There are so many science topics or subjects we could have started with, many of which may have been easier to tackle. So, why start here?
Because, as parents, this seems to be a subject that invariably comes up…often well before a kid will hear about it in school.
My daughter was about five when, out of the blue, she indulged me with her theory of pregnancy and childbirth one morning before school. If your kid has ever decided to enlighten you with such a theory, I’m going to assume you know two things:
- Kids are awesome
- So are their theories
There are also two things you should know about me:
- I’m a science animator. I work with science organizations and magazines to help them explain science to their audiences.
- Essentially all of the content I create today is for adults.
It occurred to me one day that I’ve never used art and animation to explain science to my own kid.
No idea why not.
So, this is an experiment.
Those that know me well know I’m a huge proponent of science literacy.
This is another step for me – it’s an attempt to bring science to a new audience. I love having a project where I have full creative control, but there’s a vulnerability to it that isn’t there when I create content for clients. It opens you up to criticism, and that never feels good.
But part of my mission with this project is to step up as an animator…and as a parent.
My kid wants to be an artist when she grows up, and I kinda love that. I love that she’s watched both her parents go through drastic career transitions, and come out the other side (relatively) unscathed. I’m happy to continue to teach her that it’s far better to put yourself out there once in a while (and risk failing hard), than to spend your life sitting on the sidelines.
The other interest in this topic was a practical one. I’m excited about the potential to build this out into other areas of science – from teaching kids about cell division and the differences between mitosis and meiosis, to branching off into DNA and heritable traits, to demonstrating how organs develop and function.
Starting here allows for all of that stuff to be added.
Down the line.
As a creator, it also allows me to collaborate with other scientists, childhood educators and app developers as things progress if anyone’s interested.
But this seemed like a good place to start.
…And there really is only one rule:
It has to be simple.
There won’t be tons of options or bling. Not this time around.
To (actually) finish this thing off.
And, the easiest place to start was with artwork I already had. The idea for the comic style was born out of an animation I did for Scientific American last year. For the sake of time and simplicity, I used the same color pallet.
The difference between that video and this project lies in the style of the artwork itself. It’s very simple, and that means it lends itself to being animated easily. Circles are easier to animate than spider legs. Trust me on this.
Forty weeks of pregnancy means 40 animations need to be conceptualized and produced. This doesn’t include the additional time required to build in interactivity.
That’s a lot of work.
Even if I didn’t already have a job this would be a lot to take on and commit to.
So why even bother?
Because I’m intrigued with the possibility of where a project like this could lead.
I believe laying information out in this kind of (comic) style might actually appeal to young viewers…and that means the possibilities are endless.
Endless across age groups and subject matter.
And, if I can find a way to get kids interested in learning (particularly about science)…that makes me happy.
SCIENCE APP PROJECT
Get an insider’s peek at the process of art and prototype creation, thoughts on where this could lead, and how things develop!