Monday, April 6, 2015


I've been getting to grips with iDraw since I last posted about it in February.

I still reckon Visio is more suited to most uses at work. The big thing Visio has that iDraw hasn't is the concept of connections. Visio is all about shapes (boxes, circles etc.) and the connections between them. Move a box, and the linked connecting lines intelligently reposition themselves to preserve the links. Great for org. charts, mind maps, and technical diagrams.

iDraw doesn't do that. Everything is a "path" which you can edit but which remains separate from other objects on the page. Having said that, I'm finding iDraw far more powerful in respects that make it way more suited to my purposes at home.

iDraw makes it incredibly easy to draw irregular shapes using the line and pen tools, and to tinker with shapes you've already drawn. Visio is fairly limited here. A rectangle, for example, can be squeezed and stretched and rotated but remains stubbornly rectangular. Many times I've had to cobble together an overlapping collage of boxes in Visio to achieve an effect, but with iDraw, you can create highly complex shapes with ease. Many of the other tools, such as line and fill, also offer huge degrees of control and flexibility.

As well as being easier in many ways, there are things I can do in iDraw that I could never hope to achieve at all in Visio. More on that another time, maybe...

I've now got a few very different drawing projects on the go, including a star chart, architectural drawings, and mock-ups for a book cover. To give it a fair comparative road test, though, I tackled a project similar to something I'd already done successfully in Visio. Over Christmas, I drew a ship plan using Visio. This time I used iDraw to produce plans for another ship that will feature in the sequel to Ghosts of Innocence.
(Click on image to zoom in)

Conclusions: Because this type of drawing is mostly collections of simple lines, both tools are easy to use in broad terms. However, iDraw makes it easier to add curved elements, and I found it handy to separate parts of the drawing into layers for easier editing. I know I can achieve good results in both tools, but my preference now is firmly for iDraw.

Case closed. Happy camper.

How's your Easter weekend going? We are having a fabulous time. Warm sun, and the deck is now cleaned and the furniture brought up from winter storage.


  1. Well done Happy Camper! Decision made ... now to have serious fun with your drawings .. great to know about the tool though .. Idraw it is then .. cheers Hilary

  2. Nice to have found a tool that works for you. You have DECK FURNITURE out????? Dang....we just had snow yesterday,

  3. I've played around with creating art on the computer, but I'm old fashioned and need a pencil or paintbrush in my hand.

  4. That's cool you are planning the interior of your next ship.
    Visio just isn't a good art program. Not familiar with iDraw, but I do know Visio. We don't use it at work though.

  5. Hilary, I'm pleased to have a drawing tool to play with. I've been wanting to get it for ages, but couldn't download it with the outdated version of Mac OS I was running until recently.

    Delores, just to rub it in, we had a late lunch out on the deck today. I realize, with only a small twinge of guilt, that some parts of the country are still getting the white stuff. Hope things improve for you soon.

    Stephen, I'm with you there for proper art. I see this kind of drawing as technical rather than artistic.

    Alex, Visio is a good business program, definitely not for art though.

  6. Your drawings are always so fascinating, Ian! Your attention to detail is incredible. I'll take your word on the programs, though. :-)

    The weekend was warmer here than we've been having. A nice change. This was really a cold winter here in the east. It's finally heading into the 60s and 70s F. A resounding hallelujah for that! ;-)

  7. Teresa, for drawings like this, I'm trying to simulate the look of an official naval blueprint, so the right level of detail is critical. I'm trying to work out how to post it to my website in such a way that it can be viewed properly...

  8. Those ships are so cool. I've used Visio a bit for flow charts at work, but I had no idea it could do this kind of stuff. Glad to hear iDraw is better, and from the looks of your image there, it really is perfect for more creative endeavors.

  9. Those plans are so awesome! Glad you found something that works for you. :-)

  10. Shell, Visio's good at what it does - things like flow charts are great. You could easily do that in iDraw too but I expect things to get cumbersome when you want to move your shapes around. Each tool is fit for its own purpose.

    Misha, I'm very happy too :)


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