The Torchinsky Files: How To Draw A VW Beetle On Old Computers The Hard Way

Have you ever had to settle some sort of dispute or perceived slight by a rapid-fire duel of classic Volkswagen Beetle drawing? Probably. Well, if so, I’m not sure what method you chose to render your VW, but if it helps for next time, I’ve developed, at great personal expense, a method to quickly but effectively draw a VW Beetle, known as the Dual-Egg Method. For this week’s Torchinsky Files, I reveal the great secret of the Dual-Egg Method to you, then attempt to replicate it on a bunch of old computers and game consoles, often with crappy input devices.

I suppose I really did this video because I was thinking about the Apple Pencil/iPad combination I have and use for a lot of drawing. I haven’t had it too long, and it reminded me of what a colossal ass-pain drawing on old computers used to be, especially in the pre-mouse, wildly-expensive-graphics-tablet era.

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I’d been wanting to draw on computers ever since I first encountered them as a kid. I remember getting our Atari 2600 (then VCS) in the early 1980s, and always wanting the Surround cartridge, which I never could find because it had a “Video Graffiti” option. Now, as an adult of means with internet access, I was able to hunt down that cartridge and use it in this video, and boy, is it shitty!

Still, I would have loved it. As a kid I lusted after the Koala Pads and other graphics tablets on the market for the 8-bit computers of the era, but all I had were keyboards and joysticks, so I made do.

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When the Macintosh came out in 1984, the mouse became popular, and with it programs like MacPaint, which I also longed for, so much so that I wrote my own knockoff called Doodlebug II, a version of which I use in this video.

I couldn’t find the disk with the final version, but I do have some screenshots from it, showing the title screen, very Mac-inspired menu screen, and, for some reason, a picture of a slug I drew with it:

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Image: Jason Torchinsky

Doodlebug II was joystick-controlled, but joysticks, as you’ll see in the video, really suck for drawing with, and for the precise graphics needed for the menu and stuff, I used a keyboard-based BASIC drawing program I wrote, with similar controls to what you see in the video on that portable Radio Shack Model 100.

So, the Dual-Egg Beetle Drawing is just a reason, really, for me to try out these clunky and outdated graphics and drawing systems, and, as you can see by the results, there’s little reason to be nostalgic. We have it so good now.

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Illustration for article titled The Torchinsky Files: How To Draw A VW Beetle On Old Computers The Hard Way
Image: Jason Torchinsky

Still, I can’t pretend I don’t love the weird, idiosyncratic look of some of these, and even those early mouse-based programs, like the Apple II MousePaint or the Super Nintendo MarioPaint, actually can deliver decent results.

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Also, give me enough time on that TRS-80 keyboard setup and I bet I can do something decent, even if it’ll drive me absolutely flapjacking crazy in the process.

Anyway, if you give the Dual Egg Method a try, show me your results in the comments! If you do it on some ridiculous old bit of technology, even better. 

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Happy drawing.

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!: https://rb.gy/udnqhh)

DISCUSSION

kroozahjv
Kroozah

I used Photoshop version 1.0 on my grandpa’s old Macintosh SE

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