Two months ago, Jim George woke up with the idea to create black and white cartoons of dogs and post one each day on a website. He partnered with Bruce Kasanoff, and the idea became a reality. Simple enough, right? But it gets even better... Each cartoon appears on your computer screen as if it is drawing itself. And, almost all the cartoons are inspired by a real dog, and each dog gets credit.
DrawtheDog is a fun, exciting and uplifting site. Jim and Bruce have received many hundreds of stories, and Jim has drawn about 60 cartoons, with more on the way. People have stopped by from 55 countries, and everyone is having a lot of fun.
Meet Jim George and Bruce Kasanoff--
Me: How did you two meet?
BK: We met through my brother, who is a film producer. Jim created all the characters for his animated film, Foodfight!, which will be out next year. My brother basically told me that Jim was one-of-a-kind, a rare talent who could create and bring memorable characters to to life. If you look closely at his drawings, you realize that the dogs seem filled with energy and spirit. Jim makes this look easy, but so far as I can see it is the result of talent, attention to detail, and incredibly hard work.
Me: How did you get the idea for DrawtheDog?
JG: Bruce and I were working on a much more elaborate book project with a dog at its core and - as is so often the case - funny and interesting but unrelated ideas started pouring into my brain. My mind works pretty visually so I "saw" these scenarios in cartoon form. It occurred to me that we could do one of these per day on the web and go directly to our audience. The idea of having the cartoons "draw themselves" has been something I've been playing with on and off for years. I'm fascinated by the "revelation" of the forms with this kind of time-lapse effect and it adds an entirely new dimension of time to the traditional cartoon "strip." It's half-way to animation, which is where I spent much of my career.
BK: Once we started talking about this idea, we quickly got to the other essential element of DrawtheDog, which is that most of the cartoons are inspired by real dogs. This creates a wonderful, close connection between us and everyone who enjoys the site
Me: Jim, what is your past experience in drawing and animating? Did you work on any Disney or other dogs we might recognize?
JG: I was at Disney back in the seventies and they had pretty much done the dog thing by then. Lady and the Tramp and 101 Dalmatians was an earlier era. The only film I did that was exclusively about dogs was a project that Rodney Dangerfield wrote and spearheaded for Warner Bros. called "Rover Dangerfield." I co-directed it but I had little or nothing to do with the content. It was Rodney's show. I did character design, storyboards and animation as well on it. I wasn't too happy with the result but apparently the film has done quite well in the video rental arena.
Me: Bruce, what is your role in DrawtheDog?
BK: As he said, Jim draws and I do everything else. This works out perfectly, since I can’t draw and Jim doesn’t want to do anything else. Besides building and managing the site, my main role is to reach out to dog owners and encourage them to submit stories that will inspire Jim to create more cartoons. The more stories, the better Jim’s cartoons.
Check back again next time, as we learn more about how Jim creates these amazing animated drawings, about the dogs in Bruce's life, and about how your dog can be a star!