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Mon May 14, 2012
All Tech Considered

Draw Something App Reveals The Artistic Chimp In Us All

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 9:23 am

Every week, as part of a new tech segment, we'll be digging into our digital sandbox for some fun. New Yorker cartoonist Matthew Diffee is starting things off with a review of Draw Something, a popular app that works a lot like Pictionary: Players pick a word, draw clues and then watch as their opponents guess the answer. But, as Diffee explains, the app's name is a bit misleading.

First of all, I think the name "Draw Something" isn't entirely accurate; it would be more accurate to call it "Scrawl Something," because that's what I did. Or maybe "Draw Something With Your Foot While Bull Riding On A Boat."

I don't know if I have big fingers or not, but I'm playing it on a phone rather than an iPad, so it's like getting to drive a Ferrari on a racquetball court. It's just frustrating and it's not very responsive. I know how to draw well and so, in my mind, I'm making all these intricate little finger moves. And, in my mind, I'm drawing like a Rembrandt, but what's on the screen looks more like the work of Jimmy, the painting chimp.

I sat down for, I thought, 20 minutes, and suddenly I'd been on there an hour. So I would say as a game, it's fantastic — and as a drawing tool, it's pretty terrible.

But it's actually helped me in a way. Even in cartooning, I tend to draw things better than they need to be and it's really fun to just sort of relax and just draw something badly.

You can share a review of your favorite drawing app in the comments below or send your comments to alltech@npr.org.



Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Every week, as part of the new tech segment, we'll dig into our digital sandbox for some fun. It may be a game, advice about how to behave in the internet age, or today's revue of a popular app called "Draw Something."

It's like "Pictionary". Players pick a word, draw clues, and then watch as their opponents guess the answer. We asked someone with artistic prowess to give it a try.

MATTHEW DIFFEE, BYLINE: Yeah. The first thing I was supposed to draw was a peanut.

SIEGEL: That's New Yorker cartoonist Matthew Diffee.

DIFFEE: And it looked like someone had stepped in melted cheese.

SIEGEL: As we'll hear in Diffee's review, the apps' name is a little bit misleading.

DIFFEE: OK. So first of all, I think the name "Draw Something" isn't entirely accurate. It'd be more accurate to call it "Scrawl Something," because that's what I did. Or maybe "Draw Something With Your Foot While Bull Riding On A Boat." I mean, you know, you - I don't know if I have big fingers or not, but I'm playing it on a phone rather than an iPad, so it's just like - it's like getting to drive a Ferrari on a racquetball court.

It's just frustrating. Like, oh, oh, come on. And it's not very responsive. You know, like, I know how to draw well, and so, in my mind, I'm making all these intricate little finger moves. And, you know, and I'm drawing - you know, in my mind, I'm drawing like a Rembrandt, but what's on the screen looks more like the work of Jimmy, the painting chimp.

To sum it all up, I sat down there for, like, I thought 20 minutes, and suddenly, I'd been on there an hour. So to that level, it was very successful in, like, passing the time and being entertained. And as soon I let go of the idea of it being like a drawing tool and embraced it as being a game, then it was wonderful. I'm one of those guys - even in cartooning, I tend to draw things better than they need to be, and it's really fun to just sort of relax and just draw something badly.

SIEGEL: That's New Yorker cartoonist Matthew Diffee. And if you'd like to see some of his sketches, perhaps his "Draw Something" rendition of John Travolta, or give a review of your own favorite drawing app, visit our website at npr.org. Next week, we'll introduce another new piece of our All Tech segment, a social media advice column. So please email your tech comments and questions to alltech@npr.org. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

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