This article was published on February 2, 2012

The future of children’s books arrives on the iPad: Everything Butt Art

The future of children’s books arrives on the iPad: Everything Butt Art
Harrison Weber
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Harrison Weber

Harrison Weber is TNW's Features Editor in NYC. Part writer, part designer. Stay in touch: Twitter @harrisonweber, Google+ and Email. Harrison Weber is TNW's Features Editor in NYC. Part writer, part designer. Stay in touch: Twitter @harrisonweber, Google+ and Email.

Time has shown that tablets can do amazing things, and using them to build immersive books is one of them. But up until now, I’ve never seen a children’s book that truly realizes the hidden potential packed into the iPad, and I’m proud to say it has to do with butts.

Everything Butt Art is a wonderful series of books that started showing up in stores less than a year ago. The concept (ahem…) behind the book works well in almost any form, but it really becomes magical once you see it on the iPad — and now you can. It’s part book and part drawing app, and it teaches step-by-step drawing with a twist, as all the drawings start with a butt shape (a rounded lowercase w).

TNW sat down with founder Brian Snyder to get an inside look at the app before it was released…

HW: Tell us about your inspiration for the book

BS: The inspiration for Everything Butt Art can be traced back to when I was seven or eight. I used to spend hours doing step-by-step drawing. Being a silly kid, I’d start with a butt shape and challenge myself to see what I could turn it into. Then, I’d show off my drawings to friends. They were a big hit. When my daughter was about three, I showed her some of my go-to butt art. She loved the whole idea of it. Because it’s such a simple concept, I was sure someone else had done something with it. After searching quite a bit, I found there wasn’t anything like it. Using silliness and technology to encourage creativity in kids felt like a worthwhile pursuit.

HW: How you believe it represents the future of children’s books?

BS: We don’t think of ourselves as a publisher, despite the fact that we’ve published two books. More so, we had a concept that made sense in both print and digital forms. We always think tech first, but didn’t want to take the Everything Butt Art experience away from a child just because they didn’t have a $500 device. Many more kids can spend $9.95 on a book and grab a pencil or a crayon. When one witnesses a classroom of children engaging with Everything Butt Art, it becomes clear why we want it accessible to all. However, we’ll continue to focus on tech first. I think more children’s book publishers need to do the same.

HW: Are there any other commercial apps that are trying to create an app like Everything Butt Art?

BS: While building the Everything Butt Art iPad app we observed our kids using lots of apps that don’t have an inherent parent-child connection. We believe that it’s important for parents to be engaged with their young children’s use of technology. At the same time, we wanted this engagement to be frictionless for the child and adult. Sharing with mom and dad is automated so they can be intimately involved whether they’re in the next room or across the country. It also initiates this really cool cycle. A child is creative, parents are rewarded and feel connected by seeing the child’s drawings as they occur. In turn, parents encourage the child to spend more time being creative – win, win. All the while, the child’s art is being saved in the cloud attached to his or her profile. It’s powerful stuff.

The app comes completely free to try, with the option of purchasing more animals to draw (e.g.: snake, hippo, panda, bird, lion, zebra, chameleon…). The whole experience was hilarious, entertaining and simply fun for me, so I can only imagine how much kids will love it.

If you have kids or know anyone that has kids, you owe it to them to try this app out. It really is magical.

➤  Everything Butt Art, via the App Store