View Full Version : We made a storybook app using Artrage

Slap Happy Larry
12-08-2011, 11:27 PM
Hi Artragers,

For the past 8 months I've been lurking on your forum without setting up an account, but now that I've finally finished this major art project, I would just like to say a huge, collective THANK YOU to everyone here who has offered hints and advice and shared your resources. Your help has been invaluable.

I don't have an art background, but 8 months ago we decided to create an interactive storybook app for the iTunes store, and I thought it would be fun to learn how to illustrate my own stories. I'd done art courses in senior high school, but not much since then, and I'd never picked up a Wacom pen in my life. At first my digital artwork was a mess because it took a week or two to become confident with the pen, but Artrage is so much fun to use that I kept going back to it, and so I kept getting better.

I still have a LOT to learn artwise, but we're happy to have released our interactive picture book on the iTunes app store today.

The app is called *The Artifacts*, and the story is about a boy called Asaf who loves to collect. (It's for children aged 4 and up.) There's interactivity on pretty much every page, so I made much use of layers. I think some of the files had about 60 or 70 layers (to hold different assets) and even though I have a pretty old PC, Artrage did very well.

When I have learnt the finer details of Artrage Studio Pro I will contribute some art resources of my own by way of proper thanks. In the meantime, here are some screenshots (in no particular order), done entirely in Artrage. For some pages I did need to make use of GIMP for adding things like drop shadows and making colour adjustments, but these pictures were done entirely in Artrage. I've been super impressed at what can be done with such a low-priced piece of software. (And GIMP, of course, is opensource, so free.)

I made use of pretty much everything in the Artrage tool box, but I made the most use of the felt pen and paint roller tools. You may notice from the bottom picture that I even managed to put the gloop pen to use, when painting the jar. I did everything in double iPad size so that when it was halved in size the pictures looked detailed. I think that was a tip I got from these forums, and boy was I glad for that tip, because the iPad screen is high resolution, so art created on cheap PC monitors actually looks better when you see it on iPad for the first time.

Anyway, pleased to meet you all. I fully intend to use Artrage for the next project too, so I hope to hang around some!


12-09-2011, 04:06 AM
These are really fantastic. I look forward to seeing more of your work. Keep it up!!!

12-09-2011, 05:53 AM
This is so great slap happy, how creative you are, looking forward to more:):):)

12-09-2011, 12:16 PM
Excellent! I will look for the app...I am curious now.

Slap Happy Larry
12-09-2011, 10:21 PM
Thanks guys...

You can find The Artifacts here:


If anyone's interested in the process of building a storybook app I'd be more than happy to answer any questions. It was a lot of fun.

12-10-2011, 12:13 AM
Wonderful idea, story and painting

12-13-2011, 01:10 AM
Great use of AR and welcome!

12-13-2011, 08:56 AM
This is just great. Great idea to publish the book for the ipad instead of publishing a printed children picture book.
Could you tell which application you used developing the app?

Slap Happy Larry
12-13-2011, 11:49 PM

Our app, The Artifacts, was coded from the ground up in Objective C, making use of the Cocos2d open source game framework. If you know someone who can code, you can maybe partner up? I know that we are in an especially fortunate position because I'm a writer/illustrator married to a developer. For most people it's a little harder to find someone willing to work with you, especially since it takes many hours of work. So you need to find someone who does it for the love of it.

But there are a few other things you can do.

If you are lucky enough to own a copy of Photoshop CS5 and you're also on the technical side of average (or at least interested enough to learn such things!) there's a plug-in you can buy which allows you to create apps with a limited amount of interactivity. I know of one called Kwiksher (kwiksher.com) - sorry I haven't made enough posts on this forum yet to include hyperlinks. I have no affiliation or experience with this company but I have seen some of the stuff people have done using this plug-in and it looks good. I prefer creating artwork in Artrage than in Photoshop personally, but since you can export Artrage files as .PSD files, I could see someone maybe using Artrage to create a pretty good storybook by doing the art in artrage then the rest in Photoshop. (I have asked the developers of Kwiksher if they're planning on putting out their plug-in for GIMP, but they're a small company, so unfortunately they don't have the resources to do that at present.)

However! If you're not a Photoshop CS5 owner (and I'm not either!) but you ARE a lucky owner of an iPad (either iPad one or two, doesn't matter), and you're interested in making an illustrated eBook, then I would recommend Book Creator for iPad. I won a promocode from them a while back. Their app is $7.49 in the Australian app store, which is a pretty good value option compared to the others. Again, I have no affiliation with these guys, except for winning a promocode via Twitter, but you can find their app in the app store here:


This app would be great to use in conjunction with Artrage, because you could export your artwork from Artrage on your desktop (or just by using the Artrage app, of course), email the pages to yourself (or upload to the cloud) and import the pictures to your iPad photos folder. Book Creator allows you to import those pictures, then to add and position text, and creates an ebook with pages that turn. It's pretty simple to use and so the results are simple too, but I think that's a good thing. It's all about the quality of the art work and the story after all, so with a simple little app like this you COULD come up with something truly amazing.

There are probably other similar apps in the app store, but that is the one I have come across. Let me know if anyone knows of any others...

I hope this helps!

12-14-2011, 01:24 AM
Very impressive paintings:)

12-14-2011, 09:48 AM
Thanks you very much for telling how to create the Book.
Book Creator sound promising...

Will give it a try....

12-14-2011, 11:51 AM
Great idea and great results....