All of the portraits on these pages are created with the Art Bellies Pocket app for the iPhone, iPad and iTouch. Each print is made from a real user and no one is an artist – but you’d never know that by looking at all these great memories. Feel free to browse through our gallery. Or better yet – send us your art and we’ll feature it here!
Calling all moms! Calling all moms! Technology is part of all our lives. How can we best use it as a tool for our children and how can we help support our families through shaping how technology works for us? As part of our ongoing interview series, we recently caught up with Shreta Dupree. Her story is amazing and inspiring. Let her lessons serve as examples for all that is possible.
Hello Shreta and thank you for talking with us today. When most people think about an “app developer,” they probably aren’t imagining a mom who codes in the night. Can you please tell us about how you got started designing apps?
I’ve always had a love for technology, every since modern computers hit the scene in the 80′s actually! Being an entrepreneur also, I’ve tried several businesses over the years. However, I never came across one that would allow me to explore the technology field. After learning about the iPhone Developer program, I decided to teach myself how to code.
I will say that learning new programming languages from scratch can be difficult and challenging at times. Since I didn’t want to throw out a crappy app, I decided to outsource. I’m still learning how to code now but I’m glad I did outsource my projects. It gives me more time to focus on other aspects such as marketing and interacting with my customers so I can improve the app. I’ve actually learned quite a lot along the way.
How come there aren’t more women developers in this field and what can we do to change this?
I think many women simply do not know about it or even have a desire when it comes to technology. I’ve only come across a few blogs or websites the even have technology as a category for topics. Many may find it too complicated or even boring. I feel it can be exciting. It’s just a matter of embracing technology as a whole and making it enjoyable.
I’ve recently started blogging to bring awareness to this field and to promote my apps. On my blog, I aim to focus on providing the latest “tech” news in a fun way. I’ve often been told it’s refreshing to learn the struggles and joys of being a developer from a woman’s perspective. I think more awareness of the subject needs to be brought to women. Although not many, there are some women developers like myself and it can be done.
Are there any great organizations or teaching programs that aren’t on my radar you can tell me about? I’d love to see young girls in school saying that they want to be app developers when they grow up.
I’m not aware of any teaching programs just for women. However, I am a member of the Moms with Apps organization which is where I met a few women developers. It is a collaborative group of family-friendly developers seeking to promote quality apps for kids and families. Prior to finding MWA, I would read major iPhone forums and about 90% if not more were all posts from men developers. So it was nice to join MWA and connect with other women.
I really like your iCrayonMaker app. Was that inspired by your own family’s needs?
Actually, yes it was! My 10 year old daughter gave me the idea. She’s really into art and designing. I’ve watch her numerous times create drawings and mixing colors to use. As I was brainstorming ideas for my next app she actually gave me the idea of producing one that would allow the user to mix colors and draw with the color they created. After a lot of note taking, brainstorming, sketches and researching I took the necessary steps to bringing my idea to life. My daughter was actually my first beta tester, once she gave me the approval that everything was cool, iCrayonMaker was released.
What have been your biggest challenges to date?
Without a doubt marketing has been my biggest challenge thus far. It seems I can learn the ends and outs of developing apps but can’t grasp the concept of how to market them. Being an independent developer with a family to help support, its not easy for me to pay a couple thousands or even hundreds toward marketing my apps. Therefore I’ve been using very low cost techniques to gain followers which in return I hope will increase downloads. I know I’m not alone in this category, as I’ve found many developers struggle with the same thing. I always said if I found a technique that was very cost effective and increased sales tremendously, I would share it with the whole indie community!
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m working on updating iCrayonMaker, I have a ton of new features I want to add which will make the app even more enjoyable and hopefully help increase sales. While doing that, I’ve been heavily focusing on using social media to gain more followers so I can grow my fan base. Since marketing is one my biggest challenges, I’ve really been working hard to overcome this. Overall its really been quite a fun experience so far. I’ve teamed up with several mom bloggers throughout the months networking, hosting giveaways, signing up for marketing classes,etc. You can always check out my blog to join exciting giveaways, get updates on my latest apps and to read about my experiences as a mom developer.
Where do you see the future of app development heading?
When I think about the future of app development, one word comes to mind: “growth.” Since I’ve starting creating applications, so many things constantly change. Growth is a good thing, it gives me a since of stability when it comes to app development. I feel confident I’ll be developing applications for iOS devices for years to come.
Thank you so much Shreta and good luck. Marketing is the biggest hurdle for all indie-app developers. But you make great apps and quality speaks for itself. Until next time!!!
Shreta Dupree is a wife, mom, independent application developer and entrepreneur. She is a self starter, driven, takes action quickly and is fueled by her passion for technology. Shreta has created applications for iOS devices which includes YouDraw, iCrayonMaker and Personal Calculator. She is also the blogger behind her most recent tech blog “My Journey as a mom iPhone Developer”
About Affective Apps
Affective Apps is a small independent design studio with one huge goal: to offer individuals and families creative outlets and experiences. Their newest release, Mad Lips, helps people connect through laughter. Previous apps, such as Art Bellies Pocket, showed non-artists how to create digital masterpieces that are inspired by loved ones.
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Professionally, you are a writer and a sculptor of words, but do you think of yourself as an artist?
Absolutely. I have a huge passion for art as well as photography, and have been ‘crafty’ for years. If I hadn’t taken the writing route, art would have been my other choice.
Do you have any other artistic or creative passions?
I love drawing, sewing, photography, painting, creating on Photoshop… you name it, and I will most likely have tried it. I also have a theatre background and love singing and playing guitar.
What does the word “creativity” mean to you?
Being inspired by something in the world around you that moves you to physically act in a creative fashion, be it knit, sing, dance, write… whatever medium you choose is just a reflection of that passion and inspiration.
Do you see natural creativity in your 3 year old or do you need to encourage it?
Ally definitely loves it when we get into ‘made-up storytelling’ sessions, and she’s now getting more interested in physical art such as painting, or chalk drawing. She’s got a keen ear for sound and loves singing as well. The physical art was something that came with time as we slowly introduced it, but the singing and storytelling came quite naturally—I think in part because she is so auditory in her nature.
What are your thoughts about creativity and childhood?
That they go hand in hand and should be encouraged as best as they can. Creativity can come in a multitude of forms, however, and I think it’s important to embrace that notion. It’s not just about arts and crafts. Science can be a very creative medium and so if your child is intrigued by bugs or nature, encouraging them in that field is important.
How old do children need to be in order to start being “creative?”
I don’t think there’s an ‘age’ per se. I think a baby’s curiosity is naturally creative. Look at the way they examine objects. They can get very creative with toys of all sorts, let me tell you.
How important is art for children?
I think art is something that should definitely be available for children, but I also think parents have to be flexible on what that word means. Not every child is going to be a Picasso (although some kids’ art definitely resembles his work!) so it’s important to look at the range of artistic options out there and allow your kids to explore them.
Do you think that you can affect your child’s personality by the actions that you take while you are pregnant? And if so, what can you do to encourage a creative personality?
I definitely believe that your actions while pregnant may have some impact on your unborn child, but I think it transfers itself in emotion rather than practical. If creating in any way, shape or form brings you joy, then I think that will have a positive affect on your baby. I’ve read lots on music and babies in the womb that may encourage a love of music when they are born. I’d love to know how to do the same with painting!
Are you doing anything different this pregnancy based on what you have now learned by watching your first one?
Relaxing more—namely, not worrying about every little detail the way I did with the first. Trying to enjoy it rather than structure it. The other difference is that I am running around after a three year-old now, so I’m not sure I would have the time to over-detail it anyway. I’m also enjoying fun, creative activities with my daughter, so we’ll see how that transfers to my son!
Robyn Burnett has not only written two acclaimed books on contemporary television series, but also hundreds of articles for FoodTV.ca, HGTV.ca, WNetwork.ca and Slice.ca (CanWest Global and Corus Entertainment). As a screenwriter, she as written/story edited screenplays for Alliance Atlantis, Edge Entertainment, Astral Media and Telefilm. Currently, along with her writing partner Christopher, she is working on a feature for award-winning director Bruce McDonald. A playwright also, Robyn’s play, The Butterfly Kiss, received 4 star reviews in NOW and EYE in Toronto’s 2005 Fringe Festival. As well, she was a part of the editorial team for Kaboose.com (Disney Interactive Media Group) and is presently on the editorial team for the highly acclaimed site for Canadian moms, www.savvymom.ca.
Learn more at Autumn Storm Films:
I love this print. Look at how she captured the essence of pregnancy! Matisse himself would be proud.
Here is another portrait that was taken at the Baby Planner Book signing event with author Josie Brown.
This is a great silhouette taken at the Baby Planner Book Tour event at Metro Mini’s in NYC.
Look at this detail! Look at all those flowers in the background. Look at the love this father has for his little girl!!!!
What a beautiful portrait of this happy little girl! Thank you for sharing and for making great art.
This beautiful portrait was just sent to us by a user in the UK. Look how he captured the emotions of his family. And even better – look at what he has to say about Art Bellies Pocket:
“I have no artistic background; I cannot draw at all. That’s why I love your app – it makes me look good! It’s so easy to use – I’m just tracing a photo so it’s not very difficult. Anyone can do it. I’m experimenting with different styles at the moment so I’ll be sending you more of my work in due course. I am finding the Tips section very helpful indeed. I cannot draw normally but this app has helped me produce some art that I am very proud of. Your app is amazing.”