Little RED RIDING Hood

Speakaboos created more than 30 original interactive stories for children age 2 to 6. All animation and interactivity was carefully crafted to support engagement and comprehension of the story.

In my role as the Art Director for these interactive stories, I determined the overall style or tone desired for each project and articulated this vision to illustrators, graphic artists and animators. Aiming to offer a wide range of styles for the art, I worked closely with the Animation Director and developers to implement these interactive stories.

My goal was to offer a variety of illustrations styles suitable for the look and feel of the story, sell it to the rest of the team, select an illustrator to execute that vision and was guide them to create animation-ready assets on time and on budget.

Creating an original interactive story was the result of a the Learning Team who came up with the script, the Art and Animation Team in charge of the production of the story, and a few developers who would use different Frameworks to be able to offer the app on the Web, iOS and Android. Here is an overview of our process for Little Red Riding Hood.

Little Red Riding Hood meets the wolf, as retold by Speakaboos.

Illustration: Hannah Marks

Animation: Titmouse Studios

Sound Design: Robert Hahn


Finding an Illustrator for the story

I start researching an illustrator for the story as soon as the manuscript is far along enough to be shared. The characters’ personality, the settings, the pacing of the action and most importantly the tone of the dialogues all inspire me to come up with a thesis for the look and feel of the story. I think of the characters, with their unique body shape and facial features, as actors who will be able to emote the particular tone of the story. I also look at the background needs to better tell the story. I also look for expressive, unique artwork that will enhance our catalog and set us apart from our competition. The Animation Director and I also evaluate the unique technical advantages or challenges of a particular style of artwork.

Once I get the buy-in from the larger team the look and feel of the story, I come up with a list of illustrators whose style will be suitable and I discuss budget and timeline with them until someone agrees to the project.

The manuscript

The manuscript

I come up with several recommendations for illustrators, and the team and I weight the pros and cons of each of them

I come up with several recommendations for illustrators, and the team and I weight the pros and cons of each of them


GETTING THE ART ANIMATION READY

Early sketches for the whole cast of characters

Early sketches for the whole cast of characters

Hannah Marks, the illustrator for Little Red Riding Hood, works digitally in Photoshop and incorporate unique photographic textures to her artwork. Coming from a print background, she nonetheless quickly understood the process and requirements of making digital art for animation. The Animation Team and I collaborated and researched how we would open up the raster shapes created in Photoshop and translate them to vector art filled with photographic textures in in Flash/Animate.

All character art is set up as a turn-around, with several sets of mouth shapes, eye-lids. Separate texture cards are provided to the animators in order for them to create additional in-betweens.

All character art is set up as a turn-around, with several sets of mouth shapes, eye-lids. Separate texture cards are provided to the animators in order for them to create additional in-betweens.

I used my animation and illustration background to pitch in and create mouth shapes for the wolf lip-synch. I love the challenge of working in someone else’s unique style.

I used my animation and illustration background to pitch in and create mouth shapes for the wolf lip-synch. I love the challenge of working in someone else’s unique style.


Kid-testing to refine the Art

1. A freelancer or the in-house designer create sketches for initial kid-testing

1. A freelancer or the in-house designer create sketches for initial kid-testing

2. The results of kid-testing make their way into the manuscript, and into the next round of sketches created by the illustrator of the story

2. The results of kid-testing make their way into the manuscript, and into the next round of sketches created by the illustrator of the story

The action is too far from the user. Luckily, the illustrator works at twice the resolution and can implement the changes without having to redraw the art

The action is too far from the user. Luckily, the illustrator works at twice the resolution and can implement the changes without having to redraw the art

Final touches: A check on the background/characters relationship. Can you spot the 100 differences?

Final touches: A check on the background/characters relationship. Can you spot the 100 differences?