Re: Doing your own graphics (an illustrators perspective)

Subject: Re: Doing your own graphics (an illustrators perspective)
From: Peter Gold <pgold -at- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 15 May 1996 17:56:54 -0700

[all intelligent prior snippets snipped along with non-intelligent ones]

This thread really has touched a nerve, sparked a glow, lit a fuse, and
varioused other metaphors. Cool!

I think some of us are compu-centric, informing the world of computer
users one way or another, and so I find it refreshing to hear from others
who inform "the rest of us" about other things that are also technical and
communicated in some way.

(OTOH, I'm sure nobody will admit to being the author of the assembly
instructions, with or without illustrations, that are 100% guaranteed to
be incomprehensible on Christmas (birthday, barbeque, trout season opening
day, etc.) morning. Right? <G>)

Anyway, I can't think of a smooth way to fit this in, but I started
obsessing on something from 'way back in my past. My high-school
vocational counselor advised me to think about technical writing as a
career, because my language and mathematical reasoning scores were
essentially equal. I asked "what's a technical writer" and could never get
a definition, explanation, or example, since this was very long ago, and
nobody knew anone who was one. (There were typewriters and there were
ribbons, and there were ball-point pens, even.)

So, I went to engineering school for a while. Somewhere on this path, I
was in a room where a film was shown that struck a theme that would recur
often after. Maybe it was an Encyclopaedia Britannica film, one of those
"ERPI" titles, something like, "So You Want to be an Engineer!" All I
really remember about it was that it began with "whenever you ask an
engineer to explain anything, the first thing he (forgive me, it was
*long* ago, and I'm just quoting) will do is draw something to show you
what he's trying to say." I couldn't draw, at least not anything
comprised of other than circles and lines, but it made great sense to me,
since I was beginning to realize how important my visual mind was to my
grasping most things that were non-visual.

So, now I teach engineers to use powerful writing tools in a course that
runs for several days, and only a part of it is spent in learning the
drawing tools. They "get" the drawing stuff easily and quickly, and often
are completely responsible for the drawings in their documents. Some of
these are created in the writing tool (FrameMaker), but others are
created in various CAD tools.

I'm also conscious that I just wrote that engineers are writing and
drawing. I didn't say that writers are engineering, or drafts-persons are
writing, or illustrators are engineering. I think in some fields, or parts
of some fields, the barriers are softening, or the Renaissance is
back! Economics and Darwinism may combine to settle this issue by
applying the rule of survival of the fittest: "the one who fittest the
bestest with the mostest skills for the job survivest."

__________________peter gold pgold -at- netcom -dot- com__________________
"We shape our tools; thereafter, our tools shape us.
We ape our tools; thereafter, our tools ape us."
________...Marshall McLuhan, based on Ted Carpenter's idea_____

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