[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Not Quite Photoshop

January 5th, 2009 by Benj Edwards

Paint-N-Sketch Level II Ad - 1983Click above to see the full advertisement

This ad for Tech-Sketch’s Paint-N-Sketch Level II brings back memories. My first encounter with computer art came courtesy of KoalaPaint and the KoalaPad tablet on the Atari 800. Later, I fell in love with MousePaint on my family’s Apple IIc. Using the mouse and creating shapes on the screen was a magical experience, and I regularly begged my father to boot it up for me so I could doodle around in four glorious colors. Because of the program’s title, I was convinced it had something to do with Mickey Mouse.

Not too long after, my dad sold the Apple IIc, and I lacked an outlet for computer art until he bought a Macintosh SE in 1987. But that’s another story all together. Now it’s your turn.

[ From Electronic Games, December 1983. ]

Discussion topic of the week: Tell us about your first computer art experience. What computer and software did you use?

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9 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Not Quite Photoshop”

  1. EK Says:

    I started on MS Paint on a PC Jr in the mid-eighties. I made cover art for a report in fourth grade I was particularly proud of.

    Now I just use Photoshop for committing fraud.

    Computers: the gateway to crime.


  2. Bill Kendrick Says:

    Innnnnterestingly enough, the delivery truck just dropped off the (new in box!) Atari Touch Tablet and Atari Light Pen that I decided I needed for my Atari 800XL. (I’m concerned that the latter might not work well with the huge progressive-scan HDTV the Atari’s hooked up to at the moment. OTOH, the former may be usable on my Linux laptop via Stelladapter!)

  3. Bill Kendrick Says:

    Also, my first art experience was probably the Koala Pad on my brother’s Commodore 64 (which I was VERY disappointed didn’t work with my Atari 1200XL). Six years ago, I started writing a modern, open source answer to the drawing programs we used as kids, for the kids of today: Tux Paint (www.tuxpaint.org). It’s inspired in part by the simplicity of the old Atari XL, Commodore 64 and Apple II software I saw as a kid.

  4. Alex Cox Says:

    Oddly enough I was reading the final issue of Your Sinclair today on World of Spectrum and an ad in there sparked a memory of my own experiences.

    Although I first used painting software on the RM Nimbus PCs at primary school, my real love was OCP Advanced Art Studio on the ZX Spectrum, complete with Genius Mouse. For some reason I was able to entrance my dad just by dragging a box bigger and smaller in time with music. Heady days. Then it was on to the ST, although my memories of specific software are now very hazy; I always remember being envious of chums who could run Deluxe Paint on the Amiga. Although it’s not like they did anything more with it than look at the pretty Tutankhamun picture.

  5. Cozfer Says:

    I remember back in the 80s when I was in jr high, my grandpa would take me to Nebraska football games (maybe twice a year), and we would eat lunch at the student union. I always ate quickly so I could go down to the campus bookstore and play with an early Macintosh. They always had the paint program as the demo, and I would spend too much time just drawing, doodling, and using the “fill” command, which blew me away at the time.

  6. Layne Says:

    First computer “paint” experience? 7th grade, Apple IIe, and some BASIC statements. I was actually taking a programming class at school (1984-85) but I knew more than the teacher (thanks to already having lots of experience with my C64). Late in the school year, we had to write a program that drew a picture on the screen. I think that summer was when I first did anything with LOGO. I didn’t run my first “paint” program until probably 9th grade.

    I guess I just did it all backwards.


  7. Phillip Says:

    My first “paint” program was whatever paint it was that was on the Amiga 500!… workbench? can’t remember.

  8. Thom Says:

    Delta Drawing on an Apple //e. It was for making art but it was also sort of a programming language. You could define functions, such as drawing a picture of a bear, and call those functions from other functions (to put bears in different places on the screen).

  9. Andy Says:

    I want a light pen for my VIC!

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