The program Drawing for Children is a drawing program that is especially suited for small children. Children donít need to be able to read to use the program. Also, rather than asking the user to set all sorts of options it simply gives a large number of different ways of drawing. The best way to learn what the program can do is to simply play with all the buttons. There are normal drawing commands, for drawing lines, circles, etc. but also many weird ones to draw railroads, pipes, bubbles, grass, etc. Just try experimenting to make the weirdest pictures. There are many different pens, stamps, cliparts, backgrounds, and special effects. One thing is important to remember when experimenting: in most cases the left mouse button does something else than the right mouse button. Also most of the time holding the <Shift> key on the keyboard increases the size of the things you draw. When holding the <Ctrl> key again different things happen. So donít forget to try these possibilities (and all combinations) as well. Finally, holding the <Alt> key always snaps positions to a grid. This is useful for positioning things you draw.
Drawing for Children requires a modern PC running Windows 95 or later. The
program should be
Even though this documentation is not necessary to use and understand the program I still give an overview of the options. When starting the program you see a window with the following parts: At the top there are the most important buttons. Their function will be described below. (If you leave the mouse pointer on a button a short message appears describing its function.) For most buttons there are various possibilities. They will appear on the left of the drawing area. With the two arrow buttons you can scroll through the options.
Below you find an overview of the different buttons on the top row and what they do. I will only give brief descriptions. To find out the details, just try them out.
By pressing this button you undo the last action. For example, if you filled a couple of regions and then press the undo button, all fills will be removed! You can also use <Ctrl>Z for undoing the last action.
This button gives a large number of ways of sketching. There are pens of different thickness, pens that draw multiple colors, pens that draw shapes like stars, squares, etc., pens that draw roads, and so on. You can also fill areas, create grass and bubbles, and even make drawings that are mirrored in 2, 4 or 16 directions (by using the right mouse and/or holding the <Ctrl> key). The only way to find out all the possibilities is to try. It is important to remember that in many cases the left mouse button does something else than the right mouse button and that holding the <Shift> and/or <Ctrl> key when starting to draw has further different effects.
Using the pair of scissors, you can copy a rectangular piece to the clipboard. (By using the right mouse button you cut it out of the picture.) Now you can select the clipboard button below it and place it somewhere in the picture. Using the right mouse button mirrors it. The <Shift> key enlarges it and the <Ctrl> key draws it transparently on the picture. You can also paste the picture into other programs, like Word, or paste pictures from another program into your drawing.
The roads (and railroads, tubes, etc.) might require a little explanation. They are automatically connected to one another as long as you donít press a button at the left of the screen. You can erase parts of the road network you are drawing by using the right mouse button. The <Shift> keys scales the roads, but only if you hold it when you start the road network. Holding the <Ctrl> key colors the roads in the current color.
Here you can draw simple symbols like lines, arrows, circles, rectangles, etc. To draw something, choose the symbol, click on the place where it should start and drag the mouse. Release it when you are satisfied. With the left mouse button the symbols are filled. With the right mouse button they are not. Holding the <Shift> key when starting to draw makes the boundary thicker. Holding the <Ctrl> key when starting to draw makes the symbols equal width and height (so you get squares and circles and horizontal or diagonal lines). Remember to hold the <Alt> key to align your symbols to a grid.
You can also draw arbitrary polygons here. Click at the place where the first vertex should come. Now drag the mouse towards the place for the second vertex. Release the mouse, press it again and move to the next position, etc. To finish the polygon, release the mouse close to the starting vertex, or press any key on the keyboard. To delete the last vertex, press the <Backspace> key on the keyboard.
After pressing this button you can enter texts. At the left you can choose style of the text (e.g. normal, underlined, embossed). Next, indicate the start position in the picture with the mouse and type in the text on the keyboard. End the text with <Esc>. As long as you did not end the text you can change its position in the picture by clicking the mouse somewhere. You can even hold the mouse and drag the text to the correct position. If you use the right mouse button the text will be made italic. Holding the <Shift> key makes the text larger. Holding the <Ctrl> key makes it bold.
It is also possible to use rotated text. To this end, click with the right mouse button on the text action button. A form pops up in which you can set the direction using one of the 8 buttons, by typing the angle, or by using the arrow buttons. Now click somewhere in the image and start typing. You can also press <Ctrl>L or <Ctrl>R during typing to rotate left or right. Rotated text is only available when the setting Enable rotated text is checked in the settings (see below).
You can change the font and style by clicking on the box labeled font on the top let of the screen. (This only works when the setting Enable font selection is checked.)
Here you can add a huge number of different small images to your picture. There are animals, flowers, planets, etc. If you click on the stamps button you first have to pick the collection of stamps you are interested in. Next choose the stamp you want to add at the left of the window. Now press the mouse button in your picture at the place you want. To make it easy to place the stamp at the correct place, simply hold the mouse button and drag it to the right position. The stamp is only places when you release the mouse button. Pressing the right mouse button will mirror the stamp. Holding the <Shift> key will enlarge the stamp. Finally, holding the <Ctrl> key will color the stamp in the current draw color. (You can also use any combination of the above.)
Please note that the stamps are not part of the program. The creators have been so kind to give me permission to distribute them with the program but they own the copyright. It is not allowed to distribute the stamps independent of this program. For more information, see the document copyright.txt in the Stamps folder. You can add your own stamps to the program (see below).
Cliparts are images that can be scaled and keep perfect shape. A number of public domain cliparts are provided with the program and you can add your own. If you click on the clipart button you first have to select the collection of cliparts you want. Next pick the clipart you would like to add to your picture and drag it in the picture (so hold down your mouse and move it to the bottom right). When the clipart has the required size, release the mouse button. You can also drag the mouse up or right to flip or mirror the clipart. If you hold the <Shift> key when clicking with the mouse the clipart will fill the entire picture (useful for e.g. borders). When holding the <Ctrl> key the proportions of the clipart are kept correct. For adding your own collections of cliparts, see below.
Here you find a number of ways of creating different backgrounds (erasing the drawing). For most backgrounds, when you click on the button using the right mouse button, the background is colored in the current color. In this way you can create great effects (e.g. red clouds). Also try the <Ctrl> and <Shift> key for slight changes in the way the background is drawn.
After pressing this button you can draw a number of special shapes, like stars, houses, spirals, etc., by clicking with the mouse somewhere in your drawing. (Again try left and right mouse button and hold the <Shift> and/or <Ctrl> key.)
With this button you can apply all sorts of effects to your picture. First of all there are effects that color the image, make it lighter or darker, or blur it. Also, you can mirror it horizontal and vertical, slant it, copy it multiple times, create a tunnel, and reduce or enlarge part of the picture. Donít forget clicking on the button with the right mouse or while holding the <Shift> or <Ctrl> key. Sometimes something different happens.
When pressing this button a small window appears. Here you can indicate whether the picture is printed normal size or larger, such that it fills the whole page. After you press the correct format the picture will be printed on the default printer. Note that, because this is a large image, the printing takes long!!
If you select the option Advanced print dialog in the settings form you have more control over size and position. Also you are shown the select printer dialog that allows you to select a different printer and to set printer options.
This button does exactly what you expect it to do: it throws away the current picture and creates a new empty one.
Here you can load a picture you stored earlier. You are shown a set of small images of the existing pictures. Use the arrow buttons at the left or right to scroll through the images. Click on the picture you want to load. If you press the Cancel button no picture will be loaded. If you made a mistake (for example you wanted to save your picture rather than load it) you can always press the Undo button described above.
If you want to load different pictures, open the settings form (see below) and click on Use dialogs for loading and saving. Now, when loading a picture, you will be shown a normal dialog box in which you can select a picture.
Pressing this button you can save the picture for later use. You will again be shown the existing pictures. You can either overwrite one of them by clicking on it or save the picture in a free slot by clicking on an empty image. (If there are no empty images in the current screen, use the button with the arrow to the right until you find one.)
If you want to save your picture at a different place (e.g. to place it in a document or edit it further), open the settings form (see below) and click on Use dialogs for loading and saving. Now, when saving a picture, you will be shown a normal dialog box in which you can select a place and name for the picture.
Pressing this button to change the settings (see below). If the button is not visible you can still use <Ctrl>+<Shift>+<Alt>+S to show the settings form.
Pressing this button you get some information about the version of the program and the fact that it can be used for free. Moreover there is a little help here.
By pressing this button you stop the program. If the button is not visible you can still use <Ctrl>+<Shift>+<Alt>+Q to stop the program.
At the left top of the window you can choose the color and font. You see the font in its current color and style, and you see a little colored rectangle with the current fill and border color. You can change the font by clicking on the box. You can change the fill color by clicking with the left mouse button on the colored rectangle and you can change the border color by clicking with the right mouse button. For quickly changing colors click (again with left or right mouse) on the 12 predefined colors.
You can also change the drawing style. To this end, click on the colored box while holding the <Ctrl> or <Shift> key. A form appears in which you can select the draw style, the border style (works only for border width 1) and the border width. Click OK when you are done.
For small children, the color, style, and font dialogs can be confusing. You can disable them by deselecting the options Enable color selection, Enable draw style selection and Enable font selection in the settings form (see below).
There are a number of settings you can change. To this end, open the help form and click on the button Settings. A form appears in which you can change the following settings:
Here you can indicate what the size of a new picture should be when the user presses the New picture button.
To make the most childproof setting, deselect all options, except Save
picture when stopping. To have full control, select all of them. There are
three predefined default settings. You get them by pressing the buttons labeled
It is easy to add your own stamps, cliparts, symbols, etc. to the program. They can be found everywhere on the web. Here we outline how new data can be added.
Cliparts are so-called windows metafiles (*.wmf) and windows enhanced metafiles (*.emf). They can be found everywhere on the web. Huge collections of public domain cliparts are available. Also very cheap CDís with thousands of cliparts can be bought.
Cliparts are stored in the folder Cliparts in the program folder. There can be multiple collections of cliparts. The folder Cliparts contains a number of subfolders, one for each collection. To add cliparts to an existing collection, simply put them in the corresponding subfolder. The next time you start the program they will be available. You can also add your own collections (there is a maximum of 24 collections). To this end make a new subfolder in the Cliparts folder and place your cliparts there. (Make sure the subfolder is not empty!) You can determine the image of the collection by placing a 32x33 bitmap file XXX.bmp in the Cliparts folder, where XXX is the name of your subfolder. If you donít an image is automatically generated.
Note that for each clipart XXX.wmf, the program creates a file XXX_small.bmp, which contains the image of the clipart used on the buttons. You can also create these yourself if you require a different picture but better donít (they must have size 32x33).
Stamps are icon files (.ico) of which there are huge collections available on the Internet. In the folder in which the program is stored there is a folder called Stamps. In this folder there are again a number of subfolders, one for each collection of stamps. Simply add your icon files to one of the collections or make a new subfolder with your own stamps. If you created a folder XXX you can also place an icon with name XXX.ico in the Stamps folder. This icon is used as the image representing the collection. If there is no such icon, one is taken from the collection.
Backgrounds are bitmap files (*.bmp) that are created such that they nicely fill the plane when copies are placed next to each other. They are stored in the folder Backgrounds in the program folder. To add your own, simply place them in this folder. (They can be found everywhere on the web.)
Note that for each background XXX.bmp, the program creates a file XXX_small.bmp, which contains the image of the background used on the buttons. You can also create these yourself if you require a different picture but better donít (they must have size 32x33).
In the sketch menu there are a number of shapes that you can use as a pen while drawing (e.g. the flower, balloon, etc.) These are simple icon files (*.ico), placed in the folder Pens in the program folder. You can add your own pens here by simply placing the corresponding icons in this folder.
Most of the symbols are described by little text files in the Symbols folder in the program folder. Their syntax is as follows: A symbol consists of 1 or more closed polygons. The first number describes the number of such polygons. Next, for each polygon, you find the number of vertices, followed by the coordinates of the points (each time the x and y coordinate on the same line). So e.g. a rectangle will look as follows:
Note that this is a rectangle and not a square, because the actual proportions are determined while drawing the shape. The size of your shape does not matter; it is automatically scaled.
You can also add roads to the program but this is a bit complicated. Each road consists of a set of 16 icons, stored in a subfolder of the Roads folder in the program folder. The 16 icons correspond to the different directions in which there can be a connection. If you give up the number 1, right the number 2, down the number 4, and left the number 8, you can create all connections by adding up the corresponding numbers. So e.g. road13.ico is the icon for a position with connections up, down, and to the left.
To design your own road, you need to design the correct 16 icons and place them in a folder XXX in the Roads folder. Next create an icon XXX.ico in the Roads folder that will represent the road on the button.