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Tinkatolli! The first virtual world for kids based on creativity and junk

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

(or – “What I have really been doing these past few years”)

a brand new virtual world
Production over the past 2 years, by two guys and a gal, weathered 4 production babies, the financial crisis and empty pockets – and still, our steely determination has finally brought our project – Tinkatolli – to a bit of fruition. It’s nearly ready for beta testing.

At Nordic Game we’ll be meeting and greeting industry folks, handing out our colourful business cards and shouting out about our TinkaMaker and social media linkups: TinkAbout It (our Tinkatolli blog), Twitter and Facebook, as a bit of a preview.

Tinkatolli Business Cards

Let me tell you a bit about why this is so cool.

Creative tinkering – for real
Personally, I have the pleasure of doodling, thinking up, drawing, animating and inventing the world online, on my computer; and then I turn to my sketchbook, my box of household junk – break out the scissors, tape and string, and start actually making stuff. Out of junk.
This is very liberating. No worries about wasting expensive (or mildly expensive) materials on a project you aren’t totally sure of – it’s already waste! Just go for it.

For the whole of my career only a handful of people (outside of my industry) have actually understood what I do for a living. Folks know I draw, and that it has to do with computers, but the understanding drops off from that point. This project unites my creative production online, as it has been the past decade and a half, with real-life production – offline. I can now actually hold something in my hands that I have made for “work”. I don’t have to be connected to the internets to show my Granny what I have done. The “thing” I make gets documented with photos and videos, and then eventually drawn into the world and made into an instructional PDF. This project, on a whole, brings into play all the areas I got into the business for in the first place. Finally I get to really work with real multimedia. And that, for me, makes it so I can’t really get bored. There’s always something to design, draw, write about, photograph and video, and if there happens to be a lull, that means it’s time to think up something new.
I love it.

Sustainability in a virtual world
It’s recycling. Pretty simple. Tinkatolli uses the junk you have thrown away to make toys, games and fun with. This is something I get excited about. Being a young divorced dad with two energetic boys and living in the city, we’d almost always have to plan a trip to Toys’R'Us every week, for something to do, and for them to at least drool over the latest doodad their friends at daycare had (Pokemon was big, Dragonball, some goofy bean thingys that actually had cool characters printed on them – so much stuff). Just GOING there seemed to appease the little rugrats, in itself. I was pretty strict about not buying every piece of crap plastic they saw, and usually cracked out the pencils, paper or LEGO instead. But the pressure was there to provide a steady flow of doodads and fun -and that could cost a bundle, or a load of energy.
Admittedly I didn’t have the energy all the time. During our apartment moves, I’d always have to go through the old toys, and see what would have to go the way of the bin this time, since the boys had outgrown them, and we didn’t have room to store them. All that broken down, tangeld mess of plastic that was so important to have in the moment, shoved into a box and forgotten the next moment. Why? Because those little guys had nothing invested in the toys. They hadn’t bought them, they hadn’t had to care for them, and they certainly couldn’t have made them themselves.
Making things turns that cycle on its head.

Kids make their own fun, and learn how to think creatively.
Once a kid makes a thing – it’s theirs. They might forget about the thing in the long run, but they won’t forget the experience of making, nor the feeling of accomplishment having made something cool and fun. Creativity has long been pidgeonholed as being something creative people are born with, not a skill. I think it IS a skill, one that you get better at – by doing – by trying and failing, and trying again. Doing the action over and over again, demystifies the creative ability, and turns it into a skill, like any other.

I never learned how to dance- but I do it. I look funny doing it, I annoy and embarrass friends when I do it- but I do it a lot. Some folks even think I’m pretty good. I wouldn’t enter a competition or anything, but I have been known to take the floor. I do enjoy a party dance. On TInkatolli we give kids the chance to make their mark in the world they are a part of. They can invent, make, and document their offline creations, upload it to the game – and show off their creations for all the other kids to see and vote on. The best ideas get made on Tinkatolli and turned into activities for all the kids to make. It’s like a school dance – they can take over the dancefloor, without feeling they are entering a judged competition… it’s just their pals looking on, and cheering. It’s not about being the best, necessarily – but having a go at it. Show and tell.

Tinkatolli is a labour of love, and a passionate subject for me. It embodies a lot of good stuff I think kids should be exposed to – creativity, environmental awareness, fun and games, doodling and creativity, funny quirky characters, motion, science and health and it empowers them to shape their own fun time.

Sounds good, eh? I could go on about how instilling creative thinking and innovation, environmental awareness, good eating habits, daily exercise, and social skills are beneficial to your child, and help shape them into well rounded individuals – but I’ll suffice to say; “It ROCKS!”

Go on – give it a try;)
Tinkatolli

Hi, Five!

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

hi5

After cleaning up double blog posts, that appeared after I had made the blog disappear by trying to turn a plugin or two off and on, and then uploading a backup of posts in an attempt to fix my mistake, I realized I’ve been at this for five years now. Five? How’d that happen?

I’ve been totally neglecting this blog for some time now. Before the summer I think the posts dwindled down to barely anything, and now I have 5 posts in draft stages. Who know’s when I’ll have them ready.

I have been thinking about redesigning, changing focus, and rethinking this blog (I doubt that will ever stop), in light of what you can do on flickr, twitter and facebook – where a little effort actually gets some nearly immediate reward.
But, then again, I actually enjoy working at my own pace on the blog. I can’t tweet fast enough for the twittosphere, don’t gossip enough for facebookers, and once I get going I don’t like to be limited by a maximum number of characters in which I have to say something.

As the end of the year approaches there will be a few new things to tend to, and I suspect these might be the impetus to do more blabbing about stuff I find interesting. If there is time;)

Year Six should be interesting.

“Creative Egg-on” – a kickstarter for creatives facing a blank page

Friday, June 5th, 2009

creativeeggon

After coming across The Brainstormer on DRAWN! today, I got a pang of nostalgia for my own creative kickstarter.

I dug out my flash files and saw they were made in 2004. Pretty cool. Turns out it’s one of the first things Kevin and I made that had no purpose other than entertainment. I probably came up with the idea while I should have been working on a project we were working on – from each our own home offices – before we joined forces.

Looking at it again, I realized it had a bit of a blog-like component to it; you could get a inspirational combination, do your work with it, and then post a note about what you did. I took that part off, since I’m not sure how it works anymore – and I blog enough as it is.

Now I’ve revamped it, and placed it on the hello page, here on the blog. Maybe I’ll actually use it now:)

Vintage logo set

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009


7up, originally uploaded by Depression Press.

Sweet.

City of Cyclists

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Copenhagenize posted this music video about the cycle culture in Copenhagen, and I have to say I actually get a little misty eyed watching it. No other place, that I have lived in, “gets” that cycles are a viable, easy, and basically just logical mode of transportation. Everyone does it, and the city is planned to accomodate the huge number of cyclists, easliy.


Copenhagen – City of Cyclists from Colville Andersen on Vimeo.

Cycling is all I did in Copenhagen – aside from a few-year stint driving the Mini (after we had the Christiania cycle stolen – and having gotten dead tired of the long, and seemingly usually wet, commute from Østerbro to the kids’ school in Hellerup, and back), and seeing these cyclist ease through the city, drives home how easy it is to cycle there. Check out the hip youngsters holding hands as the ride. Nice. No fancy spandex, no goofy helmets, and no stress. Sweet.

Copenhagenize

Meomi’s “Color Cloud Seeding”

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

cloudseed1

I just got Meomi’s (design duo based in Vancouver and San Francisco, who produce wicked graphics, characters and books) book Color Cloud Seeding in the mail from their publisher Rojo.

spread with walkers

cloudseed3

cloudseed4

It’s wall to wall rich color pattern, scenery and characters, and it’s a real eyeful.

I like. I like a lot.

Hatch / JAKQ – Design firm clucks out wine bottle – shaped eggs!

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

I stumbled upon Hatch last year, as their “1st Annual Easter Egg Coloring Contest” is something we at UOVO really should have come up with ourselves. Just how obvious an idea was that; for us, I mean?

I was impressed then. Now I am even more impressed.
As they say on their site; they have their “first hatchling” – JAQK Wine Cellars.

A design firm making wine? How? What?

I didn’t spend much time actually finding out “why”, but I do think this sort of venture is very interesting. And very cozy. I imagine designers must get tired of working for clients, and would rather design something for themselves, something they can proudly show off, and bask in the compliments from people who actually use their product, and like it, while they are having a social event… drinking wine.

Maybe it’s because, so often, I hear about the social scene in places like San Francisco. Reading Dwell, seems to make me believe everyone has an active social life – and room to entertain that life in.

It just seems so good. Designing something you can show off, and get instant feedback about. Actually relaxing with something you’ve created. Doesn’t that just sound like the life?

Needless to say, I’m a big fan of their work, and I wish I could taste their wine… better yet; I wish I could get invited to a wine tasting… in San Francisco!;)

Good on ya, Hatch.

I need me some of them cards they have for sale in their shop.

Animoto

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

I came across this a while ago, but never tried it.
Turns out you can download a bunch of your flickr photos, tweek some settings, add some music, and boom- you have a video with some freaky effects and transitions.

It’s not really my cup of tea, but it was fun to play with, getting some drawings in there, and see them presented in a different way.

I imagine the iPhone app is more fun.

Animoto
Animoto – for iPhone

Tilja, Toes and the New Year

Friday, January 9th, 2009

I had almost forgotten about this little video of Tilja. Then I came across it just now on Flickr.

I hope it puts just as goofy a smile on your face, as Tilja has on hers:)
Happy New Year.

E.D.A.R.: Everyone Deserves A Roof

Friday, January 9th, 2009