Irene Blasco Grau is a freelancer illustrator, designer and writer based in Spain.
In 2004 she created IreneBlascoStudio, offering since then Illustration and Design services to her costumers. She also develops her personal projects, as Rita, the lizard App, adapted from her Award winning book published in 2006.
Since 2010 she also teaches fun and creative Art Workshops for children.
How was Rita born
Rita the lizard was my first book, the result of a latent passion awoke one April morning, a few years ago, when I realized that I wanted to make stories.
A lizard who thinks she is a chameleon just as his uncle William ...
It is thought that everything we write or draw is somehow autobiographical. I was looking for my true North at this time and maybe that's why I always had a special feeling towards this character. And I loved to see that she made her readers feel the same thing as well. Although it's been a few years since the 1st edition Rita continues making new friends.
The leap to the iPad
With the audacity of ignorance and encouraged by my colleague Ajubel I began to think seriously taking Rita to the iPad. I really wanted to pick up that first project and nearly 10 years after creating it, see what I could do with it.
My first challenge was not to fall into the error of making a digital copy of the paper book. I should explore all the possibilities offered by this new language halfway between a digital book and video game, almost like a new grammar.
It was hard to take off my fears. I also found it difficult to break the paper, assimilate the new structures, understand that I could start playing with time and space.
But I knew it was going to be an exciting adventure ...
The work process
In early October 2011, through an ad I put on a forum, Fernando Vaquero and Manel Mateos, Divertap developers, contacted me. They loved the project and from the beginning we knew we could make a good team, so we immediately started working with a good dose of enthusiasm and the same amount of ingenuity. Now I have to laugh when I remember the initial term of 3 months that I proposed. We agreed that quality could not be affected by haste.
Ajubel made an essential job working in concept, art direction and animations and staying on the ball to give me encouragement when, dazed and exhausted by long hours of work, with such images and coordinates, I could disregard some detail.
Communication with Fernando and Manel was very comfortable and smooth from the start and this helped a lot as Teambox tools, Dropbox and Skype. It was a good and stimulating collaboration with which we have all learned a lot.
And I can not be happier with the rest of the team. Francis Garcia Tejedor captured perfectly the tone of the project with the cheerful and catchy music he composed. Edwin Tierney and Zhenyu Tan put their warm and expressive voices to the English and Chinese versions.
It has been a year of a lot of work, intense, stimulating and exciting. 14 scenes, lots of animations, over 250 interactive elements, sound effects and much, much more...
Simply getting there is immensely rewarding for me.
To my still undecided colleagues
One of the things that more surprised me when I started, was finding a generally low level of what was being published in this medium. It was obvious that behind most of the Apps there were no professionals of image, the programmers themselves had taken on this task. And it was very clear for me how much we could contribute.
I wish my experience serve to encourage many colleagues who do not decide so easily to take the leap, perhaps for fear of the unknown, or resistance to the new, or perhaps because of a supposedly necessary dependence of traditional publishers. I do not think you should choose between paper or digital variant, they are two formats, two different languages that - I believe - can coexist and will coexist peacefully. Rather, we have to be aware that we can harness the potential of this system which, without financial means or large support structures allows us to make our own projects come true and get them reach anywhere in the world. Now we can have the control of the project both the creative and commercial parts, with no filter or intermediary just Apple. And with more transparency on sales.
Of course, this involves a lot more work than to limit ourselves to be mere subcontractors. But the adventure is, definitely worth it.
And now, with a lot of hope, I leave you with this new Rita, interactive and more animated than ever.
Hope you like it!
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