[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Benj’s Early Computer Art

March 31st, 2014 by Benj Edwards

Benj's Early Computer Art Kindergarten Art Print Printout 1986Watch out, Mr. Rabbit!

As I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve found a wealth of Retro Scan material while looking through old family papers in the attic at my mom’s house.

This time, I was sorting through a giant box of my ancient artwork from school, and I came upon this fascinating computer printout from my kindergarten era (1985-86).

I vaguely remember making it (although, strangely, I mostly remember coloring in those little boxes and being proud of it), but I have no idea what software I used to do it. I know that my school stocked itself with IBM PCs, but the font and the overall feel of the image remind me of an Apple II MECC educational game.

Whatever the platform, this looks like the output from a stamp/clip-art program for kids. Does anybody know what it is?

[ Update: 09/25/2015 – I figured out what game this is. After going through a pile of MECC disks for the Apple II, I ran across one game called Paint With Words (published by M.E.C.C. in 1986). I booted it up on my Apple IIc, and sure enough, it is the program used to create the image in this scan. It is a really neat game that allows you to place words onto a pre-defined background image using a mouse or a keyboard. After you set them in place, the words turn into pictures of what the words represent. My family owned an Apple IIc circa 1984-1987, so I believe this printout was created at home. ]

[ From 8.5 x 11-inch tractor feed printout, circa 1985-86]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What was the first computer paint program you ever used?

7 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Benj’s Early Computer Art”

  1. Multimedia Mike Says:

    I was *just* thinking about this today– in early 1992, we bought a Dexxa brand 3-button serial mouse (trying out online shopping through our recently procured Prodigy subscription!) for our 286 PC and it came with a paint program. I’ll never be able to remember what the program was called, but I remember what we would do with it: It had a brick wall fill pattern and a spray paint tool. So, create a brick wall and spray paint “[insert name] sucks!”

    Prior to that, I actually wrote a limited painting program in GW-BASIC. It didn’t use a mouse. You basically had to type in all the graphical commands!

  2. Rowan Says:

    I remember what we would do with it: It had a brick wall fill pattern and a spray paint tool.

    Hilarious. Naturally I would do the same thing over at my friend’s house on his mom’s Mac. When I proposed we print our masterworks, he looked aghast: “That would be basically the same as printing out an entire page of black!” Think of the ink costs! Oh, what an age.

  3. Alexander Says:

    I seem to recall using an early version of Kid Pix in kindergarten on early color Macintosh machines. Although, I can’t remember a ton about it.

    I also remember going over to a friend’s house and using Windows 3.1 to run MS Paint, and he let me play around with it. Which ever one came first, it would have been either 1995 or 1996 if I recall correctly.

  4. Ant Says:

    I drew my old house in Dazzle Draw on my Apple //c. I didn’t keep them though. 🙁

  5. technotreegrass Says:

    The clip art looks really familiar. I think I used the same program in comp class in school when I was a kid, but I can’t remember the name. The comps in class were all Apple ][. I do remember treating the just-printed paper with delicate care, as it was quite heavy with still wet ink and could easily smear when moving it wrong.

  6. David Says:

    This is Broderbund’s The Print Shop, isn’t it?

  7. FozzTexx Says:

    The font is Chicago, so it would most likely be from a Mac, but it could have been an Apple IIgs.

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