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Technology

Drawing pad to Thinkpad

Dilbert's creator on cartooning's technological makeover

By Scott Adams for CNN

Scott Adams
Adams: "I used to be into gadgets but it just seemed gadgets got boring."
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(CNN) -- Cartooning has changed dramatically over my career. When I started it was completely done with pen and paper and you'd use whiteout to get rid of the mistakes and send it off by mail.

It's only partially done by hand now. Before I started drawing Dilbert I was working at an engineering department at Pacific Bell so I was surrounded by technology and after I started drawing full time I was at the leading edge of moving over to new technology.

I draw in pencil and then ink over the drawing, but then I scan it into my computer. All the lettering is done with a font of my own handwriting. I use Photoshop to clean it up, add the boxes around the drawings and do all the shading and coloring.

But the best part is that when I'm done I just email it and it doesn't get stolen at the Post Office anymore. That happened a couple of times. They started disappearing. Somebody somewhere has got exclusive Dilbert cartoons hanging on their walls.

The biggest change for me was when I started writing my email address in the strip around 1993. That's when I found out what people were liking and what they didn't like.

What they liked was when Dilbert was in the office, which I didn't know and he wasn't in the office very often. So I changed it to accommodate what people wanted.

I did get a lot of emails from people who said, "I just got my first email system and I don't know anyone else who has an email address." I got a lot of those.

Dilbert is a lover of all things technological. He loves technology for the sake of technology, whether it's helpful or not. He likes gadgets just because you can play with them.

Apart from his computer, his favorite gadget is definitely going to be his home theatre system. He's got full surround sound and a projection screen and a regular little theater room in his house. You can see it at Dilbert's Ultimate Houseexternal link. I haven't got one myself but one day I'd like to have one too.

I used to be into gadgets but it just seemed gadgets got boring. I've got my PDA and my cellphone. I've finally stopped using a landline so I just use my cellphone for everything now.

I remember the joy of my first laptop, an IBM Thinkpad. When you opened up the screen the keyboard would unfold automatically. I used to love opening those things up on airplanes before everyone had seen them.

-- Scott Adams has been drawing Dilbert since 1989. The cartoon is now syndicated to 2000 newspapers in 65 countries. His latest project is "Dilbert's Ultimate House," at Dilbert.com.


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