When people tour our shop, and see the fancy computers on my desk and the computer controlled CNC router in the back room many immediately think I sit at my computer and use CAD (computerized Assisted Design) to come up with my ideas and sketches. Another push of the magic button and the CNC router churns out our projects. It's really no that way at all. While I love to use the ultra modern tools the bulk of our work is actually done by hand in our shop.

The ideas most often start in my sketch book as scribbles and pretty rough ones at that. These ideas get sketched over and over in that same sketchbook, slowly being refined and taken to a workable, usable state. Only then do I approach the computer, scan in the idea and get to work. Even at the computer I still draw mostly by hand. I use a digital drawing tablet, with a 'magic' pen that draws invisible lines on my tablet while it shows up on my screen - still freehand.

The large project for the Caribbean is one (of two) large projects I am currently working on. I've done a bunch of concepts while waiting for the site specifics so I could decide how it would all fit together and in what scale. Yesterday I finally had the information I needed and the idea came to me in a flash - while I was watching TV with Janis. I grabbed my sketchbook and scribbled down my ideas as fast as they came to mind.

While most people would see little in this quick drawing (especially without the labels I can see so much more. As I drew I could see how everything would be built, I could hear the waterfalls, could imagine families playing together, see the palm trees waving in the wind, even smell the lush flowers and landscape. I could vividly see a truly magical place.

Now it is a simple matter of working out the details.

-grampa dan