Think Draw Forums
Forums - Think Draw Feedback - Possible new platform ?

1. 8 Dec 2020 01:55


Hello Rachel & fellow TDers..

I was devastated to hear of the potential demise of Think Draw due to the disablement of Flash and asked my programming-wizard friend Ponto, a TDer of old, to have a look at alternatives.

Ponto has so far created a test app using Unity where you can select a picture (widget), enlarge or diminish it, drag it on to the drawing board and replay your actions.

You probably will never be able to replay old pictures created using Flash, but as I remember, we couldn't do that in the early days either. If you could save them in the Gallery, I think that would be brilliant enough

So.. question for Rachel.. is this something that we can pursue with your interest, or do you really just want to close down TD regardless ?

As I think some other TDers have said, this is such a brilliant site, has such phenomenal people on it and has such a wonderful, supportive and friendly society, that it would be approaching criminal neglect to let it just stop without reason - and I think quite a few of us would be willing to look at financial support going forward.

Please let me / us know your thoughts and feelings !

2. 10 Dec 2020 07:54


Hi marg,
Thanks so much for doing this.
The problem is not financial but more a matter of programming. I would be happy to pass the site on to you and your friend (or any other TD volunteer). The other issue which needs addressing almost as urgently as Flash is security. I'm afraid I just don't have the time or programming knowledge to update Think Draw past its dependency on Flash.
We'd be happy to keep hosting it as well.
Thanks again, Rachel

3. 12 Dec 2020 09:22


Hi folks...

Exactly as marg says, Think Draw is a phenomenal gathering place... absolutely worth saving, at LEAST as a legacy museum... and not just the pictures.... the conversations in forum and in the comments are priceless!

But of course I'm greedy. I want us to be able to do playback..... watch the unfolding process. The "animation" was the point in many pieces.

Rachel has provided the amazingly rare gift of a safe playground where we could play, explore, even squabble... and grow... unfolding our own selves.

In TD I began to understand for the first time the essence of "painterly"... how to deal with mass.... but I also learned, very gradually, through a series of questions and "challenges" to see myself differently.

It's a gift I can never express fully, nor repay satisfactorily, but please count me in on dues paying and some scheduled time contributions. My programming knowledge is out of date and the real program-wizards I knew well enough to pester have all had the temerity to go play in some other dimension...

I love that marg has got Ponto interested, and that Rachel's able to go on hosting!

Seems to me that the highest priority is just to be sure the original files are safely archived and Rachel's hosting has got that, so next is exploring what others are doing about legacy files. Safe assumption is that there ARE such sites... because that's just what computer geek types do!

4. 13 Dec 2020 12:08


Whoops.. sorry for the delay in replying and great to hear from you Qsilv

The first thing from our end will be to try and recreate one of the palettes and see if we can get it working.. I'll contact you directly, Rachel.

Here's hoping we can get something up and running before the Christmas break, just to prove that it's possible and feasible !

5. 13 Dec 2020 21:44


This is fantastic news! Along with so many others, I've been immensely saddened at the thought of losing TD... the community and all those irreplaceable comments, thoughts, interactions and, of course, pictures!

If we can could keep all the historical parts, even if the pictures are just viewable as images without the playbacks, that will be fabulous. I don't know what sort of programming wizardry would be needed to convert the Flash playbacks to another program, but imagine that it would be too much to ask.

How exciting that Ponto has got this far in developing something that will allow new pictures to be created. Well done, marg, for finding someone that can, and will, do this. Please count me in if there's any practical way that I can help.

And of course, a huge thank you to Rachel for offering to continue hosting Thinkdraw. Your generosity to all of us is such a gift.

6. 14 Dec 2020 03:42


Thank you Marg and Ponto! Count me in!!! Thank you Rachel! *J*

7. 14 Dec 2020 20:09


To be ruthlessly practical & objective— we need to realize that part of our job (to ensure that whatever gets done will work out well and be worth doing), we need to turn this little dribble of hard-core old loyalists into something much more. How to "capture the imagination of the masses" (to borrow a phrase from a bygone era)? An interesting article on one of those internet newsletter things ( comes to mind; there may be others and better ones) might catch a few readers if it had a hook or a twist — Like maybe, are we losing the sense of community fostered by websites of yore with heartwarming examples of how thinkdraw did that... and thinkdraw also brought out a vast amount of homespun creativity... I can honestly say thinkdraw changed my life hugely for the better after (also during) some bad times... The fact that thinkdraw is way way more than a place for ephemeral games and puzzles, but actually has generated a vast body of work, in the forums as well as the galleries, is another important point... And the very distinct styles and personalities that take form... It's like a diverse ecosystem, where people find niches... It's a sociological as much as a cultural; or technological phenomenon...

Maybe we could start by saying things that might be quoted in an article or two? Set up a forum page for that purpose? The synergy of artworks, writings, challenges, etc, was like nothing else I've encountered on the net. BEFORE we start though, let's set up a goal... a minimum program (give the site a worthy burial and sendoff and save a bit of it for posterity) and a maximum program (all systems go, up and running, ten new palettes, 10,000 active members, bustling forums, with whatever vast improvements come to mind that haven't yet occurred to any of us)... a place for people all over the world to come together and share way way more than we have shared so far, where any subject can be openly and honestly and warmly discussed with nothing off-limits (but maybe politics religion sex etc can be segregated or spun-off into specialized offshoots)...
We need may need to consider the question of membership carefully—I can recall only one seriously disruptive character, which is an amazing statistic, but that one malign influence single-handedly and permanently shut down the once-thriving forums where people could openly and freely express deep emotions (about losses of loved ones etc) in a truly meaningful way...

I'm not sure that an effort to just revive Business as Usual will work for us here any more than it will work for Biden & co. We got into the the political chaos of the last 4 years in the US because Biz-as-usual wasn't working for many people for decades. It wasn't the Flash issue that caused the long attrition in thinkdraw participation. So restoring the site as it was just before the Flash debacle hit us won't do what's needed. Aiming for something bigger and better and more irresistible may be the only way to ensure that we get anything happening, and even if never fully takes off, it'll be worth doing because some creative thinking will be embedded in it...
On the other hand, what we loved and want to keep alive IS the old thinkdraw, and with 3 billion or more people on the internet all it would take is a teensy-weensy percentage of them to show up, and .01% of those people to get hooked and stick around . . . but that was true in 2012 when our numbers leveled off, and it was true in 2016-2020 as the diminishing numbers became more and more noticeable... so we DO need to give this whole thing some thought... perhaps if we start with our own selves, what makes US (the aforementioned hard core loyalists) participate less than we once did? If we identify and ponder what we know first-hand of why we came and still come, AND why we come less often and remain for shorter periods, we'll have some irrefutably reliable data to start the revival. Wishful thinking won't automatically turn into the work required to make this happen, UNLESS we know the who what when where why as well as the how (as so far we don't know much about the how, although, congrats Marg, the how is the best possible starting point... knowing there IS a how (and its limits) is important...

Sorry to (as usual) be thinking aloud at such length, but when I try to edit it never gets done at all...

8. 15 Dec 2020 17:31


Count me in too! This is by far the best news I've heard in a long time. I am also happy to help if there is anything that I can do.

9. 18 Dec 2020 07:29


I have relied on ThinkDraw for the past few years to teach my painting students some important concepts. It would be fantastic if we could keep it alive in one form or another. There's nothing quite like this anywhere else. It's genuine. There's no copying another work and pasting it in only to tweak it a bit and call it your own. Every piece must be thought out. I can't duplicate that with any other drawing program.

If there's anything I can do to help keep this alive, I would willingly try.

10. 21 Dec 2020 14:54


Bugoy1 adds an interesting angle. Bill Gates is surely not the only computer zillionaire to put out money for good causes, so there must be some free money floating around — and expertise — to solve the problems that are about to extinguish us (us as a community, and as an art form, or at least as a worthy variation on a minor sort-of art form). Okay, ThinkDraw isn't exactly a starving child or the last surviving fertile couple of an endangered species, but there are foundations that support the arts that might be intrigued by ThinkDraw, and see it as worth some grant money for various valid reasons — accessibility to the masses, international communications, a really nice combination of self-reliance and constructive competition, and so on and so forth. The fact that it's meant a lot to a lot of us on a personal level is interesting too. (And professionally, getting people started in art, or pulling people out of years of neglecting art). Does ANYONE have ANY idea what a post-Flash revival of the site would involve in expertise, money, etc — I mean realistic estimates of actual quantities of money, actual skills, actual hours of labor? Best case / worst case scenarios? Sensible maximum/minimum goals? Someone with business experience (aside to m23—Peter Fitz?) plus someone with a whole lot of relevant programming experience... and so forth... almost all of this has been thought through already many times over, but one more think-through might do the trick...

11. 22 Dec 2020 15:46


Google search for "foundation supporting arts education web sites" and what came up was The Wallace Foundation, National Art Education Foundation,
and also this:

Best Arts Education Apps and Websites - Common Sense Media › education › top-picks › best-...
Explore this Best Arts Education Apps and Websites Top Picks list of 36 tools ... Bottom line: Great, easily accessible approach to building the foundations for ... Bottom line: An excellent platform for supporting serious music practice if you can ... (that's the google-search preview)

I haven't even glanced at any of these pages yet, and I expect there may be a dozen more, at least, that would come up with a more intensive search.

I would like to nominate Mr Bugoy to be a sort-of chairman or committee head, to compose a brief overview of his experience over several years with his classes. They don't stick around for long after a flurry of activity, but do you (or they) see evidence that ThinkDraw assignments contributed substantively/uniquely/effectively to general knowledge and skills in visual arts, visual thinking, etc? Are there one or more outstanding examples of students who benefited from the experience? Not just the experience of manipulating little tiles, feathers, claws, and beads, but also the experience of getting and giving feedback, and being part of a somewhat supportive & welcoming community, seeing how idea developed in forums, the healthy balance of sharing and inspiring and competing etc? Or is there no evidence at all of any lasting benefit/influence? If you've stayed in touch with past students and had a couple of testimonials, that might be a selling point.

If there is to be some kind of grant application (and I realize Rachel doesn't regard finances as the key issue here), I'd suggest it be mainly used to find and make use of some programmer (or two) who understands art at least a little, and maybe an artist (or two) who understands programming a little, who are compatible with Rachel (assuming she stays involved which I'm sure everyone here hopes will happen) and with each other... The site-revival squad (or individual(s)) should be mainly motivated by love and interest, but some kind of modest payment for their services would be the main purpose (I presume) of trying to raise some funds. The rest of us might begin the lay the groundwork by sharing what we think might be able to contribute.


12. 22 Dec 2020 16:20


After a glance at the Wallace Foundation site, it occurs to me the obvious solution is to have a new direction in which arts education is a priority, with room for adults who want to use the site for self-education (which could be the same thing as self-expression, i.e., same as always). This virus business seems likely, even with vaccines, to become "the new normal" with some regions of the world liable to be closing schools and shops at unpredictable intervals, and online at-home learning needing to be ready to activate, at least as a temporary back-up. Even if the virus thing disappears for another century, it's obvious that computerized learning is here to stay—and ThinkDraw is a way schools can provide some art lessons...
IF A REBORN THINKDRAW WERE DESIGNED WITH EDUCATION IN MIND, it might (a) succeed and (b) have a new kind of look and 'feel' that hopefully can preserve what we like about it as well as being suitable for many thousands of kids in 150 countries... Language barriers would need to be overcome unless English-speaking countries are the main target audiences. Different levels, as in sudoku, might be appropriate, so it's easy for little kids to jump right in but also challenging in new and different ways, even for advanced art students.

13. 23 Dec 2020 22:17


I love seeing all of the creative ideas and hope that Marg and Ponto are having some success. I will gladly help in any way I can contribute. I know very little about web design, but years ago I was a co-owner of a website and worked closely with our webmaster to create the site. I'm also an educator and have been involved in grant-writing. Although I don't have expert knowledge in programming, I might be able to assist in other ways.
Do we know if we will be able to continue using this forum for communications when flash is gone?

14. 8 Jan 2021 19:39


Just a quick note to say 'Happy New Year' to everyone

Ponto has got a test proto-site up on Simmer (a developer's website) and hopes to look at integrating it with the current Think Draw site in the next few days, with Rachel's wonderful support and assistance !

As a first step, we're just trying to replace the existing functionality and look and feel, to give everyone a breathing space when Flash is dropped. Once we have got something that works, we can look at a brave new world as the next step.

Will keep you all posted, but looking good at the moment

15. 9 Jan 2021 06:21


Great news! Thank you all!

16. 12 Jan 2021 09:11


This is such welcome news! Thank you!

17. 17 Jan 2021 16:27


I hope that this will work out! I really enjoy Thinkdraw....

18. 28 Jan 2021 19:51


Dear all..

Sorry for the long silence, but things have been happening, albeit rather more slowly than expected as there are some access issues.

However, I just heard from Ponto that he hopes to have some good news to report very shortly, once he's confirmed with Rachel.

Fingers crossed that we can shortly get something in place !

19. 8 Feb 2021 19:58


LOL... so I glance at the Draw page... and lo.. it shows a developing white on black logo.....!!!
and... <gasp> ...flower palette pieces!
....the pieces can be selected, resized, moved, UNDONE (undo was such a joy way back when)...
After you position one, a couple more buttons appear, and after you've set 3 pieces in place a button for Submit shows up.....
Of course I tinkered for an hour or so..... and THEN hit Submit......
AND it brought up a windowlette to type in a title.....
...oh frabjous joy......................
........and... suddenly.... realized....
..............I wasn't recognized on that page as being signed in.....
...................and logging in LOST the assemblage (no Save Draft)....
......................and informed me that Flash is not available.....
...........................pppffftttttt t t t......
(Love you guys! Keep on keeping on! (yeah, I made screen captures... of course!)

20. 11 Feb 2021 13:34


Well done, Qsilv ! .. and sorry I didn't spot your comment, but it got hidden under all the spam.

Please don't bother creating any works of art on the pseudo-Flowers palette, as this was an early version of the new Unity code, and really just gives you an idea that it looks and works like our good old Think Draw - it's not connected to the database or anything

Did you try the full screen button ? I think its brilliant !

Elsewhere, however, the real work has been progressing well, with the replay looking very good, and Ponto is currently working on the nitty gritty stuff like how the profile page and all the other bits work - it's actually a pretty complicated website that Rachel and co. have developed over the years.

Hopefully more very soon