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New Yorker cartoonist Matthew Diffee tries his hand at illustrating the word "Travolta" using the Draw Something app. (Courtesy of Matthew Diffee)

Draw Something App Reveals The Artistic Chimp In Us All

by Matthew Diffee
May 14, 2012 (All Things Considered)

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The word "butcher" yields this original Diffee creation.

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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.


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