is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe, Design Chair at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
Before I got an Apple Pencil last week I wasn’t sure how much I would use it; now I can’t put it down. It’s reignited a part of my brain that’s been practically dormant for years; as I kid I used to draw endlessly—until, somewhere along the line, computers got in the way. I feel as if finally, after decades, technology has finally dovetailed with that part of me that used to pour myself into making pictures.
These are some drawings that I made over the weekend with Pencil and Adobe Illustrator Draw, which is vector based. That combination is really profound for me. It’s not like working with a replication of real world art supplies, though obviously many of the same principles apply. The difference is that I’m drawing in a way that’s native to the tools; the vector engine allows you to zoom in and out incredibly quickly, and so I can work at very, very fine levels of detail. There’s also unlimited undo, which makes me much bolder in making marks, and much more willing to experiment. Finally there’s also an unquantifiable character to the way the strokes I make with the Pencil are interpreted as lines by the app that’s much more forgiving—and fun—than drawing with pen and ink, at least for me.
I’m not saying that these are remarkable pieces of work, just that they were really, really gratifying to make. I felt better about these drawings than I have about any drawings I’ve made in at least the past ten years. That’s what technology is supposed to do; make you feel like you have super powers.