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TurboCAD: Enhancing Creative Expression

By Donald Cheke, Textual Creations
February 10, 2004

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For as long as I can remember I have had a great need and desire to create. Through the years the format of that expression has changed dramatically but that desire has remained ever constant. In my childhood years that desire was fulfilled by pencil drawings on paper - I was surely no Samuel Prout, but drawing brought me much pleasure. As time passed and I matured I found creative expression in home renovations and then cabinet building. These were both very rewarding experiences, experiences that I am ever grateful to have had.

Even as a teen, but especially during my mid adulthood years, there was always a nagging desire to write a book and this feeling became so strong that I began writing in 1994. Over the next two years I produced three books all dealing with the human condition. The first, "Along the Way: A Journey of One," is a very long text that peers deep into the spiritual and psychological intricacies of humanity. The second, "Threads of the Spirit," was written during that latter part of writing the first. It is a book that sums up all the ideas, thoughts and feeling of the first and presents them in a very simple, succinct format. The third book was also written on the heels of the first two. "Deep Within: The Mandala Experience" also presents the same material as the others but this time in a visual manner. The original mandalas were all hand drawn. The drawings were photographed and incorporated into the final book.

Writing quickly became one of my favorite forms of expression and combined with artistic elements my great creative urges were finally being assuaged. Although I have never been able to find a publisher here in Canada that was even interested in looking at my works, I have continued to produce other written works for my own pleasure and benefit. I eventually began binding my own books and even purchased a small spiral binding machine to achieve a much more professional look.

Another creative interest that I developed over the years was with origami (Japanese paper folding). This interest also matured over the years and I found a new desire, a new urge if you will, to create an origami book. This project would combine my love of writing and drawing in ways previously unimagined. I knew that I could draw the origami illustrations with pencil and ruler but I knew from experience that this would leave me dissatisfied. With 650 drawings to produce, pencil and ruler (and eraser) would leave much to be desired. I attempted the drawings in my word processor with its limited drawing tools. Within five minutes I knew that I wouldn't be doing it this way. I also had a WMF (graphics files) creation program and although it was much better than the word processor it still wasn't going to give me the results I was hoping to achieve. Having seen other wonderfully illustrated origami books I knew that there must be a way to achieve pleasing results so off to the local office supply store I went.

I had no idea when I went to the office supply store that I was looking for a CAD program. Although I knew that CAD was short for something like Computer Aided Design or Computer Assisted Drawing, I had never even seen a CAD program. As I perused the shelves I came across two CAD programs - not much selection in the small city in which I live. The first looked interesting but was a little more money than I was willing to pay for something I didn't even know would suit my needs. The second was a colorful box that showed some interesting illustrations. It was TurboCAD V8 Designer. It was only forty dollars and looked as though it might do the trick so I bought it and headed home.

That purchase just happened to be the start of a very wonderful relationship. I didn't begin immediately on the origami book. I needed to learn the program first but I knew right away that TurboCAD was going to be exactly what I needed, the answer to my origami dilemma. To aid in learning I decided I would reproduce the mandalas that I had created earlier. I had never really been happy with the photographed pictures that were in the original book and thought that this might be the way to go. It was. I was able to reproduce the mandalas exactly as they had been originally drawn, actually better - crisper, more precise. The only thing I couldn't do with TurboCAD Designer was to reproduce a couple of the mixed colors that had been used in the originals but that was something I could live with.

Having developed a level of confidence with TurboCAD I was now ready to get on with the origami book. Talk about true excitement - every step of the way I was able to produce each drawing precisely as planned. I remember so clearly feeling great excitement, finally being able to produce drawings that I could only dream about as a kid. My dream of precision, of clear, crisp, clean illustrated work was rapidly becoming a reality. As with all I do I worked hard and long and completed "Glorious Origami" three or four months later. It is exactly as I had hoped. Nearing the end of producing "Glorious Origami" I went back to that same office supply store. I, like most, had a desire to upgrade to the next level of TurboCAD - TurboCAD V8 Standard. I had been putting it off as I had never seen it in Saskatoon and ordering it from the United States would end up costing much more due to exchange rates and so forth. I told myself that if it just happened to be in the store I would buy it. It was, and I did.

Now with a full-blown excitement for TurboCAD and an enhanced need to create I began incorporating TurboCAD into everything. I remade book and booklet covers. I remade two illustrated Reiki treatment guides and a science journal that I had produced earlier and created other new booklets. I began creating my own clip art and even tried my hand at editorial cartoons (for personal amusement only). Just like a kid with a new toy I still use TurboCAD daily.

Earlier in the learning process I came across the TurboCAD User Conference Forum. What a great place it was, and still is, to get gentle guidance and encouragement. I would never have progressed as rapidly as I did without the dedicated forum members. Although there is other help available here and there, there never seemed to be enough for beginners in the way of tutorials, at least not much that didn't cost more money. For me, like many others, money is not always that available for extras and so I counted on the forum for help. As I became more proficient with TurboCAD Standard I thought that it might be nice to give back a little as I had felt quite blessed with my fortunate circumstances and the help I had found and received on the forum. The most logical next step seemed to be writing tutorials. I had experience with writing, I felt quite comfortable with TurboCAD - both brought me great pleasure - why not? An opportunity presented itself on the forum. An individual was looking to learn how to make screw threads so I promised a tutorial. A few days later I posted my first tutorial. It received good reviews and so I made a decision that I would wander down that road for a while. Thus far I have produced eighteen tutorials.

As with much in life doing one thing often leads to numerous other things. During my introduction to TurboCAD over the last year and a half I somehow developed a stronger sense of self-confidence and pride in my creative works. Through much prodding and encouragement from my wife Denise, I decided to create a website featuring much of my work. It too has been a remarkable experience. Although I have often pursued my creative enterprises for personal reasons it feels quite nice to share them with others. Having a connection with TurboCAD has made that website much more visible than it would ever otherwise have been. I am very grateful for that connection. I receive much email from fellow beginner Turbocadders with words of thanks and many other questions. I am glad to help out where I can and when I can't, I simply direct them to the user forum where I know they will be welcomed and find the help I was so blessed to find.

I received TurboCAD V9.5 Pro as a belated Christmas gift this year. It has deepened my TurboCAD excitement ten fold. It has so many new bells and whistles that I fear I will never be able to learn it all. It is my hope to continue to learn and eventually create a few more tutorials that may be of further assistance to beginners. Until then I will continue to learn, explore and enjoy the wonders of TurboCAD.

About the Author

Donald (Don) B. Cheke operates a small data management business in Saskatoon, SK Canada, where he lives with his wife and daughter. In his personal search to better understand the human condition he has spent a great deal of time researching and writing about his discoveries. His search has been augmented by exploration into the creative realm through various mediums - TurboCAD being the most recent.

To see some of his creations, including TurboCAD tutorials and drawings, please visit www.textualcreations.ca.

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