Join Stacey Williams-Ng for an in-depth discussion in this video The Creative Spark: Stacey Williams-Ng, Interactive Book Designer - Film, part of The Creative Spark: Stacey Williams-Ng, Interactive Book Designer.
When illustrating for a children's book, the pictures are really telling the story for kids. (music playing) To me, it's really more about trying to get a perfect line or a perfect gesture so that I can tell a story. There's a wide-open opportunity, in my mind, to create literature for the iPad, ro create children's literature that really takes advantage of the iPad format. It's not just shoved into the dimensions of an iPad; it's using that technology to tell the story better.
(music playing) I am Stacey Williams-Ng and here we are, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in my home studio. I have found a job where it pays to know how to paint, it pays to know how to run a business, and it pays to know how to design a page and deal with type. All of those things are happening in this profession right now, and I feel like I am at the center of that right now.
I went from a kid who wanted to draw to an older kid who wanted to be a painter, whose parents said, "Don't be a painter, you should be a graphic designer, so you can make some money." And then I went to graphic design school, and then I thought I discovered illustration. "Hey, now I can paint again." And then my own lecturer said, "Oh, don't do illustration. There is no money in illustration." And he probably mean it as an off-the-cuff comment, but it changed to the entire direction of my young life, and I went into graphic design, thinking, okay, now I know what I am going to do.
I am going to do logos and posters and brochures and things like that, and then I found the opportunity to do multimedia. And I just keep getting sort of knocked off course all the time. In 2010, I was on a little bit of a sabbatical, doing illustrations, just doing some freelance work, and my friend who knew me from my web design days in Chicago contacted me because it was 2010 and the iPad had just come out and they had an idea.
They were doing a start-up software to use the iPad for children's books, and that got me very interested. (music playing) On a project I am working on right now-- it's a children's book about a boy who goes to the opera with his granddad--the setting almost becomes a character. Today at the opera we actually got to see how the seats are arranged, and it's actually way better than what I imagined because it gives a lot more room for typography.
There is no character design for this lady, but every kid that lands on this page is going to check out this lady. Children are wonderful art connoisseurs, and that's why I really like doing children's book, because a kid will look at your painting and look at your painting and find every little thing about it. This is my audience. They are extremely demanding, but I love them. That's why I try and make every animation on the page meaningful, to reinforce something that's really happening in the story.
So, if grandpa is snoozing, his head dipping down and snoozing is really where our attention needs to lie. This painting, as it exists, will have no boy in it and no head on grandpa, because it's only a background. It gets photographed or scanned as a layer, and so what I'll have to add later, there will be several frames of Luigi and Grandpa's head and those all get cut out in Photoshop and they become layers, and they come into the scene. (music playing) The animations themselves, the sounds, and the effects, and all the interactivity is created on the iPad and not on a desktop computer.
This is a page from a book that I am working on, a storybook app called A Troop Is a Group of Monkeys. I am actually creating an app using an app, and I am getting instant feedback. It's a really tactile experience for design. So as I think about the composition, I also have to think about, what are some things that can happen and what are some ways we can bring the reader, our young reader, into the story to affect the story line? What is he going touch and play with to see things happen? And I think that makes it a very special kind of device and a very special kind of device for consuming literature, because literature is such a personal thing.
Good to see you again! Working with Demibooks Studio and seeing the work that was coming in started to inspire me about going out there and finding better work. All these thoughts are rising through my head about how much better the stories could be and only finding just a precious few that I found really moving. So I decided that I wanted to launch my own publishing house. That's how the Little Bahalia Publishing was born. I want to give an author or give an illustrator an opportunity and just advocate this new medium to them.
Male Speaker: So these are the notes and you tap on the notes. Maybe they are going to get bigger or they are going to glow. Stacey Williams-Ng: We've got to think of what a tomato would do. There is actually a really cool feature in Composer that allows you to do something called a Joint Physics object. The Physics object is when something can bounce around, like a beachball right around the page--we've talked about that--but you can apply a joint to it, meaning it will join it to a point on the screen, and on the tomatoes, like you could touch and they could go bo-ing.
Male Speaker: Yeah, yeah. Stacey Williams-Ng: Little Bahalia is not about me publishing my own work; it's about seeing an opportunity for creative people who have a similar vision that I have to create really interesting work, and now I am seeing opportunities to just--everybody should be doing these books. (music playing) Today I started my new class at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. I am teaching a class called Interactive Book Design for the iPad.
My enthusiasm and the enthusiasm of the chair of the department were both based on the same premise of "Wouldn't be this be great for students?" So few students have this opportunity. It's dovetailing into the illustration department and the animation department to really do books, children's books. I am very excited about that because I've learned so much in the last two years, and I am only just now realizing how unique that knowledge is. The whole idea of this iPad, that children switch to the iPad, is just magical and different and it's wide open.
Here we have this opportunity in Milwaukee to start making literature for children, and I really see that as my mission here. The story of my professional life seemed, for the longest time, to just be all over the place. Now I am a graphic designer, now I am a painter, now I am an illustrator. And finally, I am using all of those talents in one thing: it's interactive books for the iPad.
My hidden focus all this time was storytelling through pictures.