Nat Sims, founder of Night & Day Studios, shares his thoughts on one of our favorite apps: Ed Emberley's Shake & Make.
Ed Emberley has been my idol since I was seven years old and first got a copy of his Drawing Book of Animals. Ed created a visual system that I could follow as a boy and instilled in me a way of thinking that has carried into all of my creative pursuits:
See the essential elements of a form (or an idea, or a complex structure), and then break it down into smaller pieces without sacrificing that essence. Simplify with elegance.
So in 2010 and 2011, when we were figuring out how to license the works of great illustrators to turn into apps (building on our opportunities with Eric Carle and Richard Scarry early on), Mr. Emberley and Charley Harper were at the top of my list.
We had a fun idea to break down these very graphic, stylized illustrations (just as Ed himself had, in creating his drawing system) into pieces you could manipulate. Ed contributed the title: Shake & Make!
This is my favorite all-ages game we've made so far. Shake your device and see various faces and figures fall apart into simple geometric pieces. Pick them up and put them back together before time runs out! Paired with a great 70s soundtrack literally (and legally) taken from a radio station's vinyl records, it has a great, unified look and feel. I've never known when this funny little app will get its chance to shine, but I think today's the day.
And a hint: if you're having trouble sorting out all the pieces that fall to the bottom, that's because of gravity! Set the iPad or iPhone on its back so you can easily sort out all the pieces. My daughter even found a way to swirl all the pieces back into place, but that might be cheating.
P.S. Lynda.com came to Portland when Ed visited us. They shot a great short video in our old, super bohemian offices. It was truly an honor to share some screen-time with my idol. Check it out if you can!