The Portrait Project
January 4, 2015, 6:20 pm

Welcome to 2015.

This year I have given myself an artistic goal that is well within reach. I will post one sketch every day on Instagram, and I will be doing a painted portrait every weekend. The first painting has been completed of my friend Nikola Pope.

I'm still not certain if there will be a theme through the portrait project, but one thing is certain, I need more subjects. This is your chance to do me a solid, and yourself a favor. Who hasn't wanted a painting of themselves? Everyone wants that. I'm giving you your chance. A live portrait, on a weekend of your choice, as long as you're somewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The details are these. You will pick a weekend that you can devote 2 to 3 hours of your time to the portrait (yes, you will sit for it.) Pick a place where you can be comfortable doing something for that amount of time. Playing video games, drawing, writing, working on a laptop, etc... Then I draw you. Then we have lunch or dinner or coffee, we catch up on life, and then we part ways never to speak again. I can't pay model rates, but I can give you a high resolution image resembling your face.

If you are interested in participating in this project, please email me at hamdiggy@gmail.com

Autodesk Sketchbook Pro
December 29, 2014, 10:18 pm

I've been drawing a lot on my Instagram, and I am starting to post more on my Patreon as well.

A lot of people have been asking what tools I use to draw. I draw mostly these days on my Samsung Note 3. I use a program called Autodesk Sketchbook Pro for Android. If you visit that link, and it says it's missing, you're screwed. The thing of it is, the version of Sketchbook I use is no longer available for purchase, and more's the pity, because I don't like the new version.

The old version (which can be found around the internet, by searching for sketchbook pro apk) had the ability to lock the tool and swatch palettes to the side of the phone. For the life of me, I can not find this functionality in the new version. This is a hard line selling point, and the whole reason I use that software versus other similar competing products like Photoshop Touch (which has fucking awful pressure sensitivity) and Corel Painter (which actually has some awesome pens, but not separate erasers).

So when I tell people I use Autodesk Sketchbook, technically I'm telling them I use a product which doesn't even exist anymore, which is a real shame, because I use it daily now.

2015 is shaping up to be a great year. My plan is to make a portrait sketch every weekday, and a painted portrait every weekend. It's an ambitious goal, and one that will rely on the timing of others, so here's hoping.

Three day post mortem of Instagram push
December 27, 2014, 12:17 pm

Now is your chance to walk away from statistics and analysis.

After 3 days of intense drawing and instagramming, I have gained 100 followers. Hard fought followers. Active Instagrammers for the most part, not bots. This is important, because before I had a few followers but mostly my friends, and most of my friends are not active on instagram. This is a major shift away.

The feedback loop is going to start soon, I can feel it. My likes and comments are both up 900%. That is a tremendous leap forward in interactions. To be fair, my most engaged follower is my mother who went back and tried her hardest to like all my old content, but fell off after about 100 :D

After this initial push, I am going to try to pull back and post fewer, but make more of the quick sketch portraits. The real problem is that, like any art that you love, they are starting to become less quick, because I'm beginning to care about them a bit more.

Regardless, I already have about 10 drawings stored up and ready to go, while I have nearly 100 pictures stored for drawing later. Getting a Note 3 that is on my carrier has changed my whole game. I can take screenshots and save them for later, draw up and store drawings on dropbox, and post up any drawing anytime, all on one device now.

I'm also having a blast doing all these portraits. I can't wait for the full portrait project to start. Posting these on the off days and the full portraits on the weekends will be great.

I just did a sprint of sketches on Instagram
December 24, 2014, 10:14 pm

So if you're not following me on Instagram, you like... totally should.

I actually really like drawing on my Samsung Note 3, and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro lets me spit my drawings into both Dropbox and Instagram really fast. I'm not sure if I can or even should keep up the pace on these, but they're actually really super fun to do.

I've created a sketch folder for this series, and I'll add to it as is appropriate later.

These are the larger, unfiltered versions of the Instagram pics, so clearly, coming to my website has led you to superior product. Thus your series of good decisions has finally paid off.

I've been doing some crochet
December 16, 2014, 2:04 pm

Apparently, it's weird when a man does anything crafty. I don't cotton to that line of thought. I really like crochet over knitting, because it is fairly mindless. I can single stitch crochet all night long, and pretty much not have to think for hours. It's great to throw on a comfort show, and just lose yourself.

I was never very good at knitting, however. I find myself poor at judging and maintaining tension, and I honestly find purling to be annoying. I am currently at the crafting stage where I have a number of needles and hooks, but I am not willing to dive into a project yet if it's possibly going to take more than a week of a few hours a night to complete.

But I love making scarfs. I love wearing scarfs, so being able to make them is pretty cool. I enjoy trying out different stitch patterns and sizes and colors of yarn. Honestly, I think anyone can learn to crochet, and I believe everyone should.

Santa Con 2014
December 9, 2014, 3:04 pm

This weekend will be Santa Con in San Francisco. Thousands of folks dressed up in holiday attire will descend upon downtown and join in a bit of festive merry making. Men will be dressed as Santas, and ladies will be dressed as sexy Santas, and probably some guy will be naked Santa, and also there will probably be a racist Santa, and I'm sure some lady will be a sexy elf, and a sexy reindeer, and a sexy present, and a sexy christmas tree. It's basically just like Halloween, except christmas themed and aimed at adults. The point is, there will be an equal opportunity for all kinds of Santas to show up and have fun.

And then they will disperse. They will head north like a flock of birds, but instead of searching out warmer climates, they will seek drunker locales. For many the drinking never stopped.

I have participated in three Santa Cons now, and it is a blast every time. But I don't think I've ever made it past the Condor. Apparently there are rousing good parties all up and down North Beach, but I've never seen them. Maybe this time, I will finally see what lies beyond the open windows of the little bar by day, strip club by night, but for me, it's the place in the middle to hole up and have fun.

An hour of code
December 9, 2014, 12:38 am

This week is Hour of Code week. It's a national event to try to get kids interested in programming. I'm a big proponent of everyone knowing at least a little about how to program. I think it all seems so scary, because most people don't have a simple enough place to start.

I am doing a presentation at the Apple Store in downtown San Francisco this Thursday, December 11th. It is going to show you how you can make a simple image gallery with a little bit of html, css, and javascript. This is for absolute beginners to get an idea of what is possible with a relatively small amount of code. If you want to get a head start, the code I'll be making can be found here. I'll be talking about the programs I use, and how getting started is the biggest hurdle.

I personally think everyone should have their own website. Not everyone has to put in my level of effort, but to be fair, I've put in nearly 20 years of effort, and now you can just reap the benefits of my experience. But I definitely think everyone should have more than an auto generated webpage that's just created by wordpress or wix. Make a little code and create something.

If you're interested in web tutoring, in San Francisco, I would love to help you get up and running, so hit me with an email.

Here is a list of important links for this presentation.

I taught javascript all day
December 6, 2014, 1:25 am

I tutored a student today for 5 hours about javascript. It was intense. When you're a teacher of code, you run a thin line between getting good code into your students' hands, and actually having them understand what the heck you just gave to them. When it comes to Javascript there is a LOT of stuff you can do to be cute and ridiculous, and it just makes NO sense when you try to explain it.

Let me give you an example.

;(function(w){})(window);

The weirdest part about this isn't even the closure. The closure is fascinating, but the more stupid part is that first semicolon. How do you explain that to someone? Well, you see, child, some people's code is absolute shit, and someone might take your code and try to compile it with other code, and if the other code is bad, it will break your code, so you should just put in a little insurance to break their code before their code breaks your code.

It's so dumb. I love it. I love the dumbness of Javascript so much.

To the girl with the drawable hair
December 4, 2014, 8:37 pm

Hi. I totally ran up on you in the BART, and gave you my card. Did you like the drawing? I made some comment about you getting drawn again. It was a genuine offer. If you ever want to get drawn again, please email me. I only had about 10 minutes this time, it wasn't enough.

I draw people on the BART in San Francisco all the time. Although, this is actually the first time I've asked anyone if they wanted to be drawn for reals.

The deeper I get, the dumber I feel
December 4, 2014, 1:35 pm

It's pretty hard to stop learning if you're at all interested in a subject. But goddamn, if programming isn't an endless hole of more and more stuff to learn.

Here's something I've realized about new programmers. They all want to try to trick themselves by shortening variable names. Don't this, kids. Make your variables as descriptive as possible. You get dumber and dumber as you learn more and more, and it becomes impossible to remember or even care what all your shortened variable names meant. Just say what you mean, and don't try to be cute.