A Glimpse into the World of PixelMoon
Míchel Goñi is a Spanish journalist who established his career in digital media and television. Monica Coca is a journalist, writer and illustrator, also in Spain. Together they have founded PixelMoon in order to create original book apps for the iPhone and iPad. I am very excited to have the chance to chat with the PixelMoon team, and to get the scoop on their upcoming interactive book app, “Urki, Beyond the Forest”. I have read a sneak peek PDF version of the story with my children and have seen the photo gallery and trailer on their website. I can’t wait for it’s arrival in September. In fact, I’m very curious about Pixel Moon and want to learn more about the little troll Urki and the Pixel Moon team.
Can you tell us a little bit about Pixel Moon?
Well, I´m a spanish journalist and scriptwriter and my life has always been linked to the world of storytelling. I´ve been working twelve years for other’s projects and I wanted to do something by myself. Last year, in May, I was taking a walk with my partner, Míchel, and we were talking about something very romantic: the launch of iPad in United States. 🙂 In that moment, an idea appeared in our minds. It was about developing an unpublished book for children and stimulate their reading with an interactive element… and we thought it could work.
Have you written / illustrated other stories for children?
Yes, eight years ago I wrote a story for children called ‘Carlota and the magical tunnels’, maybe I could publish it in PixelMoon. I don´t know. It was a long time ago and now I’m thinking about new Urki’ s adventures.
What made you interested in creating story apps for children?
Children have a natural aptitude to use all these new technologic devices. In AppStore there are a lot of apps for toddlers and little children and we thought, why don´t we develope a story app for 8-11 years olds? It could have some animations, sound effects… and a final gift, a kind of recompense for finishing their reading. That’ s the kind of thing that we would love if we were children. And that´s why we’re working on this project. We love kids and working for such an exigent and open minded audience is a challenge, too.
I’d love to hear more about Urki and the other characters in the story. Can you share a little bit about “Urki, Beyond the Forest?”
‘Urki, Beyond the Forest’ is the first part in a series of adventure books. Its protagonist is Urki, a little troll that grows in a magical forest without his family. When he’ s a little bit older he realizes that, despite of being the son of every creature of the forest, he needs his real parents. He must go out and look for them in a journey beyond the forest. There he’ll find amazing creatures, new friends and enemies, too. He learns how to deal with obstacles and problems using his brain and his heart, without any violence. And he learns one thing for sure, there’s no bigger power than the friendship power. He cannot advance without the help from others, like in real life.
In this story you’ll find classical characters (fairies, goblins, oracles…) with a personal touch, sense of humour and very strong personalities. And there are some new characters, too. For example, you’ll know what an Acuaterlis is or what kind of insect is a metalbeetle.
Who are your influences as an artist? Do you have favorite writers, illustrators, or developers who inspire you?
Uf, a lot!
When I was writing ‘Urki, Beyond the Forest’ I remembered all the literature I read when I was a child: Michael Ende, Lewis Carroll, Gerald Durrell, Erich Kästner, Julio Verne, Roald Dahl and two unforgettable spanish writers, Elena Fortún and Borita Casas.
In the world of illustration there are such a good artists! I admire Selma Mandine, Tim Burton, Rebecca Dautremer… And thanks to social networking I´m finding amazing people like Debbie Ohi or a mysterious illustrator whose Twitter nick is soju_shots. He doesn’t reveal his name and he’ s great!
In the world of developing we’ re astounding with Moonbot Studios (The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Lessmore), Atomic Antelope (Alice in Wonderland), Mundo Mono (La pequeña Caperucita) and Play Creatividad (Forgotten Colours).
What are your goals or plans for the future?
We want to develope a career in this field because we love it. We’ re working for ourselves and that’s something so satisfactory… Our plan is to continue with Urki’ s adventures and if things go right we’ve got an idea for a very exciting story app for young adults.
We’ re based in Madrid and the global crisis has hit Spain very hard. Our dream is to create jobs for other professionals and make synergies with other writers, illustrators, designers… But in this moment we have to focus on Urki and make the best job with him. He deserves it!
Be on the lookout for ‘Urki, Beyond the Forest’ to arrive on the App Store in September. In the meantime, you can visit their website and like them on facebook for more sneak peek photos and a video trailer.