We’ve had a couple of stories recently about the extracurricular creative pursuits of people in the ad industry. So we thought it only fitting to cover those of Brendan Boughen, a Microsoft PR aficionado by day, cartoonist named Jim by night, who’s on the home stretch of his Pledge Me campaign to fund a book of cartoons and writing about people’s obsession with technology.
Boughen, who works as a PR consultant for Microsoft has been drawing cartoons since he was a teen under the pen name Jim. He launched his Pledge Me campaign on 18 May and at the time of writing has reached $9,670 of his $10,000 target. The campaign ends tonight at 6pm.
The prospective book, dubbed Sounds like a game changer: a soon-to-be-obsolete collection of technology cartoons by Jim will be in full colour with 136 pages.
Boughen says his decision to theme the book around technology comes from his experience as a PR consultant in tech, where over the years he’s worked for several technology brands including: Samsung, Philips, Panasonic, Huawei, 2degrees, Vodafone and Telecom (Spark).
“I went back and saw how many [cartoons] I’ve done on tech and there were 95, so it started from there and over the last year I’ve been pulling them all together.”
He says the book will include seven chapters on different areas of technology, like innovation, devices, life online, technology at work, big data, sustainability and the future.
The writing also reflects time working for the aforementioned brands, he says, and includes a foreword by Michelle Dickinson, aka Nanogirl.
He’s asking for $10,000 in funding as he’s aiming for a print run of 2,000 copies, which he will make available on his website and some select bookshops for a cost of about $30.
The amount also covers promo costs as well as payment for the designer he’s been working with and postage to send the book across the world to people who have pledged. He’s also hoping to put some money towards a launch party “which I’m hoping to have for anyone who pledges”.
So how does it feel to have only a few hours to go?
“Yeah I’ve been madly annoying my family and friends on Facebook and saying please pledge and a lot have come out and done that and there has also been interest from people I don’t know on social and it’s been great to see the interest in it.”
He says he chose the name for the book after noticing an overuse of the term “game changing” to describe the latest in tech. “It’s been quite funny just listening to and seeing media and they just use the term all the time and I make a little analogy to this to the introduction in the book … Yes there is game changing technology but not all of it is.”
Boughen says there’s something for everyone in the book.
“As someone who has worked in the tech industry, a lot of the cartoons in there will have particular relevance to them but there’s a lot in there about smartphones and consumer interest in every day too.”
He says he’s excited by tech rather than daunted. “I wouldn’t keep looking for opportunities to work with technology brands if I didn’t find it exciting.”
Though, he admits there are plenty of moments in life where he wonders whether he ought to be staring at screens anymore.
“I’ve really valued the time I’ve taken away from technology and just putting the phone down and going for a walk and not having to take photos all the time or check emails, just to get that mindfulness you get in nature and being away from it and I’m appreciating that and valuing it more as I get older.”
As we covered in a previous story (for which we interviewed Boughen) about how technology has changed the way cartoonists create and present their drawings, Boughen’s drawing too has incorporated the use of technology.
In regard to his own craft, he uses a combination of traditional and digital methods. “I’m still very much a fan of pen on paper so most of my cartoons I have drawn first and foremost are outlines just on paper and I can do that pretty quickly then I scan it onto my Surface device, a Microsoft PC tablet device, which I then edit using a number of programmes,” he said earlier.
However, he says his favourite way to draw is still ink on paper.
“I have thought many times about whether I would shift from that and go straight to a computer but I still like the feeling of seeing the ink appear which is my preferred method, but I still use the device as much as I can for colouring and effects … I like the technology to serve the cartoon and not the other way around.”
This isn’t the first book Boughen’s cartoons have appeared in. In fact, he released his first book at the tender age of 14 after contributing to a small-town Australian paper. He says a local publisher put together a compilation of local cartoonists and 13 pages were dedicated to his work.
He also released a book called Gone Astray, which came out in 2007 and contained all of Boughen’s religious-themed cartoons he’d created while working for churches and non-affiliated not-for-profits.
Boughen has already started thinking about his next book, saying he wants it to be a retrospective, family oriented project, based on cartoons he’s created for his family over the decades since he started drawing them at 13 (he's now 41).
With only hours to go in Boughen’s crowd funding campaign, his book’s fate lies in the hands of potential pledgers, we hope he makes it.