It might strike you as strange that Brian Snyder’s series of coloring books teach children how to draw cartoon characters by starting with a butt shape. But when you open the iPad app version, launching on Thursday, it becomes apparent that Snyder’s new approach to coloring books extends far beyond butts.
Though it shares its characters and an illustrator (Alexis Moniello) with Snyder’s Everything Butt Art at the Zoo, which is distributed nationally in Barnes and Noble bookstores, the app is also a platform for step-by-step animated drawing tutorials, a game, an online archive and a sharing tool.
When Snyder’s five-year-old daughter Madeline finishes a drawing on the app, for instance, he immediately gets an email with the artwork embedded.
“I see that Madeline is drawing in real time,” he says “It connects you in this way that’s hard to describe.”
The drawing is also saved in a private or public gallery where those with access can “smile” at to show their approval. Madeline can earn badges for coloring tasks such as completing 50 drawings or using seven different colors in one drawing. If she submits a particularly impressive to the public gallery (with a parent’s permission) it could also end up featured on the Everything Butt Art website. Given her connections, she probably has a decent shot.
Other book creators such as Kobo have added social aspects to adult books. But it seems more natural in a children’s environment. Children already share their artwork with their parents, and their parents already display them or save them. Everything Butt Art has merely found a way to include those aspects of a coloring book in the digital world.
Three characters — each with a story, a game and a drawing tutorial — come free with the app. Additional sets of six characters can be purchased for $.99 each.