Sharing the View

A web page for sharing images and ideas about the creative process and the making of an illustrated book for children.

Computers, and the making of headaches

We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.
— Carl Sagan

I've been working as a product designer and illustrator for a few decades now and have been a member of the generation that graduated from the poor posture of the drafting table to the poor posture of the computer screen. And that transition has been good, mostly.

I can remember long nights under the pressure of a deadline when computing technology in my field was barely functional, and I would feel the stress that unpredictability and sleeplessness brings.  I would set up the hardware and software to illustrate a new product that I had designed for a client; the process was so laborious, and the computers so frustratingly slow, that I would try to have an image ready to be processed by bedtime and then pray that the computer wouldn't crash during the moonlit hours it would need to produce a single decent image.  But it would crash, for unknown reasons, time after time.  My projects would all need to be finished well in advance of a deadline just so I could have extra time to panic and troubleshoot. Sometimes the work done on the computer would be scrapped in disgust in favor of hand drawn ideas so I could deliver something - anything - to the client.

Those days are gone mostly, the wrinkles ironed out.  What used to take days now takes minutes, and computers don't crash for months on end.  But while I enjoy the reliability and speed of computer aided design that actually works, I'm going to use it sparingly for this project in favor of drawing with my hand, which somehow feels better to me.  But of course the computer will still play its part.  And more on that later.

Jeffrey Warden