Portraits in 2019
January 13, 2020, 9:23 am

So in 2015 I painted a live digital portrait every weekend. It was a lot, but an amazing experience. I was using a Samsung Series 7 Slate back then. It was a tablet PC with a wacom drawing stylus and it was amazing. It purported to have a 7 hour battery life, but when I was drawing, I was lucky to get an hour and a half out of it. We weren't on Windows 10 yet. There were no touch controls. I wasn't even able to pinch zoom. We all used this software hack that added a touch section of buttons to the side of our screens.

Times have changed. We're inundated with choices as artists. In a lot of ways, it's never been better. Like Windows? Get a Surface. Like iOS? Get an iPad. Like Android? Get a Samsung Tab. Like your computer? Get a Wacom or a Huion. Like a phone? Get a Samsung Note.

I've managed to collect a number of devices over those years, for art and testing purposes. Devices have amazing battery life these days, and I can sit down to paint with a charged device, and fully expect to roll through a 4 hour session with no problem. Touch applications have come such a long way, from old standards like Photoshop and Clip Studio, to new contenders like Infinite Studio and Procreate.

The point is there's something for everyone.

I want to do some portraits this year again. I did my first already. I want to do more. I am putting this out there to the world, if you are interested in getting a portrait painted by me in 2020, send an email to me. Use the subject "Portrait Project 2020", and tell me a couple of dates you think you'd be available.

When I did this last time there were lots of questions. Probably not enough questions on my part, actually. But basically this would be a live digital portrait. You may be doing whatever you like. They tend to take about two to three hours, so best to pick an activity that you can sit still for, and a place with controlled lighting. This is basically just for practice for me. It's fun. I like to go to new places in the city, and meet new people. And although it never happened last time, maybe there can be a book or a show out of this in the end.

Into the Hammie-verse
September 16, 2019, 11:19 pm

Have you seen Into the Spider-verse? That's a good goddamn movie. It's got an amazing soundtrack. It's got style up the ass. And it's got a number of really awesome messages.

"How will I know I'm ready?"

"You won't. It's a leap of faith."

That's a pretty excellent sentiment. It's been hitting me pretty hard lately. "But when will I know I can start?" You will not ever be ready to start. You must simply start. You must create. You're going to think that there's a best time to start. That time was yesterday. The next best time is today.

Stop putting off the things you could be doing. Stop telling yourself you'll do it tomorrow. Make it now. Put your all into it.

I've been putting a lot of effort into my AppTools javascript library. It's getting bigger and better all the time. I need to put some effort into documentation again soon. I'm nearing completion on a pretty big part of the puzzle. If you're interested in what I'm working on lately, that's it.

If you're not interested in what I've been coding, then maybe you'd like to know that I made a shirt I like a lot I've been calling Sisterhood. It's available on Etsy and at Redbubble. It also looks real cool as a tote.


The Toolbox Fallacy
September 15, 2019, 12:08 am

I watched a video today on youtube about a concept called The Toolbox Fallacy. As soon as I heard the title, I knew what the concept would be. As soon as I saw the video's first example, I knew it was perfect. It's such an easy trap to fall into.

I can't make anything yet, because I don't have this thing. I'll make more content, once I get this upgrade.

It's so easy to waste so much time with this mentality. It's so easy to always pass blame onto anything but yourself. The fact is, when you were a kid and drawing, you didn't have anything. When you were young and pirating photoshop and had a 4x5 wacom, it was pathetic. But you did it. You did it because you had two things. Passion! ... and time.

It's the one part of the Toolbox Fallacy that doesn't quite hold one to one. Because you see, there may truly be no time for you now. Or is there? Should you have gone to town and hung out with friends? Should you have went on that date? Should you see that concert? Or should you be creating?

When you're young you have whole swathes of time with no commitments except your own urges to create. But later in life commitments and jobs and relationships can cut a hard line through your priorities. You can create art with anything. You CAN create. But you will have to take time away from something else now.

Because you almost certainly DO have commitments. But maybe that's the dream that only comes at the end of success. To take some of those commitments out of the equation, so that the thing you had such a hard time convincing yourself to start is now the only thing you do at all. Or maybe just the thing you do the most.

Tags: personal

Who was in that film with that other guy?
September 10, 2019, 8:42 am

A while ago I made a thing, but I never really released it, because it was never really done. It still isn't, really.

Sometimes when I'm in a bar, I want to know the name of an actor. I don't remember their name though. I don't remember the name of the movie they were in. But I do remember they were in another movie with another actor, and I remember that actor's name. Playing this game of musical chairs with names is something that can sometimes be frustrating when you don't remember anyone's names, but you remember their faces.

I also sometimes wish I knew all the movies that two actors have been in together. Or all the movies an actor and director have worked on with each other. Or perhaps all the actors that appear together in two movies.

I've always wanted an app that could cross reference these things, and honestly, I always wanted to make it myself. So I started work on it recently, using VueJS and The Movie DB. It was a lot of fun, but I wasn't really liking basic VueJS. So I'm working on remaking it in my own framework. But more on that later.

For now, you can find this tool at FilmsWith.com. Check it out, see if you can figure out how to use it... I often find that it's just nice to browse a site of faces.

Existential Dread
September 10, 2019, 12:24 am

I woke up tonight after having a dream filled with existential dread.

I'm not fulfilling my potential. And life is starting to go faster. When you're twenty, life seems like it will just keep going forever. But as I near forty, I feel a wave of inevitability crashing toward me. The last 5 years have seemed so long, but they've gone by so fast. Maybe looking back on any chunk of time makes it seem small.

I need to redesign this website. I need to draw more. I've actually been doing that. I need to build myself some image uploading tools for this site. I need to use them to archive all the art that I've done within the last few years. I need to write a will. I need to write a map that leads to all the content I have hidden all over the internet.

I need to release something. I told some students the other day that it's not important whether or not something is done, only whether or not you released it. I have so much stuff that's released, and very little that's done. Teaching is a constant improvisation experiment, and sometimes you say something that's so totally right. And sometimes you say something that sounds right, until you hold it up against yourself and it shines a dirty light back on you.

I don't feel successful. I don't often feel fulfilled. I'm having a night of existential dread, and I haven't written in a while.

I like writing. I like the process of words. I like the process of distilling a free form thought into a transposed concept. But all I seem to be able to write is prose and poetry. I wish I had the discipline, drive, or ideas for writing something more story oriented. I've been drawing a comic for the last 2 years, and it has taken forever. It's so close to finished, and there's nothing scarier than finishing something. Except maybe starting something. And I didn't write it. I've never written anything except this blog, and some poetry a hundred years ago.

I'm having a night of existential dread. I pondered the notion of taking your life and waking up dead. What if you stayed in your body as they carted it away. What if your consciousness was bound to the flesh, and you screamed to the darkness as they threw dirt on your face. What if you stayed in the earth while the beasts and bugs slowly ripped apart your body until, like Theseus' ship, you weren't quite the whole anymore, but carted off to new existences. What if each of those pieces formed their own consciousness, separated off from the group. What if that's all we are is the existential dread of a being pulled apart time and time again, only to be placed back in the dirt to wait for the process to repeat.

So I've gone a little overboard...
April 23, 2019, 12:58 am

I have a new thing I've been working on recently. I may as well post about it here.

I've been teaching now for about 10 years. I've never been better at programming and design than right now. I have not been sitting back idle, I have been attempting to push myself forward. The questions my students bring, and the projects they conceive have been amazing for my own personal growth as a professional.

Recently I began trying to write down some of the things I wish I had more time to talk about or teach during class. Either things that I came up with on my own for my own work, or things that are just beyond the scope of a design oriented school. Tutsos.com is a tutorial website, that I am becoming quite proud of. It is an organic recording of my own tools and how to make them from scratch.

One of the things I made offhandedly one night was a set of icons for a mobile design tutorial. And it ballooned out of control. I now have over 200 icons in a set that I designed. As a guy that never considered himself a designer, this is a big feat for me. If you'd like to check them out, they are searchable at icon.tutsos.com. But I'll just embed that here.

Sometimes you gotta make a thing
March 25, 2019, 3:38 pm

Sometimes, you just have to sit down and look at every app you can find, and if you ever see an icon twice, you gotta make a version of it.

I learned a lot about current trends in icon design by doing this set. It was also a lot of fun to subvert some of those trends.

prev next hamburger list shishkabob-vertical shishkabob-horizontal grid-3 grid-2-full grid-2-open home
group profile camera heart search star bell pencil microphone reload
checkmark plus close minus arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up arrow-down gear target
chat-empty chat-full messages-empty messages-full send-message circle-i smiley circle-no thumbs-up thumbs-down
feed suitcase folder mail image lock-closed lock-open camera-video cart-empty cart-full
bluetooth bluetooth-full bars-reception-1 bars-reception-2 bars-reception-3 bars-reception-4 wifi-1 wifi-2 wifi-3 cast
world map-marker map-folded location-direction location-star location-driving timeline share note-location note-empty
layers layers-alt banner-bookmark banner-bookmark-plus cloud cloud-download cloud-upload battery-empty battery-half battery-full
circle-plus circle-minus circle-close circle-checkmark square-rounded-plus square-rounded-minus square-rounded-close square-rounded-checkmark square-plus square-minus
square-close square-checkmark book-open ticket paperclip trashcan phone pin paper flag

Indeed. I may have spent too much time on this. Even when in fact I didn't spend much time at all. Some of these might get a slight update, but this was a lot of fun. I think every one of my students should have to do this as an exercise.

This is for a thing. You may already know. I'll be announcing it soon.

Tags: icons

Javascript continues, so I make silly things
February 16, 2019, 2:56 pm

I am continuing my own javascript education. I have begun documenting some instructions, which I will divulge soon, hopefully, but I've also begun redesigning some old examples that I made for students, in order to make them more accessible. One such example is from my app development class where students often want to add more interesting interactions to their projects. It's difficult to suggest things to them, especially since simply pointing them at HammerJs rarely results in them spending effort to fully understand that library, and instead just confuses them by making them search all over the internet for a simple solution to that toolset.

So here's one fairly simplistic example. Not only for my students, but of my current goals. This is an IOS style list item swiper. You've definitely seen these before.

See the Pen Vanilla Javascript IOS style list item slide reveal by Hamilton (@bronkula) on CodePen.

The content inside of the elements, and the look of them, is mostly up to the developer. This particular class, which can be found on github, has a number of options, including an onupdate method which will be sent the swiper object to give the developer freedom do do lots of things.

Many interesting layouts can be created and used, and I'm still currently working on some other options. If you'd like to mess with these examples, you can find them on my Codepen.

The Unit Circle
December 15, 2018, 5:14 pm

I got a little bit obsessed with trigonometry this last year, and over the last week, I really tried to understand as much of it as I can, and how it is used in Javascript. I made a thing. There was a Reddit post about a unit circle gif, and I said to myself. I can make that, but better and interactive. And so I tried to. Here is an embedded version of my Unit Circle.

This thing is a kind of big deal to me, because it represents a lot of big things. One thing is my general shift over the last year toward actually documenting the things I make. I've been working hard on a lot of projects, including my drawtools and apptools libraries. I've been learning a lot about the latest ECMAScript in order to push my own knowledge and really be able to make these tools be great and useful.

And I'm kind of really proud of myself. People look at my art and they either like it or they don't. But people see the things I code and it feels like they think "I wish I understood this" Because I must be so excited about it. And they aren't. My code is like a high schooler's poetry. No one cares. I'm writing a pity party right now. That's what this is. I'm having a party just for me, and the topic is poor me. But it's what I feel sometimes.

I just have to say for myself that I'm proud of me. And if you're proud of me, I hope that you'll share some of the dumb things that I make sometimes.

You don't always need to be understood
October 15, 2018, 9:02 am

Yesterday I saw a car start to make a left in an intersection. After getting about 3/4 of the way through, he stopped just before entering the new lane he should be going into. It's hard to describe in words, because no one would ever do this. He was still in the middle of the intersection when he stopped. The car behind him had to stop as well, but dead in the middle of the intersection.

The second car honked. And rightfully so. A sort of nudging honk that doesn't exactly come across friendly until you step out of yourself and realize that all honks sound the same at their core, and situationally, this was just a short "hey there friend. I noticed you aren't moving, and thought you could use some encouragement" kind of honk.

The first car sort of did a hesitated bounce, then pulled forward. But only about 3 feet and then stopped again.

At this point there are three cars in the intersection, and the two cars behind are railing on their horns. What else could they do? The first car nudges forward a few more feet and then stops again once he is fully into the new lane, but the other two cars are still well out into the intersection, blocking traffic. Horns are honking. Windows are down and people are yelling.

And the guy in car number one steps out of his vehicle. In the middle of the lane, while blocking traffic. He steps out and begins yelling, and although I can't hear it, it's pretty clear the basic concept of what has happened.

He has had a complete breakdown of all of his faculties. He has gone through a barrage of emotions in a short amount of time. He was probably confused at a certain point. Then frustrated. Then suddenly scared. Then angry. Then humiliated. Then entrenched. Then confused again. Then pissed. And all of this probably happened within a 10 second window.

And then he did the only thing some can think of to do in a situation like this. He hunkered down, he backed himself into a corner, and he tried to get the world to recognize his feelings of hurt and fright and anger. Like a new dog barking at people at a party for the first time, he lashed out at anything and everything around him.

A bus pulled up to the blocked intersection and did something you rarely get to see. He got on his megaphone and started blasting at this guy loud and vocal. MOVE YOUR VEHICLE. CONTINUE TO THE SIDE. And the guy, suddenly presented with a solution instead of just loud noises... or perhaps presented with a bigger barking dog... got back in his vehicle and moved forward and to the side.

And I went about my day.

I think there could perhaps be a number of life lessons hidden within this story. And I am a big fan of finding life lessons in the situations one finds oneself. I think one life lesson is that you shouldn't just honk at a problem. Sometimes you need to yell solutions at it, until one sticks.

But I think the lesson most worth learning is actually one that people who need it might find difficult to learn. You don't need to stop the world for recognition every time you're upset. Most others will probably only become upset with you, and their resentment will not improve your condition. And even when someone presents a solution to you, you will have to be willing to become untrenched and accept an outward resolution. If all you want to do is stop the world and make everyone see that you're upset, you are not striving for a solution. If all you're doing is trying to find out whose fault it is, and not move forward, then resolution is so much more difficult.

There is a time and place for anger, for hurt, and for venting. But a person needs to learn to pull over to the side of the road, rather than forcing others to acknowledge the person's own struggles, just for the sake of acknowledgement.