This morning I read some tragic news. MS Paint is dying.
One of my earliest memories of using the Windows operating system was as a child at school. In the computer lab in my elementary school we had some Windows 3.1.1 networked PCs. They were likely IBM clones, as most PCs were back then, and used 5.25 inch floppy disks which were endlessly amusing to flop around when you are young.
The first thing I did on that computer was launch MS Paint and scribble out a crude work of art. Knowing myself it was likely of a penis with some balls (I have never had a very mature sense of humor, after all.)
I fell in love with computers as a child and my life has been guided by that love ever since. I would not have ended up working in IT or having my current life at all if not for my early love of computers. I can’t help but think a lot of the charm that I fell in love with came from creativity apps like MS Paint which were built into the system on every single PC. So when I found out today they are getting rid of this classic windows feature that I love it saddened me.
Of course MS Paint has had another large impact on my life by way of Paint Comic. The whole idea of that comic originally was to help me get out of a creative slump. I am an endless perfectionist when it comes to creativity which has resulted in me starting hundreds of projects that I have never even come close to finishing as I can never get it “just right.” Paint Comic was my answer to try to end that cycle of bad behavior. I set out to create something I could do on a daily basis that would not take me more than 15-30 minutes to create from start to finish. I think the first comic I did took me around 5 minutes to complete (and it shows.)
The comic was created in MS Paint so I went with the lazy title of “Paint Comic” surprisingly some Google searching at the time indicated that nobody else was using that name so it became mine.
While I never ended up doing the comic daily (other than maybe for the first few days) I did keep coming back to it over time as it was nice to be able to make something and have no obligation to myself to make it be good. Over time I did fall back into the trap of trying to make it actually have quality and not surprisingly that is around the time I stopped making it altogether.
While I would like to say that I continued to use MS Paint to create the comic I actually had moved on to a different application called Paint.net after a while which is about as close to MS Paint as you can get with support for layers. In the days of MS Paint being removed from Windows I would suggest anyone with a longing nostalgia give Paint.net a try, you will find it refreshingly similar (only with some added features that make it more usable.)
With all of that being said, farewell MS Paint. You helped me find my lifelong love for computers and you will be remembered by at least this one nostalgic geek.