wasn't planning on making a series or even releasing "Cat Man Do"
when he made the cartoon. It was just an exercise to teach himself Flash, an
animation program widely used in commercials.
was making up a project to help me learn, a kitten I'd just gotten named Hugh
was jumping on my head and batting at my nose," Tofield said in a recent
telephone interview from London. "I thought, 'I'll just animate that. I'll
base it on cat movements and mannerisms with a gag at the end.' It was just a
little exercise to learn the program."
was in film school, Tofield largely taught himself animation by drawing flip
books. He uses Flash to replicate the feel of traditionally drawn animation,
although the component drawings are done with a digital tablet and pen.
Tandem client asked to post "Cat Man Do" on its website to test its
Internet service in the U.S., the client was stunned to get 60,000 hits over
two nights -- which nearly crashed the server. More than 50 people posted the
film on YouTube under various titles.
seems a bit surprised by the success of the films that began as a simple
technical exercise. He attributes a lot of the popularity to the believable
personality of his feline character, which is based on firsthand observation.
"I have three cats -- Hugh, Maisie and Jess -- and they've all contributed
to the films and the book," he says. "The good thing about having
three cats is that if one is sleeping all day, there are two more to watch and
they're always doing funny things."
popularity of the films led to offers to do a book, something Tofield had
dreamed of since he was a boy in Bedfordshire.