I’ll be Making my E-Book into an App too

I am going to make this E-book into an App too

monster pulling dog by the tail sketch for app

I’ve decided to make this e-book (see last blog) that I am working on into an iPad and iPhone app as well. Here is another sketch for the ipad/iphone app I did awhile ago.

I do not have a programer yet – have talked to a few but I want to find someone who believes in my project enough to go all in with me and share the loot we most certainly will rake in.

“We’re going to need a bigger rake!” This is certainly another leap of faith but I’ve found that if you have a dream and can see – really see the vision of it, you should go for it! I’ve been learning this over the past year and have enjoyed a fair amount of success with this method of working. I’m sure I’ll have my fair share of failures – wait – I’ve done that:

My Failed books: “The magical world Inside Abandoned Refrigerators”, “Daddy Drinks Because You Cry”, and “You Are Different and That’s Bad”…..ok ok – I lifted these from the internet but you get the picture. I’ve had failures and I’ll have more and you know what? That’s OK.

I will try to post my updates on this each week, thanks.

for more help with your art, visit us at folioacademy.com

A Little Art Assignment With PhotoShop

A Little Art Exercise with Photo Shop

Digital painting class –

Rules: Use Photoshop – add a cabin and appropriate lighting for the landscape – one brush – one layer – no tracing – no undo – no eraser – no eye dropper – no tools other than the brush – paint too dark? tough – paint light values over your mistakes.

Give yourself 3 hours… GO!

cabin assignment





-Cost: Free, just do it.

-Consequences: Learning……the groans and moans will be worth every penny! 


links to previous steps are at the end of this post. 

Add sound effects to your story app.

Adding the sound effects was one of the funnest parts of the creation process. I was amazed at how the sound can “sell” the animation or idea – it’s pure magic. Watching your little animations is great but they are silent by themselves – adding the right sound brings them to life.

A few tips for finding and applying sound effects to your apps.

I used freesound.org for a bunch of the sounds in my app. The sounds are free to use as long as you give credit to the artists in your project. I only used “public domain” sounds and “creative commons” licensed sounds. The agreements can be easily viewed and read on their site.

I also created some sounds using tinyvox on my iPad and then altered them in Audacity. I couldn’t find a good digging sound for Gary but I knew what I wanted – so I scratched my pant leg  – I know – weird right? But it made a pretty good sound and I could kill tow birds with one stone. (don’t really kill birds) I could get that sound I wanted and scratch that itch on my leg at the same time. Then I doubled it up in Audacity, changed the pitch, and cleaned up the front and back end and it was perfect!

Kwik allows you to use both mp3 and wave files which you can create in Audacity. My total learning time in Audacity was about one hour from fooling around with the program and watching youtube videos produced by 8 year olds.

One of the most important things you can do with your sound files is to chop off the dead space at the front and end of the clips. You don’t want the users of your app to hear hiss or crackle before the actual sound is about to play.

Stay tuned for more Steps. Coming soon.

Cover Picture of Gary's Place







I’ll keep sharing my progress on “Gary’s Place” which I plan to submit to Apple, In fact, It is NOW only available on IOS But – we’ll have it up on Amazon for android very soon!…did I mention – IT’S DONE!!!!, Google, Amazon, etc. in a few weeks. Just in time for Christmas (Next Year) I’ll continue to blog about this process even sharing my sales stats when it hits the various app stores!

A few reviews already:

“My Kids adore Gary.” ~Sabrina Chamberlain-Parks

“Great job Will! I loved the page/scene transition especially.” ~Jan Clifton Watford

I bought the app for myself, I don’t even have kids and I loved it. Gary pulls you in and you can’t wait to turn the page to see what he’s up to next. Great job Will, I’ll pass it on to my parenting friends! ~Zulu Zulu

See how to make a story app from the beginning.

If you’re wondering where the first steps are I started this project back in September 2013 – check these links: And if you just want to brush up on your nun-chuck skills, or rather, your art skills, take a course at folioacademy.com, art lessons online.

Now available, Step 8. The final step, till we add more, are you ever realy finished?

Step 1Step 2Step 3Step 4Step 5Step 5.5Step 6


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.

How to Make an App – Step 3

How To Make A Story App – Step 3 

Set yourself apart from the competition

Decide what you can put into your story app that will be unique to set yourself apart from the competition. This might take some brain storming but it’s worth it.

Be a leader or a follower that surpasses the leader

Are you a follower or a leader? When I look at many of the story apps available in the app store I notice that many creators seem to be playing follow the leader – and some aren’t even following the leaders. It’s hard enough to actually make the app but to put something out that is painfully predictable and average at best is a waste of time. It’s already hard enough to get noticed so don’t make your app forgettable by just doing what the other guys are doing.

If they are all putting coloring book activities in their story apps don’t add a coloring activity – unless you can do it better or different. If the other guys are making every object wiggle with a silly sound when you touch it – yeah you get the picture. We’re at the front of a new technology so don’t assume the other guy is doing it right. This is your app. What do you want to do? Then do that and don’t look back!

Don’t be afraid, Take some risk.

Afraid that you’ll do something other people will scoff or laugh at? Perfect! It’s not art if there’s no risk! Better to fail big and learn than to copy and be forgettable. Be remarkable.

So how can you be original? I think it’s by having one or more unique aspects in your app. Suggestions:

Great story
Great artwork
Animation that is unique to your story
Great voice acting
Integrated music
Unique navigation
Teaches niche moral or principle
Appeals to a niche market
Insert other unique aspect here.

So what am I planning for my app?

Another good question, glad you asked.

1. I think Rick Walton wrote a unique story for us – but the market will decide that.
2. I’m going to work hard on the artwork so I’m hoping to impress in that category.
3. I’m working on animation that helps further the story.
4. I will hire voice actors to enhance the experience.
5. Instead of page turns my app will navigate up, down, back, and forward.
6. The story has a sustainable living theme running throughout.

Like I’ve written before – none of this is a guarantee of commercial success but all I can do is put out the best I’m capable of in a reasonable amount of time and then begin work on the next app.

I’m really looking forward to beginning the Kwik class in a few weeks! Learning how to program my own app without any programing experience is going to enable me to take control of my app creating bug! More info on the class here. 

Tune in September 30, for part-4.

How to Make an App – STEP 1

How to Make a Story App – Step 1

Step 1 – Start with a GREAT story!

I’m going to be blogging about the progress on my new story app “Gary’s Place” from now until it’s for sale in the app stores – and beyond – even updates on my sales figures. This is really scary because I’m promising to do something that I haven’t done yet. In fact there’s a voice yelling inside right now begging me to delete this and stop writing. But – here we go…

Step 1 – Start with a GREAT story!

I came up with an idea for a story about a gopher who isn’t content with his home. It had a good beginning, middle, and end but I couldn’t write a good manuscript because I don’t have enough writing experience.  So – I approached Rick Walton, a well known children’s book author and friend (over 90 published books – google screen shot above) and asked him to read my story and write it if he liked the idea. In a ridiculously short time he turned it into gold. Yes I will cut him in for a large percentage and yes it took him no time but I believe it will be worth every penny. He’s been writing for over 25 years and his experience shows.

The story is THE most important part of a story app. Illustrations, music, character voices, animation, games, coloring activities, things that giggle, wiggle and jiggle won’t make it a great app!

Often we don’t hold ourselves to the same quality standards we expect from the goods and services we consume. We want to see movies with a great story and cinematography asking friends and family for recommendations before dropping money at the box office. But do we provide the same when writing for a book, app, or e-book? If you don’t have the writing skills are you working hard to develop them? Have you considered partnering with a professional author?

I get emails, messages, and phone calls here at Folio Academy every week from authors looking for illustrators to partner with. Professional authors often have a huge back list of manuscripts that have never been published – usually much larger than their printed books. I guess a good question is will having a great story sell enough apps to offset the percentage or payment you’ll have to give up to an author? I think so. I believe that a smaller percentage of a GREAT project is worth much more than a larger percentage of a Mediocre project.

Did you know there are thousands of movies produced each year? How many can you name from 2013? My point is that if you aren’t producing the best who will care?

But Will, you’re a professional illustrator so it’s easy for you to work with professional authors.

Sure – it’s probably easier for me to strike up a conversation but from the sheer numbers of authors I’ve been approached by I know there’s a huge need out there and it’s only going to grow. If you’re passionate and committed I doubt you will have trouble talking an author into letting you take a crack at bringing one of their stories to life.

So check back say, Monday the 23rd, for Step 2 as I share my progress reports!