How you create an awesome iPad magazine

Ladies and gentlemen, publishers and designers: we have a Grand Prize winner. The judges had seven finalists and out of those seven only one could get the $5,000.

The app that got the highest overall score from the judges: Scrawl Magazine

Scrawl Magazine for the iPad

Scrawl was submitted in the ‘Comics’ category, but it’s more than a comic. Says Michael Golan and and Roni Fahima, the editors of Scrawl:

Scrawl is a playground, an interactive platform for artists, which enables freedom and the opportunity to share their creations with others, a place to discuss illustration, comics and art. Scrawl is a unique venue to create, explore and enjoy.

This magazine, or the idea behind it, was always in the back of our minds waiting to come out. This project encompasses our desire to create a home to everything that we love.

To give you an idea what Scrawl is like, here is a short video walk through:

We asked Michael, Roni and the other contributors about the process of creating Scrawl.

Q: Scrawl Magazine contains some cool and innovative things. Like the auto-scrolling never ending art work using the tilt function, the “Meanwhile in a parallel universe” piece and the “Memory, Books” part. Did some of these ideas exist before the idea of an iPad edition, or were they born once you started working on the first issue?

A: The first two projects you’ve mentioned were created especially for this issue of Scrawl. The endless scrolling by Roni Fahima was created in order to utilized the tilt function of the iPad. The illustration was drawn with colored pencils and was about 2 meters long. Later it was scanned cleaned and attached to a simple JavaScript code to create the endless loop.

Endless artwork from Scrawl Magazine

Screen shot of Endless artwork from Scrawl Magazine

The idea “Meanwhile in a parallel universe” by Shiraz Fuman was came up to her close to the end of our work on the magazine and after tackling the endless loop code I was sure we will be able to rewrite it to work the way she wanted it.

The illustration is made from two pencil illustrations that were colored on the computer. These were made into two endless loops running side by side. We adjusted the delay between them so an item seen in the right lens will appear just in time in the other. So it will look it would be when looking through a real binoculars.

If you’ll look closely in the illustration you’ll be able to see the person wearing the binoculars ‫who is watching the whole scene‬ (hint: he is the only thing that doesn’t change).

"Meanwhile, in a Parallel Universe" from Scrawl Magazine

Screenshot from “Meanwhile, in a Parallel Universe” from Scrawl Magazine

Nir Golan’s project “Memory, Books” was actually part of his B.A thesis. When the project was shown in the graduation show he hanged the translation for the inscriptions by the side of the books. While working on the design of this project in the magazine one of the things I had in mind that I didn’t want to lose screen space on the translations. The first thought was to use the popup function to open a box with the translation. But then it occurred to me that we can try and plant it into the illustration itself replacing the old text, with a new one, trying to keep the font and position as close to the source as possible, so it will look as an organic part of the work. Luckily Nir liked the idea and agreed that we will Photoshop the translation into his illustrations.

A screen shot from the "Memory, Books" section in Scrawl Magazine

A screen shot from the “Memory, Books” section in Scrawl Magazine

A screen shot from the "Memory, Books" section in Scrawl Magazine

A screen shot from the “Memory, Books” section in Scrawl Magazine, after the inscription is translated

Q: There are several contributors to Scrawl Magazine. Did they come up with their ideas on their own, or did you sit together in a creative process?

A: The pilot issue of Scrawl is consist from works that were created especially to the magazine and to the medium like the first two mentioned above, as well as the cover and the “How to Use” page.

The second type of works you can found in the magazine are works that were adjusted to fit this medium like “Memory, Books” and “Grandpa Mountain and Ermoza” by Shimrit Elkanati which was a remake of her self-published comic book.

In order to not just copy&paste this project into the magazine and in order to fit them better to the medium we tried to add something special & different.

In the case of “Grandpa Mountain and Ermoza” we all got together to think what can be done. Tested a few ideas Shimrit until we came up with what now in the magazine.

Beside the “tap to read” function that enables the reader to experience the story in a slightly different way Shinrit also added small animation loops in which are optioned in key points in the story.

Screenshot of "Grandpa Mountain & Ermoza" from Scrawl Magazine

Screenshot of “Grandpa Mountain & Ermoza” from Scrawl Magazine

The last type of works in the magazine is works that were left untouched.

We feel that this combination is right. Although the plan for the future issues of Scrawl is that all participating contributors will create works especially for the magazine. As in the pilot issue these works will also revolve under one theme, and in case you are wondering what’s the theme for our next issue it is going to be “Power”.

Q: What were the biggest challenges when creating Scrawl Magazine? What were the biggest challenges with mag+ tools?

Our biggest challenge (and what was also our motto from the start) was not to “lose” the Illustrations on our way.

We wanted to be able to create something new and explore this new world of digital publishing and the endless possibilities it has to offer, but on the same time do this with respect to traditional techniques. As a reader you will be able to find in the magazine freehand sketches alongside computer made illustrations, computer code and meticulous craftsmanship.

Another one of the challenges that faced us was to open this new interactive world to additional illustrators, who don’t necessarily come from this digital nature.

Screenshow from Scrawl Magazine "How to use the app"

Screenshow from Scrawl Magazine “How to use the app”

Working with mag+ made our life much easier. Working with mag+ is as easy as designing for the print media.

Because of it’s simplicity, the very straight forward approach and the fact that you don’t need to learn a new designing program or to know a line of code to create with it. It really east to learn and master and even if you get into a problem along the way, you can always look up the solution to your problem in one of the wonderful tutorial videos on the website.

Q: You’ve also been part of creating The Un:limited Magazine (another magazine we really like here at mag+ btw). Why did you choose mag+ as a tool? What are the best things about working with mag+?

A: I got to familiar with mag+ from my work as a designer on the Un:limited magazine. What I loved about mag+ beside the fact that it is easy to learn. Is that you feel like the whole company is backing you up. Each of the questions I had was answered fast and politely.

Interview in Scrawl Magazine

Interview in Scrawl Magazine

Also there are some unique features to the mag+ platform like using 2 layers that float on over the other and the ability to write up any code you want and embed it into the magazine without any problem. So if you know a bit of coding it really opens a door of endless possibilities on what you can achieve with it. A door we just opened a bit with this pilot issue but plan to continue and explore in the following issues of Scrawl Magazine.

Q: What’s your experience in publishing before Scrawl Magazine/The Un:limited Magazine?

A: MICHAEL: I’ve been working with the people of the Un:limited magazine on some other interactive magazines made for PCs in flash (thus sadly not available to tablets) like ZOOZ Magazine. Beside that I’ve been working as a designer for over 7 years on different projects like printed books, branding and websites.

RONI: My experience in publishing was from the Illustrator point of view. I’ve illustrated children and youth books in the past but the publishing process itself was orchestrated by the publishing house. This was the first time for me as an editor/publisher.

Do you want to create your own iPad magazine?