The Napkin Dad Daily began as a series of drawings and quotes on napkins that I put in my daughters’ lunches during their middle and high school years, most every day from 1998 -2004.
I started doing the napkins while I was unemployed and making their lunches for school. I did 3 a day, one for each daughter. After many months I felt sort of depressed because, as funny as it sounds, it was the my main creative outlet, the only artwork I was doing at the time, and they were all being thrown away every day. ‘Oh well’ I said, and went about doing them until the end of the year.
My wife at the time was not happy in the marriage (we later divorced) and took the girls to California to visit her family in the summer, and I was not invited. I was home alone on Father’s day when the girls called to tell me they had hid their presents for me around the house. I walked around the house following their hints and found my oldest’s and my youngest’s presents.
My middle daughter directed me to a bottom drawer somewhere and there I found a napkin she had drawn for me …
and below it…there were all the napkins from the entire year! She had saved every one and given them back to me for Father’s Day. It truly was the best present I ever got, I cried when I found them. She really didn’t, and couldn’t, understand how much it meant to me to have her do that, and to have them still in existence. I continued to draw the napkins for 4 more years, almost every day, until my youngest graduated from High School.
In 2005 I started scanning them little by little and posting them to my flickr.com site, which I had set up for my photographic work but had been posting drawings to as well. The napkins got a great response and I started to consider ways I could get them out to a larger audience. In 2008 I started the blog you see here, the Napkin Dad Daily, and started posting a napkin a day. Eventually I added commentary below some of the napkins, in response to conversations that were going on in the comments, or on flickr.
In November of 2008 I was enthusiastic over the exciting presidential campaign and glad that Obama had won. I went looking through my napkin collection to see if I could find one that would be reflective of my feelings the morning after the election. I could not and so decided to draw a new napkin, the first in almost 4 years at that point. I posted the napkin on my blog and on flickr and had an incredible response. Hundreds of hits and comments came in, as they did on many other images people posted that day.
A few weeks later I got an email from flickr stating that Time Magazine was interested in one of my ‘photos’ for inclusion in an upcoming issue. They said if I was interested to contact Time for further information, which I did. I found out they were interested in using that napkin drawing in their ‘Person of the Year’ issue about the President-elect Barack Obama.
When the issue came out the local media in Tulsa took notice and I started to do some print and TV interviews. In anticipation of that I made my first self-published book, a t-shirt with the Obama napkin on it, and a series of coffee mugs. They sold out and I now have new Napkin Dad merchandise available.
As a result of this increased activity I decided to start drawing the napkins again. Five years after that (2014) I now am devoting myself full time to the development of the Napkin images, story, blog and merchandise. The blog goes around the world, with visits from 30+ different countries per week. I travel and do regular speaking engagements on being the Napkin Dad and various topics I draw and write about. I am actively learning more about how to run a business and be an entrepreneur so the napkins can reach an even wider audience.
I would love to have you subscribe and join in as one of our Napkin Kin, contributing your thoughts on the blog and perhaps contributing to the success of the napkin idea with a purchase of merchandise or a follow, retweet, friend, or whatever other way you have of moving in the real and cyber worlds!