Jelbert 11/07/12 – making an illustration interactive

The illustrations in my children’s book ‘Tales by Torchlight: Shoe Zoo’ are interactive, for example, when the reader touches the torch in the illustration above, Evangelina’s torch turns on and off!

To create this, I first painted the ‘light off’ picture, took a decent photo of it and loaded the digital image into photoshop. I cropped the image to its final size and made an exact copy, onto which I added the highlights and the flood of yellow light that comes from the torch. This was quite fiddly, but the clone tool and the brush are incredible and have become very good friends of mine, so much so that when I’m doing real painting, my subconscious often seeks out the ‘edit – step back’ key!

I used Apple’s ‘iBooks Author’ to put my book together, which was great for me as it was straight forward to use and produces a professional, clean look. To create the interactive illustrations, I made one page flick very quickly to the next – a magic trick that can bring a painting alive! I marked out a ‘hot spot’ over the torch by putting a text box filled with invisible letters over it (not ideal but this was the is the only way I could find to do it) and then linked the two images by creating separate ‘bookmarks’ on each page, then linking them with the ‘hyperlink’ facility. Simple as that!

But this was not at all simple for me to figure out. I am painter and could have not have done this on my own. Adam Walker is my techno guru and my shoulder to cry on when I am overcome with frustration. ‘iBooks Author’ was originally produced to help people create text books, which is why we have had to get a little creative with the functions available. If anyone from Apple ever reads this (you have to be an optimist to publish your own books), it would be great if you could make it easier to add ‘hot spots’ – please!


About jellywalk

I am a professional artist who is happy to take commissions, be they portraits, paintings of baby ultrasound scans, houses, or pets... Please see my art website for contact details: I have prints available for sale from
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