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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Creativity and Painter, Part 2

The War for Painter 6

In early July of 1999, John Derry and I got together with Metacreations marketing people to create the theme for Painter 6. If you remember, this was a major revision of Painter. It had the next generation brush engine where every bristle was simulated. It had impasto, a new 3D-shaded way of viewing your painting and building up paint. It had airbrush, with full support for 6-axis control of the Wacom pen and a new spatter model. Essentially, it had all the features of the brush testbed I had been working on for a year or so on my own. And note that impasto was Tom's Big Feature.

Something this big in terms of creativity was, for Painter, a real return to painting and brushes.

So John and I put our heads together like we did for Painter 3 and 4 to create the best possible image for the product. We actually tried on several different things, and I have the notes to prove it!

But the funniest thing we did was to do a write-up on war and other violent themes. How could that apply to creativity? How could we do such a thing? We were that far out. When these ideas got drawn up, I was present, with John Derry and Mary Zimmer.

Among the catchphrases, themes, and ad ideas that we circulated were:

  • make art not war
  • the artist's finest hour
  • your creative victory
  • a paint can with a bandolier of brushes and pens coming out of it
  • Painter 6 your personal creative weapon
  • win the war of creativity
  • the brush is mightier than the sword
  • better brushes than bombs
  • target new clients (perhaps for the pro magazines)
  • "camo" paint can (manual is a field manual)
  • iwo jima photo with soldiers raising a brush instead of a flag
  • smart bomb photos. closer... closer... splat! painted lush oasis.
  • baby with a toy gun in one hand and a brush in the other. theme: which would you rather do? most of us decide pretty early which we prefer
  • Painter to the people (militant/revolutionary)

Yes, John and I were at the limits of poor taste, there's no doubt. At some point we decided against it, because marketing just couldn't get with the program. I'm glad they couldn't.

What other ideas did we try on the way to the final theme?

The worst was this: The phrase "we've got your art" in ransom-note letters, clipped out of a magazine. With a picture of an unfolded handkerchief. Inside is a severed brush head with some red paint.

OMG.

At some point, we got back on track and started to churn out more mainstream ideas.


  • pry open your creativity (style, art)
  • only Painter
  • always Painter
  • paint unique
  • uniquely Painter
  • paint distinctively
  • originally Painter
  • Painter quality
  • Painter for life
  • pure Painter
  • Painter power
  • Painter style
  • Find Your Style
  • Beyond Creativity
  • paint with an attitude
  • show your style
  • advocate the artist
  • pop the can (nice 3x3 arrangement)
  • spill the paint
  • the canvas is your playground
  • do the can thing

Personally, I liked Beyond Creativity. But that was just me. In the end, we used Only Painter, which signified uniqueness and an otherwise unattainable quality that marketing was going for.

For the paint can art, we had some ideas as well, but we kept coming back to showing a nice selection of tools, rendered by artists. I personally rendered the pencil and the technical pen in the set that ended up on the can. John Derry did the brush (using Impasto) and the airbrush as well. A third artist (whose first initial is B, but I can't remember much more) did the palette knife, the scratchboard, and the felt pen. In the end, my technical pen didn't make the cut. Oh, well! But the can design started with John Derry and myself.

In another stroke of creativity, we had dreamed up a four-way split can with the tagline Find Your Style. An additional catchphrase was With Painter 6 - you can. We were clever in those days. But it seemed like it would require a different form factor for the poster, and marketing was against it.

In the sketch you can see that we went through a few catchphrases before that one stuck.

We were so full of ideas in those days that we literally threw away 95% of them.

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