Scott Adams and Dilbert

Scott AdamsBeing in both a high tech and creative industry I get to see a lot of cool stuff, and even better get to work with some truly inspiring individuals. Many of whom are unsung heroes of product design, photography, visual effects, etc. People behind the scenes making the visuals that stimulate our minds every day. Oh, I forgot to mention Comic strip artists! Yes, comic strip artists or better known as cartoonists. And who better captures the essence of technology and art than Scott Adams, the creator and artistic mastermind behind the beloved strip, Dilbert.

I was inspired to write this post recently after reading a bit on Scott’s blog. In short, Scott talked about putting himself in a creative position or mood. There is more to that story, but this is the part that spurred me to write this post.

It was a reminder to me that Wacom technology is in the hands of great artists and the medium for beautiful work. Scott may snicker at the thought of his work being beautiful, but it IS art. And unlike other forms of art, you are supposed to laugh at this kind.

The article was also a reminder of a story that the Washington post wrote about Scott Adams and his use of a Cintiq “many” years ago. Many, in tech-years can be 2-3 but in this case it was 2005! I suppose that is like many-many-years ago. Anyway, in the article, Scott explains that he suffers from a neurological movement disorder called Focal Dystonia. This disorder affects his ability to hold a pencil properly, which severely limited his ability to draw with his dominant, right hand. This condition of course could have signaled the end of a career for some, however Scott was able to continue working by teaching himself to draw with his left hand while he underwent a long stint of physical therapy to recondition his right.

This process somewhat eased the pain, but it was not ideal, nor sustainable for the rest of his life. Enter the Cintiq interactive pen display. Eager to find relief, Scott searched for solutions online (where else?!) and discovered the Cintiq interactive pen display. For those not in-the-know, a Cintiq is a pressure-sensitive display that enables you to draw directly on-screen. For artists like Scott, a Cintiq combined with an application like Adobe Photoshop is the quintessential digital pencil and paper.

Using a Cintiq and Photoshop, Scott was able to work using less hand-pressure with pen-to-screen and at a larger scale. This combination lessened the tendency to trigger the neurological disorder that would cause his fingers to spasm and freeze up. Better yet, it enabled him to preserve the integrity of his work. That was 8 years ago. Today Scott nestles into his comfy chair in front of a Cintiq 24HD and creates his daily in style.

So what is the moral of this story? I don’t know that there is any one moral to take away, but to me it is enlightening in a number of ways. 1) However cliché’, where there is a will, there is a way. 2) Passion fuels solutions and victories. 3) Even one’s passion can be arduous at times. 4) Wacom produces cool tech that enables people to realize their creative vision.

Follow Wes Maggio on Twitter @westonmaggio and/or Google+


PS. I channeled Dilbert and the irony of setting an image of a Dilbert mouse pad as the featured image for this post. ; )


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