My son and I have collaborated on five books including: My First Train Book, My First Fire Truck Book, My First Space Book, and ABC Train. As we wrote our last book my son, José, began telling his own stories from time to time. On one particular occasion I had my phone handy and captured him telling a fantastical and nonsensical adventure he called The Fire Truck and the Moon.
When José finished telling his story, he turned to me and asked if I would “make it into a book for the iPad.” Of course I said “yes” and that evening I began creating an animatic using his audio and some sketches.
I showed him the video and he watched it a million times (not a hyperbole).
And that’s how it began.
Putting it together
Given my poor art skills and the variety of characters in my son’s story I began looking at “How to draw” tutorials. For months I would sketch a character and run the drawing by José, who would give it a thumbs up or down.
Honestly, the “learning to draw” part took the most time. For the sketches I used a good old fashioned pencil and paper. Draw, erase, trash, start over, repeat. Over and over. Eventually, after getting the drawings right (and by that I mean to my son’s liking), I relied on the iPad app, Brushes, to bring them to life. For a few assets, I used the iPad vector drawing app, iDraw. Lastly, and because Brushes and iDraw export their projects as PSDs, I imported all the drawings into Photoshop where I spent countless hours cleaning things up.
Once the pages were finalized in Photoshop, I saved them as PNGs, and assembled them using the epub creator iPad app, Book Creator. The last piece required the addition of sound files. I used Book Creator’s “add sound” functionality to add José’s full length audio version along with a few Easter eggs on pages where he made sound effects (only available in the iBook as the Kindle doesn’t support embedded audio).
The final version
Download the book!
Click to start reading The Fire Truck and the Moon via the iBookstore (iPod touch, iPhone, iPad, and iPad mini)
Click to start reading The Fire Truck and the Moon via the Amazon Kindle Store today (available for Kindle Devices, Kindle Cloud Reader, and the Kindle app for iPad and Android)
A big thanks (again) to my son for the brilliant story, inspiration, and criticism, and to my wife (again) for putting up with me (and my son) throughout the process.
Got thoughts on The Fire Truck and the Moon? Share ’em below or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.