How To Make A Story App – Step 6

How To Make A Story App – Step 6

scroll down or click links for step one, two, three, four, five and five.5

 Record the voice narration.

Hire a professional voice actor or do it yourself. 

On my last app “I Eat You” I used the iPad app “Tiny Vox” to record my own voice – making all the crazy fish voices and generally making a fool of myself. It was fun but now I’m in app making 2.0 and for Gary’s Place I decided to hire a professional!

On your first you may want to boot strap it and find free voices.

But back to Tiny Vox – wow! what a cool app for only a couple of bucks. If you’re on a budget you can get good clean sound tracks with this little gem. The built in noise cancellation leaves the front and back end of your sound clips hiss free.

But I got really lucky that I ran into Tabitha Thompson from a class I taught. She was looking into the whole process of leveling up her illustration skills as she’s already a talented writer. I mentioned that I was looking for voice work and she said she would love to provide a sample – it was amazing – I only found out after the recordings that she was trained professionally. It pays to open your mouth.

Tabitha Thompson has an advanced-level degree in theater from Cambridge, England, and has worked as a professional actor, singer, and dancer since 1989. You can contact or email her at tabitha.voiceact at icloud dot com. (it’s in code to save her from SPAM


It may affordable to hire a professional voice actor. 

Then I worried that I wouldn’t be able to afford her – but her rates were really reasonable – so I paid for 3 hours of her time which included driving down from Salt Lake. Then I paid for an hour of time with a sound studio. Since I’m in app creation 2.0 I wanted to leave no stone un-turned. If that figure of speech works for that. My goal in making this app is to give reviewers, moms, dads, kids, peers, very little to find fault with.  I tried to give as little input as possible during the recording since I’m really just an illustrator. I told myself, “Let Tabitha feel free to explore her art as you enjoy being left alone to explore yours.” The result was really fun. Being the professional she is -she nailed it on the second take. I only asked her to re-read a few lines twice and as she wouldn’t have understood without seeing the illustrations.

I used a professional sound guy as I wanted the best quality.

The sound guy (Ryan Haldeman part of the “kid history – youtube” team and part of the FolioAcademy team)  used (my favorite large file sharing site) to send me the voice recordings. Then I used Audacity to cut the long sound files into page segments. We all thought it would make a better product to have Tabitha read the entire manuscript – rather than break each page for my convenience. I think it gave her a much better flow and rhythm…and it’s super easy to cut the file on your PC or Mac.

Audacity is a free program you can download and you can learn what you need in about 20 min by watching various youtube videos. Want to learn how to cut a file? Just ask youtube: “how to cut file audacity” then watch a 5 year old lay it out – could you have predicted this 20 years ago? Ha! Oh – one little trick with Audacity. You’ll want to export your files in mp3 format (if you’re working with Kwik) – BUT Audacity can’t do that for you because of the pesky royalty Audacity would have to pay to let you do that – instead – try to export to mp3 from Audacity anyway – Audacity came up with a link when you try to save that takes you to a 3rd party web page where you can download a tiny program that works behind the scenes with Audacity to magically create mp3 files – in fact after you install that second program you can just export mp3s right from Audacity.

Stay tuned as I’ll keep sharing my progress on “Gary’s Place” which I plan to submit to Apple, Google, Amazon, etc. in a few weeks. I’ll continue to blog about this process even sharing my sales stats when it hits the various app stores! If you’re wondering where the first steps are I started this project a while back, in September 2013 I think. so just scroll down or click the following links and you can check out my other steps.

Now available, Step 7.
here are the links for step onetwothreefourfive and five.5


Where Are My Freelance ArtJobs?

Will Terry you are a man much wiser than your age. You could not be more right about the times we live in and what we each as both artists and businessmen must do to earn our share of the profits out there. ~Steven Watson

I’v been blessed as an artist but… 

I have been blessed with many connections in the illustration world and many more since I started this blogging a few years back and those connections seem to be growing. Every day I get asked questions related to the freelance illustration markets -from how to improve the craft of illustration to how to find markets and clients and I spend a fair amount of my time answering them. I enjoy this time each day.

I’ve turned down Projects. 

In the past month I have been offered three different freelance projects for publishing companies all of which I turned down due to the lack of budgets. I don’t want to seem ungrateful – beyond the fact that it’s flattering to be wanted – I realize that I’m in a different position than many illustrators since I’ve been at this a while and have spread out my income streams. I defend the right of our clients to offer what’s in their own best interest as we must decide to accept or reject based on our best interests. Some people complain about the price of a water bottle at the gas station…but they don’t have to buy it. But it’s the latest offering that I wanted to discuss.

While art ed is still costly, Commissions are dropping.

If you’ve gone through an illustration program on a University or art school level you know that illustration rates have either stayed the same over the last 100 years or gone down. The offering I received this week was half of what I used to get paid from that particular client. This made it very easy to turn down but that’s not the point. The point is that what I’ve been saying (see my “Tips for Illustrators” blog posts) is coming true. Prices that have at least “held” for decades are now going the other direction. We are competing on a global scale at many levels. With the ability for individual artists to publish their own music, books, videos, etc the big companies are having to adapt to the competition. It’s one reason entertainers like Jimmy Kimmel are releasing anonymous videos on youtube (like twerking girl catches on fire) to generate traffic back to his show. And have you seen the new “Cary” ad? My favorite prank yet. Our clients – the people we want to hire us are suffering from the noise just like we are – they are competing with us when we release our own products.

but wait, there’s more. Continue reading

Tips for New Illustrators and Art Students Part 3

 12 tips for New Illustrators and Art Students Part 3

Artist Paul Mann hard at work in his studio.

Artist Paul Mann hard at work in his studio.

            -1 Things I’ve Done as an Artist

Getting What You Want as an Artist

There are people out there who ask me ‘Other than being a big mouth and starting a YouTube channel what have you done?’ (And if there aren’t there should be, because it’s a valid question)

I started Folio Academy with my good friend Wayne Andreason, where we sell video tutorials. I have made 3 e-books, (see here, here and here) which have sold over 50,000 copies on amazon and Barns & Noble.

A story app called “I Eat You” for iPad and iPhone.

The school of visual storytelling.  With Jake Parker, where we teach live online classes.

Now I am working on an app called Gary’s Place, about a gopher who lives beyond his means.  I am working very hard on that right now. (Fall 2013) I even have my son Aaron learning how to program and animate for that. Yes I’ll pay him for his work.

These are things I’ve picked myself, and I’ve decide that I will try, and if it fails then so what? I can move on to something else.

Now as for helping you, I want to tell you.

                2- ‘Wealth is created in your spare time.’

Think about that a little bit, and my follow up is, I want you to ask yourself what you think you need.

If you could look into the future and see yourself after you’ve finished an amazing project. That is having great commercial success. And aside from all the money you’re making, and the conferences you’ve been asked to speak at, and the recognition and awards.

Now after seeing all that, if you could see what it took to get there,

Would you give up some of your Friday and Saturday nights to work on your art?

Would you live in a smaller apartment or house so you could work less at a job, and work more on your art?

Would you go for a cheaper cell phone, and save money to apply towards your art projects?

Would you spend less time watching TV and movies for your art, and I mean a Lot less time?

Would you play fewer or no video games for your art?

And if you are not willing to give up those things then I want you to say this and see how it sounds and feels coming out.

“I would rather hang out with my friends, spend this money, hang out with friends, watch TV, and play video games than have my dreams come true about becoming a (state your dream here)”

I see a lot of my students wasting time, and I’ll come clean I used to be addicted to Star Craft.  I lost two years of my life to that stupid game.  I have come to the point that if a game is really good, I can’t play it, because I don’t have the time for it.

You need to be able to fall in love with your art and creating your art.  Not the things that will keep you away from it.

        3- Make Great Art

The first step, as author Neil Gaiman said is ‘Make great art.’

That’s the first step, but it’s not the only step and it’s not an easy step.  It takes a lot of practicing, and work, a lot of NOT surfing on the internet.  A lot of just sitting down, drawing and painting and working on your craft.

If you’re starting out right now, you may not be making great art.  Nobody starts out great.  The idea of child prodigies in art is a debunked myth. An artist like Mozart who has had movies made about him, and books and is really well known was virtually unknown for the first ten years of his career.

Next step is… Continue reading


How To Make A Story App – Step 5.5

Finish the artwork.

(for earlier steps scroll down or click the following links)

How to Make a Story App – Step 1
Scene of Gary in his little house.

Shoooeeeee – that took a while! But it was worth it… I hope.

I’m not going to even try to explain how much fun I’ve had with the art work in this story app…like…nope…not going to even try. But Hey, I had a LOT of fun.

Of course it has been an incredible commitment and sacrifice. Lots of work with little or no guarantee of financial reward. I even had to turn down PAYING work and slack on my duties at FolioAcademy to have enough time to work on it – which will cause some to question my sanity. But those same people will probably say it was a good move if this pans out financially.

Do I suffer form insanity? Nope, I enjoy it.
Show me any thing of value in this world that didn’t come with some crazy idea and a lot of sacrifice? For me the journey is worth it alone. I’m content because I’m seeing my idea come to life. How many people can say that? Will it make money? We’ll find out as I plan to publish all my sales figures right here on this blog. Get ready to say, “I TOLD YOU SO!”This week I’ll be adding text and finding sounds…
Now available, Step 6.

Tips for Illustrators & Students Part 2: Why Are You an Artist?

We are Artists Because IT USED TO BE FUN!

I became and Artist cuz art is fun.

I became and Artist cuz art is fun.

I want to start this by asking you, how did you get into art?  What made you start producing art?  Was it just for fun? Were you just a kid?  Did you get into art because people asked you to draw things for them?  I honestly doubt that you got into art because other people asked you to. Most of us got into art to make cool stuff and because it was fun and fulfilling.

There is much amazing stuff out there, and we looked out at it and decided we wanted to make our own and show it to the world.

Do you want to be an Illustrator, an Artist, or an Employee? 

Art is fun.

Art is fun.

Yet so many artists who have spent so long learning, and practicing get to a certain point, like when they’re about to finish school, and they start thinking about getting out of school, becoming an Artist, an illustrator, or just thinking about how to make money with their art skills.

After that all of a sudden we want to get hired. So we can get paid. So we can eat. We want to be employees.  We start looking for someone else to tell us what to do (or draw) so we can make a living, and so we can eat.

We get asked to draw something that isn’t fun or we get asked to do something that takes away from our vision.

What can I do To Make Money as an Artist?

I don’t want to discourage you, there is nothing wrong with working with and helping other people. I want to help open your mind to other possibilities.

It started with students across the country, and now it’s students all over the world. People want to be hired.

The main thing I am asked is, “what can I draw to make money?” I think it’s backwards, is that why we became artist? I’m not saying it’s inherently wrong, but it’s not why we started.

I’m in a position now that I can pick and choose. I’ve put in a lot of work that I ended up hating but I’ve also put a lot of work into my children’s books that I’ve really enjoyed, and I enjoyed the people I’ve worked with.


But is that the only way or are there other things that we can do? Have you ever thought that musicians, authors, actors, videographers, and gallery artists are more entrepreneurial than illustrators. Think about that, are they?

What is wrong with Illustrators.  And this is a generalization. Musicians move to Austin, or Nashville, or they record in a friend’s house, and now with the internet a lot of them are starting their own YouTube channels. Comedians are starting their own YouTube channels. Actors move to Hollywood or start YouTube channels, Gallery-Artists make something and try to get someone to buy it. Writers write something and hope publishers buy it, or they publish it on Amazon and sell it directly. Like Amanda Hopkins.

Illustrators Want to be hired, commissioned, or just get a job. 

What’s the difference between us Illustrators, and all the other artists? Ask yourself and try to answer that question. A graphic designer decided to publish his own small books. I have a friend who owns a graphic design studio, and we first started working together about ten, fifteen years ago. And he would hire me, he was getting contracts from Children’s book publishers, and he would hire me to do covers and inside spreads.

A couple years ago he hired me to do some work for a children’s book with a publisher I had never heard of before, why because it was new, it also happened to be him or his publishing company. He decided ‘you know what, I can make one of these myself’. And he’s still publishing books, and even some e-books online.

The Internet has Been a Real Game Changer. 

If you are a teenager or in your mid-twenties, you probably grew up with the internet. Not knowing life without it. I wonder if the internet is more impressive to me someone who lived without it. I can’t speak for someone who lived without cars, or plains.  But I worked without the internet. I don’t want to just assume that I appreciate something more than you, but I wonder how I ever got along without it.

There are thousands of people on YouTube who picked themselves.  People who just decided to utilize this wonderful tool. Some decided, “Hey! I’m going to broadcast the news, and I’m going to make money doing it”, and they’re doing it.

You got the guys who did kid history, (Bored Shorts) and the guys who do honest trailers, (Screen Junkies) look them up, or click the link. But don’t get sucked in, your focus is here right now.

Prank vs prank, there’s that guy from Utah “tipping servers $200”.  Video recorded it, and put it on Youtube.  By my calculations I’d say he cleared $20,000 just posting that one idea.

Now you don’t “NEED” the middle man.

You can now make a free service like Youtube, get your own channel (FolioAcademy has one right here that is grossly underutilized by the way).

My Kid History friends at Bored Shorts are talking to Disney right now, who may end up buying their channel of videos and if they do it’s going to be big.  By the way That guy who filmed the tipping video has over a hundred million views, when you do that, you get noticed, and even make money with advertising. There are tons of review channels too. Someone decides “Hey! I am going to review this product.” Have you ever noticed that whenever someone decides something they start by saying “Hey!” My friend Jedd Henry who did Yukio Heroes. Michal Dowdled who makes his own puzzles of all the famous cities.  He picked himself, Kazu who made flight, People who made their own web comics. That oatmeal guy (I love that guy) Music,  everyone in music is getting involved,  Indie Music, it’s when YOU decide that Hey! you are a musician, you don’t wait for it.

They don’t teach this stuff in public schools. 

The guy’s running public school never taught this, because so many of them didn’t create anything.

My slam on public schools, they do not teach creativity.  They teach people to obey the rules and math and language and science. And WE need that, OK we do but we also need creativity.

We have not been equipped for this world, and public schools haven’t either, our parents and friends and the world is all telling us what to do.  Go to college, get good grades so you can get a job. It makes sense, it’s safe. But ask these guys who have “picked themselves”, they don’t worry about safe.

This is starting to run long so I’m going to have to have a part 3 and maybe part 4 and more.

Okay my next posts will share some strategies, like: Things that I’ve learned, Things that I’m trying to apply now, and ways for an artist to be more entrepreneurial.