It all started with a butt.
Brian Snyder, who wrote the learn-how-to-draw coloring book, “Everything Butt Art at the Zoo,” has now transformed his first book into an iPad app, where kids can draw any animal, starting with the shape of a butt.
“Seeing my daughter with an iPod Touch before she was three years old for the first time made me realize something,” said Synder, whose second coloring book is entitled, “Everything Butt Art on the Farm.”
“She was so intuitive with it, she did not need directions. She instinctively knew how to navigate it,” he said.
After watching his daughter Madeline quickly become a whiz with touchscreen technology, Snyder thought the next step for his children’s books was to transfer them to the iPad. And with that, the app Butt Art–Kids Learn to Draw Zoo Animals Step-by-Step was born.
“It’s a new way for kids to be thinking and interacting and learning from technology that ‘pre-touch’ kids did not have,” Snyder said, explaining that he grew up playing Atari, which was one of the pioneering home video game consoles. “Clearly touch technology opens up a low-age threshold where learning can happen.”
Snyder, 33, has two kids and has been living in Park Slope since 2009. Two years ago, he turned his childhood pastime, “Butt Art,” into a living.
"Butt Art" is an easy way to teach kids how to draw. First, you start with a simple shape, in his case he “always starts with a butt,” and then follow five easy steps to draw anything from a panda, to a chameleon, to a hippo.
His first coloring book, which came out in May 2011, started after he saw Madeline drawing faces on a piece of paper. He decided to teach her how to draw a “butt dragon,” and then the idea for his book came to him.
Two years and two books later, on Thursday, Feb. 2, the former IBM salesman released his first iPad App. To download Butt Art–Kids Learn to Draw Zoo Animals Step-by-Step for free, click here.
“Bringing the silliness of the butt is a way to engage and all of a sudden, I think, I created a compelling combination of creativity, education and technology wrapped into this fun package.”
The how-to-draw app is also a complete e-book with full-page color spreads, audio and virtual page-turning. Each page is packed with quirky factoids about the animals.
“Take the chameleon, the first thing you think of is how it changes colors, but we go further than that and teach kids about the speed of a chameleon’s tongue,” Snyder said. “If you’re ever close to one at the zoo, you better keep close guard of your ice cream so they don’t steal a lick.”
The free app has a choice of three animals (the remaining twelve cost $0.99 per pack of six) with a six-step drawing process, starting with that silly shape, which simply looks like a rounded, lower-case “w.”
The drawing feature includes a paintbrush, a pencil, an eraser and a full spectrum of colors. The user traces over the lines in each step. More advanced butt artists can turn off the setting and draw freehand.
There are also tons of stamps, which allow the users to plop down backgrounds like grass, water and trees. After drawing all 15 animals, users unlock the “Zookeeper” badge. Badges are earned for drawing-related accomplishments.
Each user creates their own profile and drawings are automatically saved to their profile’s online art gallery, which can be set public or private. The drawings are also posted in the app’s online activity feed, and are tagged with the profile name and date.
This coming May, Snyder will publish two more books: “Everything Butt Art Under the Sea” and “Everything Butt Art in the City.” Eventually he wants to incorporate his kids, Lucas and Madeline, into his books.
In the digital age, many people asked him why he started with books and not an iPad app.
For Snyder, that was an easy question to answer.
“The vision was always to have print and digital mediums for this. I didn’t want to take a child’s opportunity to have fun with ‘Everything Butt Art’ away because they didn’t have an expensive device,” he explained. “I want as many people to experience this regardless of the form factor.”
He then posed a question himself:
“Is there any good reason for anyone not to play with ‘Everything Butt Art'?”