Nutcracker Suite into a jazz album.”
“I’d studied jazz album covers of the 1960s, artists like Jim Flora, David Stone Martin, Cliff Roberts. They employed very loose, whimsical ink-line techniques, overlaying solid colors or washes. I wanted to achieve that same look without getting too cartoony in style,” Tate says.
After a rocky start and facing a punishingly tight deadline, Don pulled out a tour de force of brilliant ink line art with bright watercolor wash.
The post is generously illustrated with Don’s photos of his work-in-progress in his work space. You’ll see it here.
How do you draw a “werearmadillo” ?
Here’s a great Newsarama.com interview with best-selling YA author Cynthia Leitich Smith and illustrator Ming Doyle on their graphic novel debut Tantalize: Kieran’s story (Candlewick) that’s due in stores August 23rd.
Smith, who has written successful children’s picture books as well as YA novels nutshells her script for us:
“When the beloved chef at a vampire-themed Italian restaurant is murdered, the crime scene suggests that killer was a werewolf. Unfortunately for our hero Kieren Morales—a teenage human-Wolf hybrid, he happens to be the person who discovers the body and calls the police. That makes Kieren a prime suspect,” Smith says.
“But in an underworld where vampires can take wolf form and other shifters (the werecat, werebear, werevulture…) stroll Austin’s streets, who’s to say the killer was a Wolf at all? While Kieren tries to solve the murder, his best friend Quincie is courted by a new, too-charming chef who baits the young Wolfman at every turn.”
Wiener Wolf book release (and dog costume party)
It was Saturday, July 2, 11:30 a.m. (Hot dogs were served for lunch.)
Author-illustrator Jeff Crosby reads from his picture book Wiener Wolf (Hyperion.)
Hear Jeff and Shelly talk about their art-making process here.
Keep up with the summer bumper crop of new picture books by Austin, Texas illustrators and authors.
Late last year I interviewed InteractBooks founders Ezra Weinstein and Richard Johnson as they were launching their company. You can see parts of the video interview here.
Listen to the NPR interview with Erin and Phillip Stead, illustrator and author of the 2011 Caldecott Medal picture book, A Sick Day for Amos.
Read the team blog wrap of highlights and see work by the conference portfolio winners from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) 40th Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles, which ended Monday.
Patrice Barton and Shutta Crum team up for Mine!
Illustrator Patrice Barton’s artwork for Mine! has been accepted into the Society of Illustrators Original Art Exhibit, 2011.
Patty was recently interviewed for Mark Mitchell's online, self-paced course on children's book illustration, Make Your Splashes - Make Your Marks! You'll see an excerpt from the video discussion next time on the blog.
Study buddies help
Now you can enroll in Mark’s course and bring a study buddy with you.
The new study team option (a near “2 for 1” deal) will come in handy as the course enters a new, expanded tech phase on illustrating for interactive e-books for smart phones and iPads. You can check that out here.
To learn a “magic secret” for improving your drawing quickly, go here.