Don’t. Just don’t use UNDO. Never. It will cripple your skills; it degenerates humankind! Just think about it: Every time you hit CTRL+Z, you admit that you’ve made a mistake and you let the computer to take it for you, to take away your responsibility to avoid errors. That’s not the way you learn!
Everyone also knows that computers are remarkably counterproductive when it comes to the right and the real experience. Let’s take a look at another example: Digital painting! Every time you zoom in, you lose the control over the composition, and you instantly focus too much on details, and most importantly you forget the big picture you should manage first of all.
Those two statements you’ve just read are nothing more than just a shameless provocation, and they are far from being correct. Not only those above-mentioned preconceptions are quite popular, but they are also quite understandable. It indeed feels strange to find out that your left hand subconsciously looks for the keyboard when we write a wrong character or draw an ugly circle on paper. Naturally, it is not surprising when we feel guilty at that moment.
However, they both are utterly wrong. First of all, it is the guilt we usually feel (And society we live in expects us to think this way.) when making mistakes. Mistakes are mistakes, and there is nothing wrong when avoiding them, but it is the mindset that accompanies them with negative emotion, with the fear of failure. The other case implies to the need to step away from a visual art-piece or design we may have in works. Of course, zoom is far away from that (much needed) physical act of few steps that make our visual perception more complete (Read more about it in “Walk it off” article.). On the other side, it doesn’t force you to flee away from the “big picture,” from controlling the composition. In fact, it allows us to profoundly dive into the details in a manner that has no reference to our “real” reality.
Here is the key message: The “Undo” may help you to correct your errors, but more importantly, it allows you to make them. Which takes me to the case of the evidence: My praxis requires a lot of visual communication, mainly in the form of sketches. And as I am on a day to day need to discuss and to share ideas in visual form, I have to be able to do it with a sound level of drawing skills. Although my education relied strictly on analog tools such as pencil and paper, which I still love and use, my ability to sketch improved by a giant leap with the introduction of digital media. It allowed me to practice one stroke over and over, as young karate apprentice would repeat oi-Tsuki punch ten thousand times until it was perfect. Stroke, undo. Stroke, undo … and again and again. Until it was perfect. Interestingly, once I was satisfied, my ability to make that one stroke (And many others I’ve learned this way.) did not disappear when I got back on paper. The hand and eye became both trained to repeat them even outside the digital reality.
David Chalmers, an Australian philosopher, and cognitive scientist claims that experiences in digital and “real” realities are equally valuable, and I am in agreement with him. The same applies to the skills you earn at one reality and utilize in another one. The digital reality, which exists only in our computers (of many forms and sizes) is defined, like all other realities, by the set of rules. In an example, we have laws of physics in our reality, while digital reality allows us to return in time and re-do our actions. I guess it starts to sound silly avoiding undo in this context, doesn’t it?
So, next time, just keep calm and hit undo. It is not your failure; it is your chance to play more. To draw the way you’ll like.
Although, undo still may not work with your pencil and paper.
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