Old sketches from SquareSpace

This is old material (September 2006) transferred over from my defunct SquareSpace blog. I wanted to warehouse the drawings:

My old sock monkey.

Sketch of Tim; a friend since 1957. He's posed a few times over the years. This is a simple freehand pencil sketch, scanned in to the computer.

Sno-ball mic.

This is a quick sketch of a mic on my desk- done with a pressure sensitive pen. Ideally, I should've drawn Tim the sock monkey for a fair comparison, but he's visiting family for the holiday. I need to build my technique so I'm more natural, and pay more attention to stroke direction and tonal builds, but this has real possibilities.

When I was hired, I was hired for my drawing ability and design skills. At the time, I didn't know what a window was or how to turn a computer on. The smart folks who hired me placed me on a computer with a pressure sensitive Wacom tablet that was so natural, I didn't think to call it intuitive. My mouse, however, was an implement of torture. I rarely used it, and it took me a good while to understand what was going on when colleagues troubleshooting my machine would pick the pen up mid stroke and move it to the other side of the tablet if the cursor approached a screen edge. What happened was that I had naturally mastered an uncommon, though totally appropriate, input device which required others to "unlearn" old skills before they could use it.

Our unit has participated in TabletPC tests with the Engineering College. It seems that Tablet PC technology, working with a pen on screen, is always aimed at engineers- whether it's taking notes or entering math notation- and never to my knowledge, has it been tried with the visual arts: Field sketching, figure sketching, set design,  layout roughs, story boards. We tried to set up a tabletPC for just such an experiment; but the PC was faulty, and input was impossible. Rather than the TabletPC, which didn't seem to support pressure sensitivity or even antialiasing, the Wacom Cintiq would be my choice: pressure sensitivity on a wide, responsive screen. They're a bit out of our price range, though.

The point to this is to introduce the work of Jeff Han (NYU) on multi-touch, multi-user graphical touch screen interfaces. His site is here but more visual is the video at Google Video Maybe as an inadvertent "computer guy" I should be drawn to the algorithms needed to distinguish multiple users and the complexities of interpreting intent from subtle touch and movement, but good grief- more importantly, this is the way I want my tools to work. Don't give this one to the engineers; let the illustrators and sculptors, the set designers, dancers and cartoonists, the people who have style determined by subtle nuance of touch- have a crack at showing what this sort of "input device" could be used for.

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April 18, Symposium 2009; reimagine.
New content. Symposium 2008.Digital Commons at Penn State. Improve the workplace; hire for variety.


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