Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Ugly Duckling - creating an ebook from Hazel Mitchell

Ebooks are springing up everywhere. With the rise and rise of ipad, and now Kindle Fire, the race is 'hotting' up. What does this mean for your commonal-garden illustrator/author?

Many of the most famous children's book titles are being generated as ebooks by the original publishers, other authors and illustrators are working directly with app companies to bring back-listed books to life. Best sellers look like they have the best chance of hitting the number one spots on the app lists.

Yet it's an open field. Anyone can create an ebook, or app, and, if it's good enough, have it accepted into the istore. And there are plenty of illustrators and authors creating work that will be published as an ebook FIRST. It's a whole new animal.

So I thought I would dip my toe in the water with a new company just about to launch called Headed by (the wonderfully named) Nils von Heijne, this company is a little different. It's a worldwide community of excellent authors and illustrators creating quality picture books. With the online software interface created by Utales, authors and illustrators can design and upload their own books. Right now they are bringing in animation and sound tools, but I can only see these facilities growing after the launch.

One of the best things about this creator-driven company is that they have a great editing team headed up by Emma Dryden, of Dryden Books. So all the books are quality controlled - awesome! Utales are also working with 'Pencils of Promise'. P Proceeds from each sale can be donated to the charity and help fund projects in schools across the world.

The company asked for creators to retell a classic tale before the launch. I chose the great favorite by Hans Christian Andersen, 'The Ugly Duckling'. Here are some of the images I created from the book. I hope you'll check out the animated version on Utales when it launches in the coming weeks! Watch this space for details.


Oh, I didn't mention that there was also a competition involved for the creation of a classic tale. The first prize is an ipad, so please keep all your extremities crossed! 

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  1. What a fantastic post, Hazel. Thanks so much for sharing it!

  2. Great illustrations, Hazel - love all the duckling's expressions and body language. And what a great project and challenge to take on - it's inspiring to see your hard work towards keeping up and ahead of the evolution of picture books. Extremeties crossed!

  3. Fun to see the process, Hazel. Wishing you and Utales success :-)

  4. Thanks Joanna! Should know soon ... hazel

  5. Cheers John ... it was fun to do ... if it sells I may do another! I twas hard work, but fun ... but that's what the best things in life are made up of :-) -Hazel