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Visio Art

The creation of this page was inspired by this video of a guy drawing a custom sports car in MS Paint. It seems there’s an entire underground of folks creating art with an application that isn’t really up to the task. Like a haiku or sonnet, there seems to be something compelling about working within a constrained environment.

I’ve long felt the same way about Visio. You can do so much more than just boring diagrams! So I thought I’d share with you the non-business Visio drawings that I’ve created over the years.

And if any of you know how I can get this blog software, WordPress, to allow user-submissions, I’d like to post artistic creations from you guys on this page too!


View Apeware.jpg
In the early days, Visio Corporation was briefly called Axon, then ShapeWare. This second name conjured images of lady’s lingerie in many people’s minds. If that wasn’t bad enough, simply omitting the first two letters in the name inspired the pen-and-ink drawing at left.

The third name-change was a charm, and the name Visio Corporation stuck for many years after that, until Microsoft shelled out the $1,100,000,000 for the right to put their name on the product. You can find more Visio history here.




Download Greece.zip

A friend from long ago painted a scene of Greece that I just had to copy using Visio 2.0 and my new Gateway 2000 486DX.

I think, that at that time, the color-depth of the video-card on my new Gateway was vastly improved, so I was able to create all these shades of blue and gray without having to look at horrible dithering. That was one of the motivations behind this .vsd.

(Download Greece.zip)



Chris’ Notes Piano Cheat Sheet

Download ChrisNotesPianoCheatSheet.zip

The Chris’ Notes Piano Cheat Sheet was created to help remind me of bass- and treble-clef notes on the piano. It’s a take-off on the famous Cliff Notes pamphlet series that helped so many of us survive Shakespeare. The document contains a few cool master shapes and a neat piano-keyboard custom line pattern.

(download ChrisNotesPianoCheatSheet.zip)



Seattle Skylines

Download Seattle.zip

This document has two renderings of the Seattle skyline. One on a clear blue summer day. The other is pure fantasy – Seattle in the snow (grumble grumble).

An interesting note about the winter scene is that it uses a Snowflake master that randomly sizes itself. This is where I always thought Visio had potential as an illustration tool. You can make SmartShapes that really help the illustration process. Imagine the toil and utter boredom involved in having to randomly-and-manually resize every single snowflake as you dropped them on the page!

(Download Seattle.zip)




Download Tank.zip

Having studied mechanical engineering, being a fan of drafting and CAD in general, and having worked on Visio Technical 4.0, 5.0 and 2000, I just had to create a technical drawing or two.

Check out the tread custom line pattern for the tank tracks!

(Download Tank.zip)



Rising Knife

Download RisingKnife.zip

This one was done as some sort of inside joke that had to do with the television show Iron Chef. I don’t remember the joke, and I have nothing personal against the Chef himself. I just enjoyed drawing the knife(!), incorporating the bitmap, and using transparency on the rising sun in the background.

(Download RisingKnife.zip)




Download Inahlers.zipThis drawing has some excerpts from work I did on a pharmacy education poster, (which was created entirely in Visio, by the way!) I believe that it was in this piece that our friends Visio Guy and Dr. Xml made their debut, although they didn’t have names at that time.

Neither character suffers from any kind of respiratory disorder, but they were more than happy to serve as guinea pigs for the demonstrations.

(Download Inhalers.zip)



Pin and LocPin Illustration

Download PinAndLocPin.zipThis illustration was created in Visio 1 or 2, I can’t rightly remember. It shows the relationship between the PinX / PinY cells and the LocPinX / LocPinY cells, and was used in the very first book about developing Visio-based solutions, as well as in training-class materials.

(Download PinAndLocPin.zip)


Best Revenge Gig

Stuart sent this one to us. He used Visio to make a poster advertising a gig for the band: Best Revenge. Thanks Stuart! You can view the full poster here.