May 2, 2005 spout

I am not a graphic artist!

Whenever anyone hears that I program Avalon, the first thing they think is, Oh, good, let’s get Chris to create a cool looking UI for us!” They also tend to lump in data visualization expertise and user experience into that mix as well. On the beginning to experienced” scaled, I’d rate myself in the following way on these tasks:

  • Avalon programming: beginner to intermediate, depending on the bit of Avalon you’re taking about
  • Visualization expertise: interested beginner (I’ve attended a 8-hour Edward Tufte seminar, skimmed 3 of his books and wished for something more than the DataGrid)
  • User Experience design: intermediate in the realm of standard Windows applications but beginner when those limitations are removed, i.e. what Avalon enables
  • Graphic art: untalented hack

Seriously, I can’t draw myself out of a paper bag (or in one, for that matter). I hired all of the art done for my web site and I almost never draw pictures for my books. Instead, I write programs and take screen shots or make Mike draw the pictures for me.

Being able to program Avalon doesn’t make me a graphics artist any more than being able to program my financial calculator (which I can’t do anyway) would make me Warren Buffet. In fact, I’m closer to being Warren Buffett than I am to being a graphics artist, which should give you some indication about the gap we’re talking about here…

That’s not to say that some enterprising 3rd party couldn’t create tools to help artistic yarn heads like me produce useful Avalon graphics. If my experience is any indication, there are going to be a lot of developers moving to Avalon that are expected to create wonderful things w/o an artistic bone in their bodies. Somebody help!