Swedish studio Pencil United claims “Great Leap For Digital Native Graphic Storytelling” with new app

Pencil UnitedIt’s been a while since we’ve been sent details about a company hoping to revolutionise the world of digital comics by creating a ground-breaking new comics platform. So we were quite intrigued when we had a press release come through from a Swedish company called Pencil United who are claiming to do just that with their new app and comics designed specifically for touchscreen. 

Here’s what they had to say about their new project:

“Unlike the big mainstream publishers who are stuck with the limitations of printed pages when they digitize comic books, Pencil United embraces the possibilities of the digital medium for graphic storytelling unlike any other. A first taste of the independent studio’s unique reading experience, the drama series “Northern Souls”, will be available early in 2016 when the Pencil United app is released in the App Store. For every episode that is downloaded through the app the studio will buy UNICEF pencils to support children’s learning and creativity.”

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Pencil United’s basic philosophy is apparently “to embrace the digital environment as the native soil – and plant in that soil what could never grow anywhere else.” (which is a quote from Scott McCloud’s Reinventing Comics) and the Swedish studio believe they have solved the technological gap that McCloud asserted was the reason people have yet to take up digital comics.

“We know that both readers and critics want comics in the digital medium to maintain their core strengths with juxtaposed images and the temporal map, but also that the digital environment should cultivate and enhance interactivity and closeness. So we are adding touch-the-panels navigation, dual-layer full screen dynamic graphics, slideshows, panning widescreen images and info hotspots. We are really exploring the design possibilities of an infinite canvas to give our digital native stories a relevant and unique identity”, Andy Mehlq, the creator behind Pencil United, explains.

“Pencil United’s reading interface is not an experimental display that makes it hard to follow but rather a smooth seamless reading line where the reader at his or her own pace makes the action of the story float by the window of the screen. We are excited that our readers will feel a lot closer to our stories by touching the actual art, moving the panels and affecting the layout on the screen”, Andy Mehlq says. “This is a big step away from the static pages of comic books, and a great leap forward that enhances the feeling of interactivity and intimacy.”

Pencil United - Northern Souls

Not content with just pushing the boundaries of digital comics, Pencil United are also proving to be throoughyl nice chaps too as every download through the Pencil United app they will buy five pencils from UNICEF who will distribute them to schools all over the world. ”We want to help children to learn to write, read, draw and do maths and support them to reach their full potential. And for us pencils are the ultimate symbol and tool for creativity and humanism”

It sounds like a really interesting project, bit as always one that depends on the quality of the comics they produce as to whether it will take off or just be another slick app trying to reinvent the wheel.

We’ll have more information here on the site when we find out more!