Illustrator for Interactive App: Goodnight Safari

Luciana Navarro Powell creates beautifully unique and stylised illustrations for children. I have had the wonderful opertunity to interview Luciana and form my first published article focused on the creative industry. This Case Study focuses primarly on Luciana's work in the interactive app:  Good Night Safari and her history in the industry.

Luciana Navarro Powell is a professional Illustrator of ten years based in San Diego, California. Powell’s Illustrative style adheres to the educational publishing field with an audience aimed at children. Her illustration study draws from books, toys, movies, cartoons and photographs along with her vivid imagination and experiences as a child.

Naturally she finds the most inspiration through her children - “the way they see the world, - there is such a freshness and newness to it that can't be matched by anything adults try to create! So I feel like I get to be a kid again through their eyes.” Powell, L 2014.

Luciana used traditional mediums of watercolour and acrylic paints at the start of her career. She now uses these techniques and applies them to the digital brush. “I love the freedom that comes with digital art, and all the possibilities of experimentation with different textures” - Luciana Illustration 2014.

History of Luciana Navarro Powell

Luciana Navarro Powell grew up in Curitiba, Brazil, where she began drawing from an early age. She earned a degree in Product Design through her studies in college, proceeding to work in product, graphic and web design for a few years. Throughout this period she continuously took on freelance illustration projects on the side. In 2002 she moved to the US and began working for Pearson Education. Starting in graphic design work, then as an art-buyer and in-house illustrator, from 2003-2006. During this time she learnt about the educational publishing market.

In 2006 Luciana left Pearson and moved to another state. She began her freelancing career, continuing to work for Pearson and other text-book publishers. In 2011 Luciana began to write her own stories which lead to producing her first written and illustrated books: My Dad is the Best Playground, 2012 and My Mom is the Best Circus, 2013, both by Random House/Robin Corey books.

She has expanded to the trade publishing field, as well as toys, murals, traditional books and book-apps working for clients such as Chronicle Books, Polk Street Press, Highlights Magazine, Crocodile Creek, Scholastic, Pearson, Random House, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill, Hasbro Toys, National Geographic School Publishing.Luciana is currently represented in the literary market by Deborah Warren and of the East West Literary Agency.


Luciana Navarro Powell’s Position in the industry 

Luciana Navarro Powell is a experienced illustrator publishing work in the educational field in the North-American market. She is breaking into the trade publishing market, writing, toys and book-apps market. Currently a traditional and digital Illustrator.

Author and Illustrator for Print Books:

Works with Art Director who supplies feedback through the development of the illustrations. Under the directors guidance she will work towards creating the final illustration.

Illustrator for interactive Media:

Designs and illustrates in consideration of theprogrammer, animator, voices and soundtrack through the publisher. All scenes and characters are provided in layers for the animator to work with.

Powell, L 2013, Visual Development for Spatter and Spark App by Polk Street Press

Powell, L 2013, Visual Development for Spatter and Spark App by Polk Street Press











Illustration for Interactive App: GoodNight Safari

The book app Goodnight Safari by Polk Street Press was visually developed under Luciana Navarro Powell’s “Photo Collage” style. This signature technique originates from taking photos from real objects such as cement cracks, wood, earth and scans from textures like leafs, fabric, paper, and flat objects such as a button etc. These textures are then incorporated into every layer of illustration from characters to environment by mixing the textures with shapes and colours. Luciana uses Customised Photoshop brushes, and creates her own brushesto mimic stokes of real brushes and creating organic textures that are not overly “digital”.

Powell, L 2012, Screen Shot from Goodnight Safari App by Polk Street Press

Powell, L 2012, Screen Shot from Goodnight Safari App by Polk Street Press

When you have a understanding of how such real textures are produced with a perfect blend of digital painting you can start see where scans and brush strokes are used and how they may have been produced. For example in this close up of the Lion featured in Goodnight Safari we can see that the body, arms and tail show a knit weave texture that may have been scanned in as a flat object. It could then be placed into photoshop within a shape, coloured over on a multiply layer then highlighted and darkened on low opacity with strokes giving shadow and form.

“It is very time-consuming but fun, and the result I believe is quite unique.” - Powell, L 2014.


This art style is well-suited to media of an app as the art is produced in a high resolution,  being able to adjust quality in size between the iphone, iPad, and iPod touch. The visual aesthetics make the characters and tonal focus warm, appealing, engagingcreating a three-dimensional sense without looking too digital. With the collaboration of animation and sound there is a believability to the characters when they move, enhancing the tactile properties of the illustrative style. 

“Each furry creature appears to be cut from fabric, giving the cuddly characters a stuffed-animal quality. Soft colours and a background of nighttime sounds (i.e. crickets chirping) enhance the soporific effect.” - Hardeson, S 2013


Ability to tell a story:

Goodnight Safari by Polk Street Press is categorised under “Interactive Kids Stories” in iTunes as a Bestseller. The App works as a bedtime story where the child produces simple interactions of taping on animals to help get ready for bedtime. They have the option to read along with a narrator or read by themselves indicating that each page includes a narrative of text that guides the viewer through the story with the aid of pictures.

The Narrator communicates to the viewer asking the child to help complete a task before moving onto the next page. For example on the “Rhino” page of Goodnight Safari the narrator will ask the viewer, “Can you help him take a bath?” indicating to tap on the rhino. The following animation of the rhino dunking into the water to wash off his muddy back will appear. This process continues throughout the story where the viewer will help the baby Zebra join his mother, the giraffe eat her dinner, the monkey swing to bed, and the elephant kiss goodnight.

“Simple vocabulary and intuitive interactivity will engage young children while building their comfort with nighttime preparations. A perfect bedtime or storytime accompaniment for young children.” - iTunes 2013

The Illustrations give the ability to tell a story by complimenting the narrative and emphasised through animation. The overall look is suitable to help children go to sleep. The illustrations are not too vibrant or over the top, you hear the light buzz of crickets crimping and the animations and interactions are at a calm, simple phase.


Ability to educate:

  • Early literacy skills can be developed though theRead along and read alone settings. The written narrative will appear on each page and each word is highlighted as it is spoken, syncing the sound of words to the text.
  • Teaches children the process of preparing for bed such as having a bath and eating dinner.
  • The option to explore each scene through tapping on background and characters. Learn about sounds that animals make and the way they move.
  • Learn to identify and name the main safari animals, along with lesser known leopard tortoises and monitor lizards that appear in the background throughout the story.
  • Menu links to optional age appropriate activities under the title “PlayGames”. This is an in-app purchase with parent lock to the app: Goodnight Safari Playtime.  Activities focus on identifying colours, counting animals, the aesthetic patterns on wildlife animals and matching baby animals with their mothers.  
  • Engaging story and beautiful artwork keeps the child's attention and opens them up to interactivity to learn in a fun, playful and kid friendly environment.
  • Luciana Navarro Powell’s Illustrations are educational as children can clearly identify and learn the simple features of animals. The unique textures allow children to identify the feel and look grass, leaves, wood, fabric ext.



The Children's Book App Goodnight Safari by Polk Street Press has a primary focus for children aged five and under and is recommended for toddlers aged one to four and children aged five to nine. The market are apple users for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad. Specifically the App functions as bedtime reading story making it a suitable source for parents to purchase and read with their children as they are saying goodnight or for a child to download for their own bedtime story.

“The entire app has a very calm and soothing feeling to it. Goodnight Safari is an interactive story that will help children relax instead of hyping them up with loud noises and crazy graphics.” - The iPhone Mom 2012

Goodnight Safari is designed to feature just enough interaction to hold the interest of children but not so much that they become overstimulated. Luciana Navarro Powell’s illustrations in Goodnight Safari have been designed and developed to appeal to young children whilst keeping to her own style which is initially based for children.

Polk Street Press Mission: “At Polk Street Press, we believe that when you bring together engaging stories, beautiful artwork, and build upon the intuitive nature of touch – stories can come to life in the hands of a child. The apps from Polk Street Press aren’t just digital spaces for children to learn and play – they incorporate wonderful storytelling with colourful pictures that seem to pop right off the screen and into your child’s imagination. Our hope is to bring families together while sharing our stories, and inspire a love of reading and art in this generation of children.” - Polk Street Press 2013.