Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Whatever Happened To I Want To Draw A Cat For You After Shark Tank?

"There is an economy for stupid, and I am overflowing with it," Steve Gadlin announced confidently in his pitch to the sharks on "Shark Tank" in 2012. His product? A website where he draws crude stick figures of cats for you for $9.95 a pop, custom-made, based on the descriptions of customers. With his little shoulder-pop dance and his theme song, Gadlin wormed his way into the hearts of the sharks, but their wallets were a little bit harder to get into. Only a little bit harder, though, because Mark Cuban, the richest of all the sharks, said "These guys just don't get it, I get it," and invested $25,000 for a 33% share of the company, which is more than Gadlin was even asking for.

This was one of the most memorable moments on "Shark Tank," and often gets mentioned as one of the best episodes. But what happened to Gadlin and his company since his appearance in 2012? Did "I Want to Draw a Cat for You," his website where he sold his cat drawings, take off? Can you still buy a cat drawing today? Did Mark Cuban regret his investment? And did Cuban make good on his promise to draw one out of every 1,000 cat drawings?

Yes, you can still get the cats

Cuban didn't exactly end up drawing one out of every 1,000 cats, but he did draw 10 of them, and sold them for $1,000 each. In an interview on ESPN's "The Lowe Post" podcast with Zach Lowe, Cuban explained: "What made it even more fun for me is he had some that wanted the cat drawn by me. And I'm like 'Okay, I'm going to price it $1,000 so everybody says 'no.' Literally, people said 'yes'." (The Lowe Post via Forbes). When the host asked if Cuban could draw, Cuban responded "No I can't draw worth crap! But for $1,000 I'll draw a cat."

In 2015, Gadlin did shut down the site to pursue other ideas he was working on, and because demand got a little high ... but, as the song says, the cat came back! In 2021 he reopened the site and upped the price to $29.95. On January 1, 2022, Gadlin announced his new project called "The 2022 Cat Project." For the year of 2022, Gadlin is drawing one cat per day and will donate all the money he makes to another artist to support their artistic endeavors for the year of 2023. "I've always felt very lucky that there's an audience for my unique style of cat doodles, and this is a way for me to pay it forward to other hard-working artists, to give them a little freedom to approach their own artistic project without compromise," he explains on his site.

But there is that big gap between the shutdown of the site in 2015 and the reopening in 2021. So, what else was he working on? It seems that the cat drawing guy has a lot more going on than just cats.

The serial silly projects guy

In an appearance on WGN News in 2021, Gadlin was asked if "I Want to Draw a Cat for You" was his biggest "claim to fame" to which Gadlin replied "It's probably the [project] I put the least of myself in, and it's been the most successful." During that interview, he referred to himself as a "serial silly projects guy." Oh, and what project was he promoting in his interview? The Fart Pedal, his new invention. It's a guitar pedal that turns notes played on the guitar into noises that resemble, well, you know.

What did Gadlin work on while he was retired from the cat drawing business? One of his reasons for leaving was to focus on "Steve Gadlin's Star Makers," a show on local television in Chicago where Gadlin features local up-and-coming talent who perform in front of his studio audience of literally two people. He's also a motivational speaker. In a video on his site for a Johnson & Johnson corporate event, he gave a speech called "The Pursuit of Awesome Rejection Letters!" where he offers his experience with "I Want to Draw a Cat for You" as an example of what can happen if you just try. He explains that every step of his path to success with his cat doodle project was part of a plan to just get some really funny rejection letters, but instead everyone along the way continued to support his idea, from Groupon to Mark Cuban.

Oh, and Gadlin was also a contestant on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" in 2019, but only won $5,000 after guessing incorrectly on a $50,000 question, winning him only 1/5th of what Mark Cuban gave him on "Shark Tank." At least he's more successful with his silly projects.