Today’s interview is with Yana Elkassova and Dale Markey of  Elk & Key.  Please visit their website, and  on Twitter .

elk&key

Thank you for participating in our interview. Please tell us a little about yourself.

We are a soon to be married couple who began dating and making apps together around the same time! We’ve combined our individual passions for children’s book illustration and mobile game design to create beautiful hand-drawn apps for children which are both educational and entertaining.

 

How did the idea for your app come about?

Q. What do you call an angry, livid, irate dinosaur?

A. A theasaurus

That’s how it started, a cheesy joke Dale told me while waiting for some friends to join us for an evening out. We thought instantly that this would be a great idea for a children’s app.

 

iPad Screenshot 2

And how long was the process from the original idea to the release of the app?

It took us about a year to make Theasaurus alongside other freelance projects and outside of our day jobs.

 

Did you hire a developer or do it yourself?

I was responsible for everything visual within the app so I created all graphics, illustrations and animations whilst Dale programmed the game. I also created a font just for the app! We both designed the game play and I also compiled most of the words featured in the game. We also called in the volunteer services of teacher friends, academics at a dinner party and work colleagues’ children for play-testing.

 

What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome in the development process?

The most difficult part was deciphering how to best transfer my traditional hand-drawn practice to a digital format without losing the integrity of the original images. Amidst trying to figure out which resolution to work at, we had a couple of false starts before we found a resolution we were both happy with; one which kept images clear and file size low.

 

Have you had much support during the development process (from family, peers, Apple Inc.)?

Our friends and family have been very supportive and have been very helpful in offering their time, a critical eye and their children as play-testers for our game.

 

What are your plans for the future? Will you be developing any more apps?

We plan to develop more apps. We already have a prototype of our next app, ‘Extinct’ which is a game about Eclipsazoology (the study of extinct animals). In the game, the player will act as a Palaeontologist and will need to piece together the bones of extinct animals correctly before they are able to gain interesting facts about the animals and see what they used to look like. Players will be guided through the game by an encouraging, knowledgeable professor. We may also make a small match-three game about different types of forest mushrooms before resuming with Extinct.

 

What sort of feedback has your app been receiving so far?

We have had a couple of good reviews on the App store and on Google Play. Eyestorm.com, a leading online art retailer also wrote a lovely piece about the game in their newsletter recently. We have only just started sending out the press pack in the last couple of days and are looking forward to constructive feedback!

 

And finally, what advice would you give to anyone considering creating their own app?

Keep it simple and start small. Play test early and frequently and don’t forget to have fun.

 

Thank you so much for talking with us today and sharing a bit about your company.  We really appreciated the chance to get to know you!

Theasaurus – Elk & Key Ltd

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