Vale DrawQuest: CTRL ALT DELETE
IMAGE: ‘What’s Sizzling In The Pan?’ by DrawQuest and Me
Only late last year I was bleating on about how great DrawQuest was.
A free program designed to offer the canvas, tools, gallery, and daily inspirational prompts for aspiring artists and procrastinating doodlers to express their creativity in an encouraging environment, DrawQuest was like a sweet, supportive oasis. It was a place where pop culture and classical art, established and original characters (and the occasional shamelessly redundant request for followers) mingled in blissful, free-associated abandon.
At any moment you could be scrolling through a five-year old’s adorably slanted drawing of a house with puffy smoke coming out the chimney, a near photo-realistic portrait of Beyonce, or a fresco of Princess Bubblegum dissecting SpongeBob SquarePants in a soundproof lab.*
So naturally enough, when I spoke of the program I compared it to the birth of all art and imaginative expression: humankind’s very first cave paintings and the revolutionary conceptual evolution that they continue, to this day, to represent.
‘Cause that’s not an overreach.
In any case, while I have to admit that it’s been a month or two since I’ve dropped in on DrawQuest, my fondness for the program has remained strong. So I was greatly disheartened to hear earlier this month that DrawQuest had closed down.
As their announcement states, the program had been the target of a hacker, and while it was unclear whether any sensitive information had in fact been gathered, the owners and operators of the program decided in the wake of this breach to protect against further intrusion into their clients’ privacy by closing down the whole production.**
Aside from being a loss for those who used the platform to feed their creative spark, it’s also a sad reminder of just how transitory the world wide web can be as a means of archival preservation. In my previous post, I spoke of the way in which the internet gave we desperate, expressive humans the opportunity to spread ourselves even further beyond the limitations of this our mortal, corporeal form. No longer were we constrained by the need for physical space and temperamental mediums – suddenly we could reach into the nebulous, wild expanse of the digital eternal…
Except of course that now, with all of DrawQuest’s galleries and social functions shut down, we instead see hundreds of thousands of users discovering that material they had poured countless hours of love and effort into could be dissolved in an instant.
Bet those cave walls don’t seem to ‘antiquated’ now, huh?
…Wait, who am I mocking? Me?
Although to their great credit the creators and curators of DrawQuest have promised to try and restore those galleries somewhere, somewhen in future, the truth is that they appear to be a small handful of very kind, very underfunded volunteers, and a library of that magnitude will probably be cumbersome, and prohibitively expensive to wrangle. Ideally, they will indeed find a way to return, but at present, all of that work – months of labour, passion, and effort; a testament to the enthusiastic community DrawQuest had fostered – is gone.
Thankfully, for those users (like myself) who were egomaniacal enough to link up their tumblr feeds and facebook histories and twitter twoots and flickr whatevers (why do none of these programs use capital letters, inquired the very old man typing this post?), their pictures live on, however ephemerally, in other internet galleries. These echoes of what DrawQuest was remain, the artworks given life through its collaboration preserved – likewise, no doubt, all tremulously poised upon the precipice of another encroaching oblivion…
So to mourn the loss of a truly wonderful little community and its lovingly generous original mission statement to ‘foster a community of budding creators’, I offer some more of of my own stupid pictures. As you scroll down this gallery, feel free to imagine me weeping, blurting the lyrics to ‘Memory’ in your ear…
Let the memory live again
Every street lamp seems to beat
A fatalistic warning
Someone mutters and the street lamp sputters
Soon it will be morning…
Wait. Those are the lyrics to that song? Those are some of the stupidest lyrics I’ve ever heard. Forget it. Pretend I’m singing The Black Eyed Peas:
My hump my hump my hump my hump my hump, my hump my hump my hump my lovely lady lumps.
That makes about as much sense.
But all my stupidity aside, thank you for everything, DrawQuest. You provided people a great deal of joy, and you will be missed.
IMAGE: ‘What Are They Learning Today?’ by DrawQuest and Me
IMAGE: ‘What’s In The Wardrobe?’ by DrawQuest and Me
IMAGE: ‘Finish Building The Pyramid’ by DrawQuest and Me
IMAGE: ‘What’s Inside The Shell?’ by DrawQuest and Me
IMAGE: ‘Put Up A Notice On The Notice Board’ by DrawQuest and Me
* I never actually saw this one, but suddenly want to draw it immediately. And yes, it is soundproof because of the screaming.
** In truth it appears to be the proverbial final straw for the company. As the creator of DrawQuest, Chris Poole, recounts in a heartbreaking post from January of this year, the program was already running at a loss.