I’ve been spinning in place a bit. On a whim, I tried dipping into Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies for a little inpiration, and the message was “Retrace your steps.” I wandered back through the timeline of my experiences as an artist, and arrived at the time when I had first fallen in love with the computer as a creative tool. I was using my Apple Macintosh LC, and had installed a program called “Canvas” that had an unbelievable set of both vector and pixel tools. I remember the clean, infinitely-tweakable lines (command-Z, how I love thee!) that I could use to make drawings. I wish I’d managed to save some of that stuff so we could have a good laugh.
Anyway, like any proper geek, I have a dual-boot system with Vista and Ubuntu. Part of my inertia has been related to frustration with the constant pull of new and newly-upgraded software, especially the heaps of cash involved. Thus the appeal of Ubuntu – and of Inkscape thereon. Inkscape is, IMO, the best Open Source software available. I own a license of Adobe Illustrator, and DREAD opening that bloated behemoth – Inkscape doesn’t have the depth of tools, but that’s the point. It is a streamlined Illustrator driven by the needs of the user rather than the need of a corporation to sell licenses and upgrades. Another contrast comes from my involvement in 3d modeling – it just starts to feel like the means are so involved that the ends often seem off in the foggy distance. Vector drawing brings the immediacy of making marks on paper to the computer, while still allowing amazing control over the process.