These penguins are the main characters and since we are animating them I had to start learning a little about animation. You need to know that I've been a one trick pony for almost two decades - I've only been working digitally for a few years for crying out loud.
So one of the first things I learned is that whenever you're talking animation you're talking assets. An asset is a stand alone character, object, or background element. In order for things to move over a background they can't be painted over the background - like I used to do in all my illustrations. This is why it's almost impossible to make animated apps or ebooks from classic children's books.
When you're working with animated assets the more things you separate from the background the more powerful the property. By that I mean that if what you're working on ever does well commercially you'll probably want to follow it up with a sequel. So the more stuff you can illustrate separately the more power you have in creating another story using the same backgrounds by moving the props into different positions or removing them entirely. You can see that this beach scene could be completely reworked in a matter of minutes since every object is painted on it's own layer. Ironically I don't think I'd be going down this road if I hadn't learned to work in photoshop a few years back!
Some little fishies that appear in a few screens in the app...
The programmer on this app really likes the "Unity Framework" which he is using to format our app. It's actually designed for a 3d game environment but works great for our 2d art and animation. It allows us to dream it and build it. Looking at the smooth motion it provides is amazing to me since I've always identified myself as an illustrator. About 4 years ago a colleague of mine attended an icon conference where a speaker said that illustrators will need to start thinking about motion graphics and animation if they want to stay viable in the near future. Those words were a bit scary to me at the time for fear of the unknown. Now I'm not only unafraid - I'm so psyched about the possibilities and the sheer fun of dreaming up things that I've never seen before!