Franky Aguilar was tired of drawing family-friendly cartoons. The young designer, in early 2012, started hanging out at a Starbucks in Walnut Creek, Calif. with his cracked MacBook and a $100 Wacom tablet. He began scribbling fire-spewing cat heads and flying squadrons of fuchsia donuts, odder visions that harkened back to his high school graffiti days.
Aguilar, who had taught himself programing, cobbled his drawings into a photo editing app called Catwang and released it for free in April 2012. A month later the app had more than 130,000 downloads by people pasting his cartoons on photos they would share on Instagram. Aguilar’s crucial next move: giving his doodles a 99-cent price tag. Within two months the app was bringing in $400 a day.
Soon after, Aguilar and street-apparel maker Upper Playground sold rapper Snoop Dogg on an app called Snoopify, which offers packs of cartoon pimp hats and dreadlocks. On a whim Aguilar designed a $99.99 cartoon marijuana joint called the Golden Jay. Incredibly, 1,000 people have since bought it to garnish their Instagram selfies.
Watch App Art with Franky by KQED Art School here: