Graphics and Drawings

Scientists and technologists spend a lot of time staring at graphs. Graphs are part of the language of engineering and science. If you go into a circuit designer's office cube you will see that his whiteboard holds more graphs than anything else -- circuit diagrams, layouts, waveforms, etc. Such people learn to think in graphic terms. If you see two engineers standing in front of a whiteboard discussing some idea for a new development, you will see them communicating their ideas in pictures more than any other way.

Techical drawings have been a part of science and engineering for a very long time, and have had a great flowering in the computer age when computer graphics capabilities have made it much easier to create colored drawings of almost any mathematical relationship or data set. Some intricate technical patterns such as integrated circuit and printed circuit board layouts have sometimes been viewed as "art" by people unfamiliar with their details and intrigued by the busy and businesslike patterned layers.

When the human eye sees a pattern the brain makes an interpretation of it. A visual "impression" is created. These impressions may have little to do with the object at hand. Many people can look at a sky dotted with clouds and see people, animals, landscapes -- even though they know perfectly well that "It's just clouds".

This is true of technical graphics, too, and I have occasionally seen people, animals, anatomy, or landscapes in a graphic image created for some entirely different purpose. With a knowlege of how technical graphics is created, it is possible to deliberately skew the appearance in such a way as to enhance the perception of "things" in the picture. Long acquaintance with technical graphics is one of the (several) sources of John Art.