Have you ever used drawr?
drawr is a pixiv related website, born in October 2008, a social media where you could post your free-hand drawings. It had so many limitations, it's hard to believe such a service existed when comparing it to what we are used to nowadays. You couldn't input text, upload anything, erase what you just drew, or use any tool that was not on drawr. Not even the eyedropper tool was available at the beginning.
Since it was such a strictly regulated service, it was really putting emphasis on free-hand drawings. Of course, many pro creators use it and it was full of valuable artworks.
The creators we interviewed
11 years of history, coming to an end
── drawr will cease in a few days after 11 years of service.
I didn't think it would go on for 11 years! It's mostly thanks to pixiv!
── 卍 posted more than 4,000 artworks!
True, but most of them are not open to the public, so one may see around 800 of them... I was mostly using those as ideas when working or when trying to explain something on Skype.
── Aren't those enough, though? (laughs)
── drawr is filled with abstract and original drawings, while on both pixiv and Twitter there are many fan art pieces of known characters... Creative drawings really do stick out; 卍's case might be one of those.
I posted stuff recently too, but they're all stuff I don't even remember drawing.
How was your first approach to drawr?
── drawr was launched in October 2008. pixiv started a year before and still was not refined at the time. What did you think when you first used drawr?
── ka92, where you using the drawing chats?
── I guess that live drawing chats and drawr are kind of similar!
The absence of tools such as the eyedropper gave birth to new forms of cretivity
── drawr got pretty famous at its time for not letting users use basic functions such as the eyedropper. Even from the start, the experience users got was very similar to posting their drawings on clipboards.
── The brushes were also quite limited, right?
── The absence of the eyedropper really sets a standard for a drawing tool, doesn't it?
Some people say it's vital, but I learned that it is not that important... I had many friends who used to draw without it!
── Never heard of that technique!
Well, wasn't that interesting as well? Discovering new techniques.
The motivation behind the development of drawr was to provide a tool to make painting more carefree, as many users might have felt hesitant to post their illustrations on pixiv. We thought that posting illustrations, and not text, might make it easier on the users. That's why we decided not to implement a text feature. In our initial prospects, we assume that even people who didn't draw that much would use drawr to upload their very own picture diary. They could draw directly on the internet, without the need for drawing software.
── Nowadays it would be hard to think of a website that doesn't let you upload your illustrations.
── You also messed around with the drawr logo.
A woderful exchange of illustrations
── The exchange of illustrations between users was also a thing. I remember k92's "Kinokotake's War".
── And there was also the "hand" rally born from 卍's illustration. It wasn't a very long thread, but its quality was quite high.
── I was really moved by that rally at the time. That is one of the things that make you glad the internet exists! I am glad I was able to be there while two geniuses were exchanging ideas.
I was trying to imitate 卍's techniques in using the void space, but when I looked at the result I felt underwhelmed.
I was surprised and really moved when I knew that he enjoyed my artwork.
── Sukocchi's "Hayabusa Gijinka Manga" drew a lot of attention and even got on the newspaper.
Many other drawr artworks got famous on Twitter and other media.
On to a world with no drawr
── Shortly, there will be no drawr any more. Do you think that some new service will start soon?
Media like Twitter are often used to share personal drawings since it is easy to make them viral and have many people noticing them, but I think we are going to need some place like drawr where one can share their sketches without thinking of the consequences.
── How would you describe your experience on drawr?
── Thank you very much!
drawr has never been the main platform for sharing illustrations but surely meant a lot to that culture. It has something that viral social media can not give you: the pleasure of enjoying drawings without worrying about the rest.
drawr will close on December 2nd, 2019, but you can download your posts on drawr or move your posts on to pixiv Sketch. Furthermore, on pixiv Sketch you'll be able to enjoy the simple Drawing feature for an experience close to the drawr one. If you haven't done it yet, go download your artworks.
Thank you for your art and for connecting people.
▼See the comments from famous drawr users below▼
- すこっち (Sukocchi)
- It was thanks to drawr if my manga Hayabusa was born. Just like on social media, on drawr you can draw your thoughts on the screen, share them and add comments and responses. It's the coziest imageboard out there. I'm sad to see it go. Thank you very much for these 11 years.
- 干し首 (Hoshikubi)
- drawr may have contributed to the interaction between artists much more than pixiv. I really enjoyed receiving responses from various people. I don't have anything like that on Twitter right now (but maybe it's just me), so I hope that there will be something similar in the future.
- ラビッツ (Rabbits)
- drawr was epochal as an imageboard-type of social media. There were many posts that showed off the incredible talent of artists working with extremely limited tools, and it was exciting to find new works. This excitement was what gave me the courage to start drawing myself.
Thank you for these last 11 years, they felt like an instant.