Cyber Drawing

When meeting with clients, or potential clients, Jim Childress likes to live sketch to generate and refine design concepts. He talks by drawing, so to speak. But with pandemic precautions pushing a recent prospective job interview to Zoom rather than in-person around a boardroom table, Jim’s methodology faced a challenge.

Though our firm has utilized GoToMeeting for remote project meetings for years, Jim and his fellow principals here at Centerbrook have always participated in interviews and design sessions face-to-face. And while Zoom has served us honorably as a critical communications tool since mid-March, in this instance, the limitation was equipment.

Jim envisioned an apparatus that could position a video camera above the table so that others in the Zoom meeting could watch as he tested their ideas with pen, colored pencil, and yellow trace paper. Our master craftsman Patrick McCauley got on the case.

Patrick took some clear cedar from model shop stock and cold formed it into an arched arm. He then fashioned the end to hold either an iPhone or a regular webcam above a drawing surface. The other end can be easily clamped to any horizontal surface. Jim has since used his iPhone and integrated the video into Zoom design sessions, allowing him to draw and talk seamlessly without contorting a webcam.

One more example of a little ingenuity in these ever-evolving times that will help us to stay connected while we continue to observe best social distancing practices.