“I always thought of the Paint window like the hole Tim Robbins was digging out of his cell in The Shawshank Redemption, with the “minimize” button being the girly poster that hid it,” said Hines.
Patrick Hines, 34, is a man who hates Photoshop. Just kidding. He’s a man who’s simply enthralled by Microsoft Paint and has been cursor-ing pixels into complex illustrations for over a decade.
During the day, Pat Hines is tied up with duties as an Operations Specialist at a law firm in Boston. Due to a busy schedule and a sense of professionalism, Hines doesn’t work in Paint at the law office. But somehow he still manages to find time to construct complex masterpieces like this:
For much of his twenties, though, Hines worked a variety of desk jobs which offered ample time to dabble in Paint. Of all the programs (which there aren’t many on older desktop computers), what was his inspiration behind becoming so proficient in Paint?
Well, to be frank, Hines began working on digital illustrations out of pure boredom.
“I was working at the hospital in 2004, doing overnights,” said Hines. “This was just before Facebook and Youtube, If Wikipedia existed, I didn’t know about it. I hate Freecell, Minesweeper, and Solitaire, so it was Paint or a slow descent into insanity. The early projects were mostly for pleasure until around 2006 or 2007, when I started producing pieces I felt okay including alongside my more “traditional” artwork.”
Hines’ first introduction to Microsoft Paint was in 1995 on his family’s first computer: a Compaq Presario. Even after learning programs such as Photoshop in 2000 or so, Hines never fully enjoyed the work he would produce in it. Then, back to Paint is was.
“…I started getting good at Paint and for the first time began to see something resembling a personal style, which I never thought I had on paper,” said Hines. “On paper I was always trying to be another artist, but in Paint it felt like I’d found my own voice. I kept going back though, trying to learn the other programs because I wasn’t “supposed” to work in Paint, but I always gravitated back to it.”
For a simple program, Hines said Paint has some pretty interesting nuances. Although there may only a few out there who know all its secrets, he now possesses a fairly complex repertoire of techniques that have been procured through years of practice. What they say might be true: practice makes perfect. The illustrations for his 2016 Novel, Camp Redblood And The Essential Revenge, fall nowhere short of incredible.
“I always loved the idea of summer camp as a story setting,” Hines said. “To me it’s like the Old West—you can tell any kind of story you want there. Adventure, horror, comedy, romance, even a political allegory if you wanted.”
“Yet, I was never fully satisfied with any summer camp book or movie until Wet Hot American Summer. I never cared for the Friday the 13th movies because I always thought Jason was a Michael Myers rip-off, but also because Camp Crystal Lake never had any personality. I wanted to see a camp that had a history and its own weird traditions, that had campers and counselors who were interesting. And I wanted it to be spooky, full of adventure, and flat-out funny.”
“In the story, a group of older kids band together to get revenge for a nasty prank perpetrated on the little kids,” said Hines. “There’s a lot of talk these days about bullying, and what kids can do about it, but this story’s about the kids (and adults) who watch it happen and what they do (or don’t do) about it. The motto of Camp Redblood is simple: “Me Second.”
At The Manual, we believe it says a lot about a man when he steers away from the norm and is determined to stick with what he knows best. It projects a sense of pride and honor. Hines has no regrets about staying with Microsoft Paint all these years.
“I think I’d be decent in Photoshop,” Hines said, “but nowhere near good enough to get noticed. But beyond that — and this is something users on Reddit don’t seem to understand — I just really, really enjoy using the program (Paint).”
The Camp Redblood And The Essential Revenge Special Edition is available for Kindle on Amazon. The special edition version features Hines’ 8 full-color illustrations, the original Camp Redblood short story, as well as an exclusive Chapter One excerpt from Hines’ upcoming piece, Camp Redblood And The Summer of Terror.