Sketch of page 1: Here the reader sees ‘reality’ and touching the screen will transform JMan and Mr. Redge into their imaginary starship captain and crew uniforms!
When we made our first Autism social story app, the Mighty League, Vol. 1: The Terrible Taunting, every step in the process was new and exciting, especially the autism storyboard. This is where the manuscript comes to life through the illustrations. I call it the autism storyboard process because it’s also where we develop the age-appropriate text about autism. That text is turned into a special ‘pop up notebook’ as if written by the main character to explain what’s happening in the scene from his perspective.
A Peek at Our Autism Storyboard and the Making of our Autism Story App
The manuscript for our second app, the Mighty League, Vol. 2: The Horrible Hug, was once again inspired by Jonathan’s real life experiences growing up with Aspergers Syndrome. The story comes from the time Jonathan attended a new school…a school that ultimately changed the course of his life. At that time, he felt as though he was going to an alien planet. The story takes place in ‘real’ life AND also inside the vivid imagination of JMan. He is the starship Captain of the USS Mighty League!
Sketch of page 2: The app is in comic book format and here you can see both JMan’s galactic imagination and his new school!
Sketch of page 5: JMan sits in the back of the class wondering if all his new classmates are aliens.
Sketch of page 4: It’s always interesting to see how pages evolve. What’s interesting here is the evolution of Mr. M. Notice in Sketch of page 5 Mr. M looks more generic. Now he’s his true self, inspired by Jonathan’s former teacher−one of the instigators of ‘Project Hug’ or what Jonathan referred to as the horrible hugs. This is the process the illustrator and I go through to really define and refine the characters. First rounds are quick sketches, followed by more detailed sketches, and next? He’ll render them in color and make sure that the final art is in layers…important for creating the animations in the app.
Illustrating a story app is typically the longest part in the production process. While Phil and I work on this part of the project, our voice actors are getting ready to record the narration and characters…stay TOONed for more updates!
So what do you think of our part real – part alien, part-school – part-outerspace story app so far?