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Little robots drawn on the back of business cards.

How it started

It all starts this way: I find myself in the sitting in the lobby of a massage parlor in Taipei at about 1:30 in the morning, with nothing to do. I was waiting for Shannon and Hope to finish up so that we could grab a midnight breakfast before going to the 24-hour bookstore.

I eventually pulled out a stack of business cards I had with me, and started doodling little robots on the backs of them. Little did I realize at the time that I was embarking on a decade-plus side project.

The dotbot family exploded in 2008 when, during a trip to Perú, my kids and I drew several dozen of them, many riffing off of things we were seeing in the cities and the jungle (like the walking tree, which is mighty cool by the way). Over time, we came to name them "dotbots", after the liberal use of stippling to provide a bit of shading and texture on the robots' bodies.

While dotbots varied in size, medium, and quality, they all had one thing in common: each was a little character with a specific theme, be it devices, household items, or ideas – or even fear, growth, innocence, and joy.

Dotbot evolution

Several years after starting the whole DotBots thing, a painting app called Paper by 53 was released for the iPad. Paper was unlike any other drawing app the market had seen, and was great for quick little sketches. I quickly adopted Paper for the next iteration of DotBots ...

Robot taking the dog for a walk ... or is it vice-versa?

This guy is one of my favorite drawings, and became my icon on multiple social media sites for a long time after.

I ended up animating this guy so that his eyes blinked, and he wound up on the 'Contact Us' page for the Create with Context website for several years.


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