Thumbelina Magic Story for iPad is a forthcoming interactive storybook for Apple's tablet in the tradition of Atomic Antelope's Alice for the iPad – an enchanting mix of Hans Christian Anderson's fairytale and interactive gameplay aimed at younger children. It features new illustrations by artist Alexander Pogrebniak, whose studio produced the app.

We caught up with Alex to find out more about the project.

DA: What's your background?

AP: "I am 25 years old [and studied] Design at the Academy of Arts and Design in Kharkov, Ukraine. I have been working for some time as designer of jewelries at the Kharkiv Jewelry Factory, but I always had the desire to illustrate books – so I decided to create an interactive fairy tale for iPad."

DA: Who are your biggest influences?

AP: "I am very much fond of Salvador Dali, Hieronymus Bosch and Aubrey Beardsley. I also feel a lot of attraction towards pop surrealism and I am fascinated by Mark Ryden, Kris Kuksi and many other artists."

DA: Why did you want to make an interactive book of Thumbelina?

AP: "The idea to create an interactive fairy tale emerged some time ago, when I first saw Alice in Wonderland on my friend’s iPad. I was deeply impressed and felt urge to create my own interactive book.

"Thumbelina is an extraordinary and authentic fairytale. There are plenty of picturesque characters and this gives the artist unlimited space to express himself. Thumbelina has no creative boundaries – the tale is not tied to any particular period in history."

Original artwork created for Thumbelina by Alex

DA: Tell us a bit about the aesthetic and compositional choices you made when creating the artwork.

AP: "When working on illustrations I dedicated significant efforts to the image of every personage. I wanted to visualize every one of them in an outstanding way, I wanted to give them this stylish rock-n-roll look, wanted them to look contemporarily despite their fairy tale outfits. I wished to spread this indescribable feeling throughout the book: this is why I selected indie and rock music for the sound track.

I have given particular attention to every costume and dress, filling them with millions of tiny details. First I was drawing on paper using thin brushes (0,1,2) and watercolor, gouache and ink. I kept digital versions close to the originals and used Photoshop to add a polished look on the iPad. I strived to make illustrations look bright, warm and intense.

DA: Could you describe a couple of the interactive elements - how they work and what children get out of playing with them?

AP: "I designed the book so young readers would feel like they were in each of the environments: forest, lake, dawn, etc. [I put in] interactive elements along with various sounds of nature such as birdsong, the murmur of water and the sound of the wind to serve to this purpose.

"Kids can develop their artistic sensibilities and skills by creating their own tunes and by restructuring certain elements of the page. Also, interactive elements are used to enhance and balance the illustrations, create a fairytale atmosphere and bring about a contemporary feel."

A half-finished illustration, painted over a pencil sketch.
One of Alex's original sketches for the central character of Thumbelina

DA: What's the secret to creating interactive books that children really enjoy and engage with?

AP: "Interactive books allow kids to get inside of the fairytale – and play and travel along with the characters. The chatacter's come to life from the kids’ touches. The secret is to approach such projects as the playful kid that we all are in our hearts."

Thumbelina Magic Story for iPad costs $2.99/£1.99 and is out on September 27.