When things change

Okay, this blog has gone unattended for far too long. I don’t even know when the last time I wrote on here was. I do know that I need to start doing it again more often though. I need that mental unblocking from time to time and it’s a really good way of me keeping some sort of sanity.

There are a few things that have changed since the last time posted on here. One of which is that I began working at Elegant Themes. I took a shot a being one of the Junior Developers because I wanted to challenge myself and learn more about the web. Okay, not entirely about the web but I do want to improve my skills as a developer.

I have learned a few things here and there and am super grateful to have been given an opportunity to expand my skill set. Along the way I have learned more about ReactJS and am trying to get better at debugging JavaScript related errors as well. It’s not been the easiest thing for me since I am a visual learner. I need to see things in order to understand them rather than reading the code at times. One thing I have learned is that I’m not a fan of cross-browser related issues. Then again most people I’ve talked to aren’t fans either,

As for the personal side of things, I’ve taken to trying to read more when I’m not working. I’ve been learning how to quilt here and there but feel odd about it since I want to be reading instead of measuring and cutting the fabric. Don’t get me wrong I like to do it since it does help me relax and helps me focus better. It think that’s part of the reason I’ve seen myself reading more as well – or at least I like to think that.

Now, that’s only, maybe half the time since I last posted. The other part has been me struggling to get back to drawing random things. The downside being that I had to reset my main computer so I lost a few things like my Illustrator files for the alphabet I converted to vector. Not a huge let down since I learned more how to work with the program.

The reason I want to get back to it is because I want to make stickers and maybe some sticker sheets. I do like the idea of having one or two on a shirt as well but that’s more down the road when I feel better about my drawing skills. I need to find a weekend and just draw for one full day. I think part of that is also because when my alarm goes off, I simply turn it off and lay back down. That needs to change.

I used to be such a morning person too.

The good thing is that as of lately I have been feeling a bit more confident about my skills as a WordPress developer and developer all around. One thing I had considered was getting Zend certified but I think I’ll just stick to reading about the things that interest me more about those languages. Yes, I still love learning about those things and that will never change either.

One last thing I wanted to share was that I bought a laptop. Yes, some people may already know this but for some it may be news to. I’ve been using it mainly for work and it’s been good for me. I’ve been good about that as well since I haven’t – and won’t – be installing any superfluous applications to it, just the things I need for work like a web browser, maybe a text editor, and some sort of screen capture. Oh, it’s Ubuntu that I’m running as well. Been wanting to do this for years and I feel like this was just right.

I know, I know.

There really are a lot more things that I want to share but I’ll save that for another post and another time. For now, I’ll get back to what I was doing and peruse Amazon for random things I most likely don’t need.

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A little late

Yes, it has been quite some time since I last posted on here. I had to look it up and it was back in June when I last wrote something out. I’ve been trying to focus a little more on work and family. Balance is not always an easy thing.

The following images are mostly a recap of things that have happened. We went to Lake Tahoe for a weekend with my sister, I attended our local WordPress Meetup, Sal started school, we spent time with a friend at a local event – it was Waste-A-Palooza and it was really neat – we visited a friend, played games together, and tried to play catch.

A digital hand

Growing up I got talked to by my dad for the weirdest things.  One of which I now laugh at when I see my kiddo doing. Drawing on myself. In high school, I would get bored and draw on myself with a pen. A lot of the times it was random flames because come on it’s flames. They were so cool!

I doodled a lot growing up and I still do. Lately, it has been more and more though that I doodle. When I was taking online courses one of the classes I took was Illustration. I loved it.

I took an intro to digital art class at the local college and we got to use Photoshop, Illustrator, and Corel Painter. This was several, several years ago. I quite honestly don’t even recall what year but I do know that it was a fun class. That was one class that helped me understand how Adobe Illustrator worked and got me thinking more about Photoshop in different ways. I had prior experience using Photoshop since I liked working with random effects for forum signatures.

Yes, I like being on forums.

Anyway, back to what I wanted to get at. Illustrator.

If you haven’t been following me or know much about me you will see that I love to learn new things. I also love to share that knowledge when I can. A few weeks ago I set out to not only re-learn how to use Adobe Illustrator but to get better at it as well. It was a small challenge I made to myself. I completed it and did learn a lot from it as well.

One of the things I really learned was how to use the pen tool a lot better. You see, this was one of the harder things to really understand how it now only worked but what didn’t work as well. There were a few times when it felt like I should just give it up and not do it.

I made a video of me converting a drawing I had and sped it up. Overall I think the conversion took about 40 minutes. I didn’t do any audio because I’m sure you wouldn’t want to hear me randomly cursing when things didn’t go quite as expected. Hope you like.

As for my process, I simply:

  1. Sketch it out on paper
  2. Darken the lines
  3. Take a photo or scan it
  4. Convert using Illustrator.
My tools
The things I use when drawing and doing digital art.

Setting up shop

Today I got the courage to finally get the ball rolling on my shirt ideas. I’ve had these ideas for quite some time and I figure today was just the day to start.

Where

I’ve set up a Threadless shop for this. This was something I wanted to do for several years but never really got around to it. Part of that reason was I didn’t think I had the time. I also took the plunge and will be selling stickers on my personal site. I’m really looking forward to this because it lets me be more artistically creative.

That alphabet thing

The last time I posted I made a challenge. To draw out all the letters of the alphabet and convert them all to vector graphics. It was fun, it was a little hard, and it was rather educational.

The challenge was to actually create one letter per day and only use the pen tool to convert to a vector graphic. I tried hard on some but when it came time to creating circles, I had to use the ellipse tool

The other part of the challenge was to actually convert all of those in less than five days. I chose five because I am still trying to get a grasp on many of the tools and how they work.

Today I managed to finish them all.

There ya have it! It was fun for me to create all of the little creatures, characters, what-you-ma-call-its.