Kickstarter Interview: Pop Cats by The Ninjabot
Written by Riri (@lillyums)
We have a special guest today. Considering my abnormal love for all things cat, and how much I dress my own cat up in crocheted costumes, I feel honored that I am able to interview this amazing husband and wife team, The Ninjabot. Estefania and Arnel are from Portland, OR, and are incredibly talented artists who have started a Kickstarter that is likely going to win the hearts of cat lovers all over. Introducing Pop Cats: cats re-imagined as pop culture characters. I saw a few of these watercolor illustrations and I fell in love. With just the Kickstarter ending soon, I want to help them gain a few more backers to help them reach their goal! Check out theire Kickstarter HERE. I got a chance to speak with them to discuss this project since the Kickstarter is ending November 13th - it's ending soon!!
Riri: Hi Ninjabot! I'm so excited to be having this chance to talk to you two about yourselves and what Pop Cats is all about. First, let's start with you two. Tell me about yourselves and what you two do.
Arnel: We design and create art print inspired by pop culture. I'm an Illustrator and Designer.
Estefania: I'm a Designer, and the Social Media Marketer, just to name a few of the many hats we each wear.
Riri: You two seem like such a great team. Tell me, how did Ninjabot start?
Estefania: We started back in 2011 after we graduated from college and we were both working jobs that we didn't really enjoy. We decided that we wanted to work for ourselves, and do something creative.
Riri: Oh absolutely, if you're unhappy, you do something about it! It's inspiring to hear that you two went after your dreams and have gone so far. Let's move on to the most important part of this interview. Tell me about the Pop Cats Kickstarter. What is Pop Cats? How did you two come up with Pop Cats ?
Estefania: Pop Cats is a limited edition book full of watercolor illustrations of cats re-imagined as different Pop Culture characters, anywhere from movie characters, musicians, directors, superheroes, and more!
Arnel: We came up with Pop Cats a few months ago before San Diego Comic Con. It was part of another project we were working. We went to the movies to see Mad Max: Fury Road, and when we got back home I felt so inspired by Furiosa that I just had to draw her, but since I was drawing cats I decided to draw her as a cat, and that's how Pop Cats came about.
Riri: Furiosa, like "Furry"-osa? That's hilarious! I love how every Pop Cat has its own cat-themed name.
Arnel: We love to name our Pop Cats too! That's really half the fun sometimes, trying to come up with a fun name like "Furry"-osa.
Riri: I am dying from all this cuteness. I love these illustrations already. Let's go into the Kickstarter details a little bit more, specifically how you two decided on the tiers. I am especially loving the "Loving Parents" tier, the highest one.
Estefania: We decided to do those Adopt-a-Pop Cat kits for a couple of reasons really. 1) I've really had an urge to do packaging work. I feel like it's extremely challenging, but simultaneously fun! I really wanted to do something new like that and expand our packaged products. 2) I thought of the “adoption” kits because of Arnel's connection with the Pop Cats. He did Pop Cat commissions for SDCC this year, and every time he did one it was hard for him to part with them. He felt extra attached to these cat illustrations, and I wanted to show people how connected he felt with them, and that's how I came up with “Adopting” them. The kits gives it a deeper, more loving and personal feeling, that I hope people will like when they receive the kits.
Riri: That's really touching to know how much feeling and love each Pop Cat received! I just want to adopt them all!! What are some examples of Pop Cats we’ll see in your book? Do you have any personal favorites that you have illustrated?
Arnel: My personal favorite right now is my David Bowie, which I call Kitty Stardust. He was quite difficult to finish, because of all of the straight lines I had to paint for his clothing, but I really like how it turned out.
Estefania: My current favorite is our Winter Soldier called, Winter Kitty, and Slash Kitty for Slash, the musician from Guns N Roses! They have great detail work with ink, that I really love, but if i'm being honest my favorite changes every other Pop Cat he does. They are all super cute, and ridiculous looking that I can't help but laugh when I look at them.
Riri: Can you get into your creative process when illustrating these cats? Do you just make a list of popular characters from pop culture and paint them up?
Arnel: Well, I decide what characters to do based on what my wife and I like, not really based what is actually “hot” right now. Some Pop Cats are a little more obscure than others. I love them all the same though, and I hope people will also like them too. I also do a lot of research on what the character looks like, and what clothing items I want to give them. It's important that I get certain key items, but at the same time it doesn't always work for the design so I have to make choices on what will work or not, based on each Pop Cat.
Riri: I see. How long does it take for you to make one Pop Cat?
Estefania: The length of time it takes per Pop Cat varies quite a bit. Some take him 3 hours, and some take him 7 hours. Depends on how much detail they have, and how many highlights/inking it needs.
Riri: That makes sense. We're talking about Pop Cats this whole time and I haven't asked you if you actually own any cats of your own!
Arnel: His name is Stewart. He's almost 5 years old.
Estefania: He is actually the inspiration for our other cat project that lead to Pop Cats, so he is the one that started it all really.
Riri: Oh absolutely, my own cat was an inspiration for all the crocheted projects I had him wear. Speaking for which, have you ever dressed Stewart up as one of your own Pop Cats design?
Estefania: Arnel has illustrated Stewart before, because since he was the reason we started all of these cat projects, the original illustrations were based on him.
Arnel: But dressing him in real life is impossible, haha! He does not like anything on him.
Riri: That's funny! I’ve crocheted outfits for my cat for several years and have started seeing more and more cats in costumes. How do you feel about people currently dressing up their cats as popular characters?
Estefania: I think it's adorable! Sometimes I really wonder though, how those cats don't mind having things on, haha! It's so funny to me. Especially, since our cat does not like to wear anything.
Riri: I suppose every cat has their own personality so some may like it and some may not! Well it's about that time to wrap things up! Thank you for Estefania and Arnel for taking the time out of your day for this interview, we are so grateful. Do you have any last words for our audience?
Estefania: Please, make sure to check out the project if you have a minute! We're almost at 70% funded, and we only have 3 days left so we need all of the support we can get in order to make it to our goal! You can help us by sharing the project, and by pledging. Even $5 gets your name in the book as a backer of Pop Cats!
Arnel: Hopefully you guys will enjoy all the cats that you see, and don't be afraid to find us on Twitter, @theninjabot, and let us know what Pop Cats you would like to see.
That's wraps up our interview with The Ninjabot!! Please go check out their Kickstarter HERE, and help them make it to their goal in a few days!! The last day is November 13th!