So it’s been quite a year to say the least, full of ups and downs.
The creative journey of bringing something out into the public sphere can feel a little like having someone shaking your hand whilst stealing your wallet. It’s also a little like being gently tickled then suddenly slapped. The tickling starts again but, understandably, you’re a bit more cautious this time. That’s ok. Everything seems to be fine … slap … aaand back to tickle. Optimism cautiously puts a crash helmet on and takes a deep breath…
This is the year we released our first interactive publication, Galdo’s Gift. It gave us a chance to really see what our respective skills could produce. Could we create a complete all-round product that would engage it’s audience? Would we be able to work creatively together without throwing our iMacs at each other? Would anyone notice what we’d done? Thankfully, mostly, yes.
Much to our relief, we found we could create and complete a unique interactive story and develop our own style and techniques whilst doing so. Something that we could carry forward to future projects. We learnt our respective roles, Eleanor creating the beautiful sets, with myself creating the character work.
Getting noticed was, and still is, a monumental challenge. The traditional literary world can be a frosty place, especially when your work does not fit within the traditional bounds of printed literature. It took us a long while to realise that. There can be a mindset when it comes to books, and that mind is quite firmly set, in many cases, on print and the printed page. We get it, we understand. We love print books too. In a way Galdo’s Gift was a homage to print but we’ve learnt that we were maybe pushing our wares too much to the wrong crowd.
In April there was a welcome refocus onto our first outside job for Tapocketa Studio; Welcome to Tallowmere. The challenge was to create an interactive webpage using the haunting artwork of Keaton Henson, a talented musician on the behalf of Faber Music Ltd. There is a lot that you discover about your abilities when you are set such a challenge. Our own artwork style is poles apart from Keaton’s. In fact it was hard to see just how Faber had made the mental leap from our work to his, but it was a chance to show how we could adapt. The result was a landing page that animated Keaton’s work into life and was a big part of a successful publicity campaign for his book; a collection of his artworks, poetry and music (the book has a headphone jack to enable you to listen to Keaton’s specially composed music). It was a joy to work on.
Over Summer we worked hard on expanding our contacts, creating content for our channels and meeting real people at a number of festival events.
Then came a monumental October. October was an eventful month with the wonderful surprise of finding out that we had been nominated for six Digital Book World Awards. Seeing our names alongside Disney and Netflix was a bit of a shock and we were delighted to go on to win four, including best book overall for Galdo’s Gift. The same month saw us pick up a gold medal in the enhanced ebook/app category at the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. And, as if that wasn’t enough, sign with a big worldwide illustration/animation agency that, out of thousands of applications a month, picks ten -a year.
So was that the end of it for October? Nope (..really liked October). It was also the month that we linked up with someone who, as a developer of publication software with his sights firmly set on the future, offers really exciting opportunities for up-and-coming collaboration. Watch this space.
In November, we prepared Galdo’s Gift for the build up for Christmas with a mini printed companion guide to the digital storybook. Gifting digital presents can be a slightly impersonal process; essentially you are sending an email. With the printed guide the whole experience of gifting is enhanced, you get to send something tangible through the post. The guide has extra details about the book and it’s characters, things to spot that you might not have noticed and is even signed by the authors (I know, so cool, huh?). Oh, plus you get some cool free character stickers.
The very final part of the year has been all about preparation for the new one. Everything is aligning to make 2019 a year of exciting potential, innovation and collaboration. We look forward to sharing it with you.
Hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a truly wonderful New Year.
Trevor & Eleanor