Wednesday, July 1, 2015


 It's so exciting to finally put out this project that has been my baby for the past two years. I hope people will enjoy it and share it and it will live a fuller life as free online content than it could have as a 5$ bookapp.
When it was a bookapp I called it "One Tiny Pea" to make it easy to find on the appstore. Now that my platform is YouTube, there is no reason not to return to the original and well known title of the story- "The Princess and the Pea". 

Finishing a project after such a long time is confusing. The future seems to hold both endless possibilities and none at the same time. I'm trying to organize my thoughts and figure out my next steps. Whatever they may be, they will have to do with positive creativity and storytelling, the two things I am most passionate about.
Taking a bit of a break from the publisher now, to work on a couple of books. See ya soon <3

Friday, April 10, 2015

A desk, a journal and a waste of time

Three very important visitors came last month. The first was my brother Guy, who lives in Berlin. My wonderful brother brought me a mechanic desk base from Ikea, which is not available in our local branches. It comes with two buttons that command the desk to go up or down so I can sit or stand as I work which is very good for my back.
The second visitor was my aunt Joan-Marie from Oakland, California. Joan-Marie came for my father's 70th birthday and brought him a special gift: a journal their father kept when he was working as a technician on board the Atlantis. The Atlantis was a big research ship that belonged to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. My grandfather, Alfred H. Woodcock, went on many trips on the Atlantis as a technician and later as a scientist. He became an oceanographer by following his interest in what went on in the world around him and conducting his own research on different phenomena, having no prior scientific training. His early accounts of his observations, before his writing became fit for scientific publications, are an amazing combination of details and poetry. Listening to my father read out his father's words from 78 years ago, I was filled with inspiration by this man who was so in-tune with himself that he could do the work he was interested in regardless of what his actual job was. My father is currently typing up the journal and I've attached a piece of it at the end of this post.*

An illustration I made of grandpa Alfred

The third visitor who came last month was my friend Ilan who lives in Vienna. Ilan and I share a love of graphic novels and he brought me a copy of "The Sculptor" by Scott McCloud. Never has a gift been given with less enthusiasm. Though Ilan admitted McCloud was as professional as ever in his delivery of a story through comics in this novel, he announced that the book isn't drawn very well and is badly written. After reading it myself I had to agree. The book was like a good storyboard for a movie about a sculptor who sells his soul for the ability to handle any material in the world like play-dough, and then creates boring art. If the author had seemed to be aware of his hero's lack of artistic talent that might have been an interesting story, but no such awareness was evident. Did McCloud publish the book because he truly thought it was ready, or because he had spent so much time, energy and resources on it and was not interested in spending any more? Maybe if he hadn't published, it would mean everything he put into it was a waste, and that's why he did it?
Meanwhile I was having more and more trouble in my own creative process and became less inclined to judge others. When I wrote my previous post I was very excited about the software I'd purchased- the Kwik Photoshop plugin. Last month I spent a lot of time learning to use it and re-building my book with it, after having built it previously on the (now out of business) Touchoo Creator online platform. I finally realized that since my book was originally created with a very different set of tools, it is very hard to re-build it with Kwik. I also realized Kwik was more suitable for people with more understanding of programming and app developing than I have. I was in despair. My new sit-stand desk seemed ridiculous. Who did I think I was? I became jealous of my grandfather who studied the connection between bird flight and ocean currents, while I was stuck with trying to figure out the connection between what I had done in Kwik and the weird results presented in the simulator. Suddenly it seemed that McCloud's book was teasing me from the shelf. It may not be a masterpiece, but it's out in the world. Its author is a world renowned comics artist, while I seem to be going backward instead of forward. I could hire a programmer but that would cost a lot. This book was not only a bookapp, it was supposed to be OWL Publisher's first of many bookapps, and it couldn't be that if I had to pay a programmer out of a non-existent budget.
There was one idea that sprouted in my mind and started growing on me. I could publish a video instead of a bookapp. That is something I know how to make all on my own! Unlike many bookapps mine is nothing like a game. It could work as a video. And why not? As an unknown creator I would have to do amazing marketing work to get a lot of people to buy a bookapp. Why not start by creating a name for OWL Publisher by putting some great free content out there and then maybe I can make a buck or two on future projects? It requires starting all over again and creating new animations to bring the kind of life to the story that is expected of a video, but I know I can do it, and as soon as it is done, that's it. No de-bugging, no adjusting to different devices, no Apple developer license. I decided to go for it.
I'm now on page 5, or should I say- the flying scene, and it is going pretty well! I feel like I'm going back to when I quit my animation major in the academy because working with Flash was driving me crazy. Now I'm doing things my way. It may seem like a lot of time has been wasted, but when OWL Publisher's first publication is out there it will be worth everything.

Still from the flying scene

* Excerpt from Alfred H. Woodcock's journal, April 2, 1938:
"A squall, during the evening change of watches, put us down sharply – changing our even forward march to a pitching, spray filled rout. All hands were called – their oil-skins glistening in the startling flashes from the high-rounded blackness in the west. Then, as the ship came into the wind, the dark taut silence of the sails broke magically into a great roar as the canvas lashed with the wild energy of ten thousand black-snake whips furiously wielded. Shouting, straining, whining winch reeling bodies stinging spray; black ropes on a shining deck – shrieking ropes in the incredibly mad air; and finally, fighting to the last stitch, a subdued canvas tight-lashed to the booms."

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Worthless piece of amazing genius

The first month of OWL Publisher has ended and it has been an emotional roller-coaster. 
Still is. Some people may be naturally good at self management. I am not one of them. If I could find a job as a full time crafty illustrator for bookapps I would take it, but I don't believe such a description has ever appeared in want ads for jobs in Tel Aviv. One of my favorite memes reads "Your dream job does not exist, you must create it." Well, if I must... :)
 An interesting thing about being by yourself all day, is that whatever happens is the only thing that is happening. No human interaction, no other points of view, nothing else going on around you, no one knows what you are doing unless you post it. If something bad happens, there's no one around to help or support you. If it's good, there's no one around to smile at you or be impressed. Lucky for me, I am an introverted person by nature and have a pretty good internal support system. However, in this situation of complete isolation my system has become somewhat overwhelmed so that whenever something goes a little wrong I feel like a worthless piece of garbage, and every small success makes me feel like a super talented amazing genius. 
This was exciting for about a week but it became exhausting and time consuming, so I slowly developed a habit of shaking off the melodrama, be it a high or low, and moving on. Pretty soon I started getting moody and depressed. Ignoring my own inner voices made me feel much more alone than my physical solitude did. 
At the same time, I was trying to get some sketching done every evening for exercise. Bit by bit I started to notice my sketch ideas were being influenced by my emotional turmoil. I started using my sketching to bring out whatever I was repressing during the day and letting it breath and exist. One evening I drew a map that shows the way from the "city of boring work" to the "village of independent artists" and has all the dangerous places I'm afraid to get stuck in on the way. Now, this might look like a bit of a depressing map, but every journey has its challenges, and mapping out mine makes me feel much less intimidated by them. 

So, my map of dangers is really a tool for whenever I feel bad or off track. I try to determine where exactly on the map I'm stuck and how I got there. It may sound silly but it really helps! When I can't figure out what's bothering me, I start sketching to find out where I am. I clear a mental space for this task and draw whatever comes to my mind until it makes sense. When I'm finished I always feel like I just had a really good talk with a friend and learned new things about myself. The power of art is an amazing thing. So I think what I've mastered this month of February 2015 is how to be an independent creator working from home without losing my mind. Let me know if my map is helpful to anyone else!

Other things that are happening: I'm still learning to use the Kwik photoshop plugin to create my book and making more progress every day, I made the cover page, made a logo for OWL Publisher, found a great marketing consultant, and made some beautiful mugs in a collaboration with my amazing mother for the OWL Publisher gift shop that I am slowly creating stuff for :))
Goal for the end of March is to finally finish my first bookapp, and then the goal for April will be testing, fixing, getting an Apple developer licence and earning the name "OWL Publisher" by publishing! Stay tuned :)