I am on a short vacation to recharge my creative batteries. Where better than to be over-stimulated in New York City? Still - long flights are perfect for Thinking Cats. Here's one I made between Sydney and Los Angeles. I feel a little ambivalent about Churchill - he was a poor commander in World War 1 and cost New Zealand and Australian Expeditionery forces terrible slaughter at Gallipoli. But later he was the right leader to confront Hitler and rallied not only the troops but also the population in time of near catastrophic defeat. A reminder that no one is ever all-good all the time. We have our ups and downs.
It was a marathon to get the basic site up and running last night. But I miscalculated one thing in my excitement to share the idea of ThinkingCats with you…the site looked fine on computer screen and on iPad…but to my horror it looked really terrible on a mobile phone. These days that's unacceptable - but, as I said yesterday - always in beta.
I am pulling everything together myself - so I don't have the luxury of having a developer that sill say - "David, that will really suck.". I'm learning as I go. But that's ok. ThinkingCats never stop learning.
Keen to get through this phase and to start working on the bios. I realise it is a little hard to understand what I am trying to do without more material. But it's taking shape. Keep coming back to see how things are progressing - it's a bit like a slow opening in a restaurant.
I'm getting feedback from friends, but I can always take more suggestions on board. If you want to nominate someone for ThinkingCats treatment - please go right ahead. I'm offering a limited edition print if your nomination is done (if more than one person nominates - it will be a random draw). They look really great as big graphics. To the people who have already asked about buying prints - just working on getting the best prices for you.
ThinkingCats started out as something completely different to the idea that it is today. That's the thing about ideas - they grow and mutate. The more contacts and interactions there are the more ideas you have.
I've been drawing and scribbling ideas all my life. Along the way I stopped doing it so much as I did when I was younger. More and more ideas relied on sketching out ideas on the computer. Much as I love the Macintosh (it was the one most important piece of technology to come along in my lifetime that transformed everything. It got to the point where I hardly drew at all. I'd fitfully go through the process of buying Moleskin notebooks and drawing in them. But their 'specialness' is intimidating - they are expensive and if you make a bad picture there's no digital trash can…it kind of takes the simple pleasure out of it for me. To all the artists and people who love their sketchbooks - don't get me wrong - I enjoy looking at the work you share online…don't stop. It's just me.
By chance I saw a RCA presentation on YouTube that illustrated a talk about the future of education by Ken Robinson - one of those shows where a hand draws the ideas while the speaker does their thing. 'I could do that' I thought. But I had to figure out how. I found an application that does the animation but I despaired at the thought of having to learn Adobe Illustrator to make the vector graphics needed for the app. I found some drawing apps that run on the iPad. I bought an iPad Mini and a stylus and started to play. The pic of George Carlin was my first effort that actually looked anything like a 'result'. I let rip freehand - the scribble of Stanley Kubrick in the middle was made on a legal pad with a ballpoint pen years ago. In the mean-time I had got stuck in photoshop making odd pastiches of the work of Julian Opie - lifeless and dull.
Then there was the influence of the late, great Al Hirschfeld - I saw a video about him called The Line King and boom, some lights came on. Marry that to the work of Maira Kalman (links to TED Talk) - simple, charming and evocative and I was inspired just to draw.
The ThinkingCats web site had been sitting dormant for years…a sing page with a solitary image I had made (believe it or not people paid good money for these on Trademe…dip pen and art paper. The same drawing, over and again…maybe I would change the day of the week from time to time.
So anyway…ThinkingCats is taking shape. I had to finally commit to making the website as some where to share my output. I have a kind of scheme in my mind about what I want to do with it. So - be kind - it's a prototype - or, as we say in the techy business - it's in beta. It may stay there - evolving constantly. It has been a enjoyable start. The drawings are building up. I've sold a couple of the beautiful art quality prints - they look amazing. (I was like a kid at Christmas when the samples arrived from my printer - a real craftsman - haven't been so excited for a while).
I hope you'll come along for the ride - nominate your ThinkingCat (please don't ask me to rationalise the name too much - it's existential - ok?) - participate in the comments here, on Facebook and where ever else in this mad, media-everywhere world. (Links Below).
I never did get around to making the animated presentation. Here is the video that inspired me (links to YouTube)