ELINA – Creator of DIBI AMIGURUMIS
Elina Hiltunen, author of the Dibidogs Amigurumi book, chatted with three fourth-graders, Heini, Emilia, and Anni, about the book and how it came about.
Q: How old were you when you became interested in crochet?
A: I got into crochet four years ago, when I was 38.
Q: What, in your opinion, is your most successful crochet project?
A: Since I like dogs, I think my crochet dogs are fun.
Q: Where did you get the idea for the Dibidogs crochet book?
A: I know Jim, whose kids invented the Dibidogs. We were having coffee and talking about my interest in crochet when Jim suggested that I do a crochet book on the Dibis. I immediately got excited about the idea!
Q: Whose idea was it to ask the Finnish president’s dog, Lennu, to become the patron of your book?
A: We were sitting with the book’s production team at a planning meeting and were trying to come up with a good patron for the book. The king of the Dibidogs is a Boston terrier and I remembered that the presidential couple’s dog is the same breed. So that’s how we thought of asking Lennu to become the book’s patron.
Q: Why did you decide to donate one euro per book to assistance dogs?
A: Since there are a lot of dogs in Dibidogs, it was natural to support assistance dog activities. They do really important work, like helping people with physical handicaps. So far, we’ve collected enough money with the book to fund two new assistant dog puppies!
Q: How did you come up with all the crochet patterns in the book?
A: Because I wanted the book to help people to learn to crochet, I just developed easy patterns off the top of my head. Once you learn to crochet with the help of the patterns, you can start to crochet the Dibidogs and other Dibi characters.
Q: There’s a photo of you with a puppy in the book. Do you have several dogs?
A: In that picture I’m holding Uno, our Labrador retriever. My family also has an old Labrador named Elvis and a miniature poodle named Barbi.
Q: What is your favorite character in Dibidogs?
A: Definitely the ‘Bad guy’ dog with the hat!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Q: Where did you get the idea for skateboarding Dibidogs?
A: My son Otto suggested that Dibidogs could skate on miniature skateboards.
Q: Did your family help you a lot with the making of this book?
A: My children helped me with ideas for the crochet characters. The news anchor Emily and Trickster the Magician were my children’s ideas.
Q: What next?
A: We’ve just had the book translated into English, and there are versions in French and Chinese coming up – possibly also in Japanese and Korean. So we’ve got our hands full!
The brand new Dibidurumi book now available for all Finnish speaking fans
Learn how to create the Dibidogs characters, even the mysterious Shadows!
Lennu, Finland’s ‘number one dog’ (the dog of the President, Mr. Sauli Niinistö and his wife Mrs. Jenni Haukio) is the official supporter of this book.
By the way, did you know that – just like Lennu - the King of Dibidogs is also a boston terrier!
Cactuscats meeting the Dibidogs in a brand new, colorful book
Dibidogs meet the Cactus Queen. The thrilling adventure in a beautifully coloured book is now available for all Finnish speaking Dibifans.
Brand new activity books available now for all Dibifans in Finland!
Connected Creativity Awards at MipTV
Futurecode takes their existing animated property, The Dibidogs, and creates a new world for children by bringing it into augmented reality. Futurecode was voted the most innovative new media-company in Cannes, France (April 2011)
Dibidogs – the world’s kids’ own TV show
The Dibidogs live on a beautiful planet known as Bonecity. They zoom around in cool spaceships, go to school right next to the awesome Royal Palace and get mixed up in adventures full of royal hounds, mysterious shadows and a super-cute princess.
Dibidogs was launched in October 2010 at Mipcom, and has been sold to 11 countries already in one month!
The Dibidogs meet a cool new friend: Jonina
The Dibidogs met the perky, imaginative Jonina at the Helsinki Children’s Fair.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m starting sixth grade after summer vacation; I’m in fifth grade now. I’m in the book club and the woodworking club. I love animals! Me and my sister own four guinea pigs and a rabbit.
Where did you first see Dibidogs?
I saw an ad for the show and it looked fun. Last year at Easter my brother was watching TV and I noticed that MTV3 was showing Dibidogs. I asked my brother not to change the channel while the show was on.
Ever since that first episode, I’ve thought that it’s the best show in the world, really exciting and fast-moving! The characters are sweet.
Who are your favorite Dibidogs?
Adi and Jessica are my favorites because they’re brave and smart and most of all cute! I think Adi is funny and Jessica is pretty saucy and smart.
How is Dibidogs different from other animated shows?
The show’s better than other animated series because its main characters are dogs, which I really like. And also, it has really fast, exciting scenes. This series is also creative, because I’ve gotten better grades on my stories at school thanks to the Dibis.
You’ve read Tuija Lehtinen’s book Dibidogs and the Lost Princess many times. What do you think of the book?
I think it’s really great and cool! I’m already waiting for the next Dibidogs book...
The book also has three-dimensional augmented reality. Was it easy to use? What did it make you think of?
The first few times, it seemed hard to use the augmented reality, but by now I’m a pro. The first thing I thought of was that now I own two little dogs, Adi and Jessica, that I can teach tricks and play with.
What about the next Dibidogs episodes? What kinds of new characters would you like to have included?
Me and my sister have invented a poodle whose name is Jenni and she’s Mimi’s cousin. She’s white with yellow hair and wears a collar with pearls on it. We also thought up Ninni, who’s a grey dog of the same breed as Jessica and has a purple skirt and purple hair. Then there’s Lily, a brown greyhound who dreams of visiting the palace. My brother has also designed a bull terrier named Manu. Manu has a yellow collar.
What would you like to have happen next in the series?
It would be nice if Princess Cecelia had a birthday that would be celebrated all over the planet. As a present, Cecelia would get her own amusement park, Dibilandia, that would be opened up in the Dibipark, but on the big day everything wouldn’t go quite according to plan – because the guinea pigs, hamsters and mice would have come from the Rascal Rodents planet to take all the rides and stuff from the park. Adi and Jessica decide to figure out what’s happened, who’s been playing tricks and what’s really going on. Eventually Adi and Jessica would give the Rascal Rodents their own amusement park, which they’d been dreaming of for their own planet.
The Dibidogs would like to thank Jonina for this interview! We’re sure that when she moves into sixth grade, she’ll continue to create and write amazingly exciting, funny stories both at school and home.
28.8.2010, updated 27.9.2010
The first Dibidogs book is now available
– including interactive 3D animation that leaps straight off the page!
The story of The Dibidogs and the Lost Princess – already familiar to many television viewers – has now been retold in a unique book form. Adi, Jessica and their canine buddies pursue a thrilling adventure in this vividly-illustrated book.
In an exciting new revelation, the book contains interactive three-dimensional animation known as Augmented Reality (AR). Pointing a webcam or mobile phone viewfinder at markers on the pages produces 3D Dibidogs figures that seem to pop out of the book.
The characters welcome readers to places familiar from the TV show, such as Bonecity’s school and spaceport. By moving the camera, the user can make the dogs jump, roll over or move on to the next stage of the story.
The 3D animation is not essential to follow the plot, though. The volume can also be enjoyed as a traditional stand-alone storybook.
The AR technology used in the book was developed by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Scandinavia’s largest research institute. The book’s level of interactivity and photorealism is unparalleled world-wide.
The first edition is in Finnish. An English edition will be published in 2011.
In addition to the author and illustrators, the creative team for the first Dibidogs book included multimedia developers from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.
The Dibidogs and the Lost Princess
Publisher: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Paasilinna
Author: Tuija Lehtinen
Illustrators: Mio Mäkijärvi and Emiel Inkeri
Augmented Reality technology: VTT, Prof. Charles Woodward and his multimedia team
More information about the book and the technical requirements for AR viewing is available at the publisher's website (only in Finnish so far).
Meet The Dibidogs
A schoolboy with a wild streak. His dad is a spaceship pilot, his mom is a librarian and his poetic older brother is studying to be a sewer inspector.
Adi’s classmate is the King’s younger daughter. Smart, emotional – and hates being treated as a royal.
A wacky girl who’s obsessed with polka-dotted ribbons. Adi's and Jessica’s classmate.
Nicknamed Blossom, the king’s older daughter loves being the object of adoration.
How the series got its start
The Dibidogs series was born out of children’s imagination.
In 2005, two Finnish kids started drawing goofy dogs in a notebook while on vacation. On a sweaty road trip to the Grand Canyon with their parents, Mikaela and Tom passed the time doodling. The characters with pear-shaped heads that emerged were quickly named Dibidogs.
The dogs have wandered a long, rocky road from that notebook to a high-tech Chinese animation studio and onto the world’s TV screens. Mikaela and Tom’s dad, Jim Solatie, travelled all over China seeking production partners. After many trips and meetings, he signed a deal in 2007 with the Blue Arc Ltd animation studio, best known for the Transformers series.
Finland’s best-selling juvenile author Tuija Lehtinen became enthusiastic about the canine characters. She signed on as chief scriptwriter, converting the kids’ ideas into compelling storylines. Art Director Jarkko Harmaala began creating two-dimensional characters whose adventures extend beyond the TV screen into games and merchandise.
Dibidogs debuted in April 2010 on Finland’s main commercial channel, MTV3, before switching to its sister channel Sub Junior.
In the autumn of 2010 the first mass-market Dibidogs book appears, setting a world precedent with an exciting new technology. The characters will pop up out of the page and into life, thanks to technology developed by the VTT Technical Research Center. Using a mobile phone or web camera, the scruffy-headed puppy Adi and the others will be able to spin around, growl or jump onto the viewer’s hand.
These lovable hounds, born out of kids’ imagination, appear on Chinese TV screens this fall. The Dibidogs’ audience will leap into the tens – or even hundreds – of millions.
The trip from a school notebook to worldwide popularity has begun…
(Sources: Lauri Sihvonen/Seura magazine, MTV3)
You can see sample episodes of Dibidogs on the MTV3 and Sub Junior websites or on their own Facebook page