Everything you wanted to ask Simon Tofield, the creator of Simon’s Cat! 😊 ❤️
Over the years Simon has conducted many interviews, where he discussed the success and future of Simon’s Cat, his love for cats, his influences and the things that inspire him. We have put together a collection of some of these interviews below, we hope you enjoy reading his answers. Meow!
This is the first part of a two part interview.
The Simon’s Cat Success
Simon’s Cat became a success almost by accident. How did things develop further?
It all started when ‘Cat Man Do‘, my first film, was uploaded on Youtube. The film went viral and people loved it but it wasn’t meant to be seen by anyone at first, I just did it for me. After it went live I was amazed to see other people enjoying it as well. I decided to create more films like that first one and here we are today.
Did you imagine you would still be doing this 10 years later?
I’m still amazed that people love my films. I didn’t imagine being here, still drawing Simon’s Cat. All this success and love is a great surprise.
How important do you think timing is when it comes to success?
It’s very important. When the first episode went live online in 2007 there weren’t many other cat phenomenons online and on YouTube.
What obstacles (if any) have you faced over the years and how did you overcome them?
As I am dyslexic, at first I struggled with the technology used in the animation process. However, I learned the few keys needed to actually animate and started to practice.
I know the work on Simon’s Cat is hard and takes a long time. How many working hours you have per week?
Normal working hours during the week but a lot of creative hours at the weekend when I am not at the office. Some of the best ideas come when not in an office environment but at home with my family and cats.
Do you work alone?
I come up with the rough ideas for the films and then storyboard them up. Once boarded the ideas can be given out to a team of animators who can get to work animating them. The Simon’s Cat team also includes many other creative people who work with me on making the films.
Is it easy to lead a team of animators?
It is because I am working with talented creatives that love their art and animals as much as I do.
What is the hardest part of your job?
Commuting. Although I do use the time on the train to draw up ideas for stories.
Tell us a little bit about the voiceover process for your film. Who was the famous author of the “meow”?
Shrooty is our sound studio who helps create the sound for the films. The voices and animal noises are done by me. When I started trying to find a voice for the cat I realised that most sound effects sounded flat with no character. I realised that because the animation was so expressive, a real cat meow would sound wrong. Having cats all my life and knowing them well and their different sounds I decided to create the voices by myself. This way I could be as expressive as the animation and also help with the characterisation of the cat.
Is there any difference in behaviour between animated Simon and you?
Simon is a loving pet owner and he loves his cats unconditionally. He will always forgive his pets and never punish them. I think a lot of pet owners can relate to this which is one of the reasons the cartoons do well. It was easy for me to style Simon on myself. Although I think he is a little softer than me but still a bit of a dope.
What inspired you to start a career as an artist?
It was 80s cartoons on telly. I was watching a lot of them and this motivated me to try my hand on animation. I started drawing and developing animations from an early age.
What are your favorite cartoons or anime?
Transformers (1984) was the one that had a huge influence in me as an animator. It inspired me to create my first flipbook and experiment with animation.
Who are your favorite artists?
Agnus Mc Bride, an English historical and fantasy illustrator. Also the American cartoonist Bill Watterson who created Calvin and Hobbes.
Are there any web-comics/ cartoons or series you’re enjoying at the moment which you’d recommend to us?
Nothing current but I am a big fan of Studio Ghibli and their lovely work.
Which cartoon cat is your favorite and why?
My favorite cartoon cat would have to be Hobbs from Calving and Hobbs. I really love the cartoon style and the naughty, fun loving character and I also love the fact that the tiger is just a toy but he comes alive in the little boy’s imagination.
To be continued…