Friday, March 19, 2010

Week 1 - Trip up #1

So I've fallen a bit behind. Kinda discouraging that it's happened so early in my plan, but I dunno. Gotta get back into it. Still have a few drawing exercises and some questions to answer before the weeks up.

To be continued...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Week 1 - Famous Artists Course Chapter 1

So I just completed reading cover to cover the entire first chapter of the Famous Artists Course. I was concerned about the load of work I'd set for myself being too light, but this Artist Course book will keep me very busy. It took me probably 4 ish hours to read the whole thing but there's days worth of work for me to do out of the reading I did. So I just went in with stickies and marked all of the pages I will be revisiting when I decide to sit down and put pencil, pen, and brush to paper. So I'm pretty happy with the workload I will be having afterall. I think this will be a pretty good pace for me.

I'm also happy that a majority of my work will be in drawing itself, since I feel, design-wise, that is my biggest weakness. I'm not a very strong drawer. But I'll get there.

To briefly sum up what I read over the last few hours, it basically teaches you to how to familiarize yourself with four major media that were used in illustration at the time in the 50s and 60s. Those media are: pencil, pen (with inkwells and everything!), watercolor wash, and watercolor opaque. And while some of the things mentioned in the book are a bit outdated, the basics of drawing are and will always be the same. So this course will be very useful to me.

I put the first chapter away for now to take a break from it but the main points I gathered about drawing in general are 1)even the now masters, were beginners who didn't know how to draw at one point, and 2)the only way to learn to draw, is to draw.

And with that I think I'm going to call this done. While the "all-nighter" I was going to pull last night, didn't happen (I got tired and passed out at 6am), I have been up all night tonight and Erik and I will be going to get breakfast here soon. So I'm going to take a mental break from working for now. Later I'll be posting answers to the first part of questions from the self help book, and working on the pencil drawing part of the Artist Class first chapter.

It's been a good couple of days so far. I feel good about where this "class" is going to go for me. Anyways, signing off. Keep it classy, San Diego. ;P

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Week 1 - Embracing Your Potential Chapter 1

So I read the first chapter in Embracing Your Potential, and here are the important points I found:

-He discusses what he calls 'highlights' which are "treasures that nurture us, make us feel good, and free us to dance with life." They are basically the small moments or achievements in every aspect of your life that bring you joy and happiness. And he believes that those are key to being happy. He highlights five areas of ones life that these highlights can be found in:

-Human contact (friendship, love, a kind hug, etc.)
-Nature (An ocean, a pretty tree or animal, moonlight, etc.)
-Play, physical activity, and sport
-Personal growth or accomplishment (creating something, learning something new, being in control of your destiny, etc.)
-Sensual experiences (taste, smell, feel, etc.)

He feels that keeping note of your highlights as you experience them is a key way to a positive outlook in life. Sort of an extended "the glass is half full" idea.

In addition to just acknowledging your highlights in daily life, he expresses the importance of having balance with which areas your highlights lie in:

"There is a danger in living all your highlights in one domain....a potential problem is if the sport, person, or performance domain declines or is pulled away from may experience a gaping void."

And this is something I'm having an issue with I believe. I have recently been losing my desire to play a game that I'm highly addicted to. To be brief, I've been playing the game 10 hours or more every day for months and on and off for a few years now. I've played maybe a handful of hours in the last week at this point, and I'm not having much of an urge to go back. But along side that, I've felt a creeping and worsening depression the less I play it. Like the void he's talking about. I even had a brush with picking smoking back up last night but threw the pack out before I could make it to three days in a row. I feel myself lacking the one thing that has taken my time and provided me with a sense of purpose for 3 years now. And it's painful.

So this leads me to believe I have a very bad balance of where my highlights are. I need to work on this.

A few other points I found worth the ink from my bright yellow pen:

"Be all here when you are here."
"When you move from one domain or experience to the next, shift focus so yo can be wherever you are, totally."
"Carry a positive perspective into every pursuit."
"Whenever demands become excessive or visions blur to negative, take more care of your own needs and re embrace the simple joys within your life."
"The biggest difference between joy and misery in relationships, work, and performance lies in the extent to which we open ourselves to find and appreciate the positive things within ourselves, others, and our daily experiences."

At the end of the chapter he also has a list of questions to ask your self. The questions fall into four categories:

-Questions of balance
-Highlight questions
-Relationship questions
-Workplace and performance questions.

Over the next four days I will answer all of these questions on here. But for tonight I think I'm done. Back to trying to read chapter 1 of the Famous Artists Course.

Week 1 - Fresh Styles Chapter 1

So this is going a bit faster than I'd expected, but I still have that long chapter of the Artist Class in my back pocket to take up my time.

I finished reading the intro to the book "Fresh Styles for Web Designers" by Curt Cloninger. His basic point with this book is that the internet, in general is really boring as of today and that corporate design has no excuse for making all their designs look the same, no matter the company, no matter the product. Here are a few of the points I found most interesting in the intro:

-"Most people still want the web to be print. But the web is not print. Nor is the web television. The web is it's own communications medium with its own media characteristics."

-Cloninger uses the book to cover 10 "fresh, underground web design styles." He will explain how they work, why they work and some of the technical tricks that make the styles possible.

-He claims that "Corporate web is largely bland, passionless, and unengaging." With excuses of things like "Clients will buy anything we tell them, so why bust our chops developing something innovative and unique? After all, it's just the web." He adds, "As the web matures, these excuses won't cut it anymore.

-"Above all, it takes a focused narrative voice--an angle, a plan, a consistent point of view--to unify a site's disparate elements and give it a cohesive personality.

-"Different jobs require different styles--hence the need for a broader, more diverse web design vocabulary.

-And the moral of the story? "The web is not a database. The web is a communication medium."

And onto chapter one of Embracing Your Potential by Terry Orlick, PhD.

Hopefully I can make it til Erik gets up. I'm fading faster than I'd thought I would. =S

Week 1 - Daily Schedule/Programming Chapter 1

I decided to start off strong and pull an all nighter my first night to really dig into my program and get rolling. Green tea and coffee ftw.

Anyways, so far, I've updated my syllabus a bit more. I'm now only missing a second book for the second half of my program, which I will be picking up later today, but I'm in no rush since I'm set for my first 12 weeks anyways.

I also created a daily schedule which goes as follows:

Marie's Daily Schedule (M-Sa)

10:00 AM Wake/Work Out/
11:00 AM Shower/Eat BF

12:00 PM
1:00 PM Read Art/
2:00 PM Design Books
3:00 PM

4:00 PM Lunch Break

5:00 PM Read Motivation/
6:00 PM Programming/
7:00 PM Web Site
8:00 PM Building Books

9:00 PM Dinner Break
10:00 PM

11:00 PM Design
12:00 AM something

1:00 AM Blog

2:00 AM In Bed

I also Managed to read the intro and first chapter in my Beginning Programming for Dummies book. Here's the main thing's I got from what I read so far:

-A program does nothing more than tell the computer how to accept some type of input, manipulate that input, and spit it back out again in some form that humans find useful.
-The hardest part about programming is identifying all the little problems that make up the big problem that you're trying to solve. Because computers are completely stupid, you need to tell them how to do everything.
-If you want to learn computer programming, you need a healthy dose of the following three qualities: desire, curiosity, imagination.

So I guess I won't be getting into any actual programming until next week. For now, its onto another subject. I'm thinking of tackling the short, easy chapters first, and leaving the 60-something page first chapter of the Artist Class Book for later in the week. I guess I'm not technically sticking to my order I defined in my schedule, but as long as I stay in the same time slots, it makes no difference which I read in which order I suppose.

On to the introduction chapter of Fresh Styles for Web Designers, I think.

Bee Are Bee.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 1 - The Beginning

Super quick educational/professional bio on me:

1984 - 2002: Birth through HS graduation
2003 - 2004: Community college in Eastern Wa. with no particular focus/direction.
2004 - 2005: Iraq as an Army photojournalist.
2005 - 2006: Graphic design at the Art Institute of Seattle, quit after a year due to life issues.
2006-2007: Another year of unfocused education at a community college that ends in no degree.
2007-2009: Completed two years of school and got a degree in Veterinary Technology.
2009-2010: Worked as a Licensed Veterinary Technician, before making a tragic error at work and losing my job.
2010-present: Unemployed, working on brushing up on my art skills, applying to the Art Institute of Hollywood, where I will be attending starting in October, most likely for Web design.

I've been increasingly depressed at the lack of structure in my life, ending with this last week being pure misery. So I've spent all day planning out an entire syllabus for a self-administered intro to web design class. I purchased some books and split the chapters up by week. This will keep me busy and learning from now until we leave in September.

Here is my syllabus, with week by week plans of what I will be reading and working on.

All that is left now is to plan out a specific schedule for each week on a day-by-day basis so I know what I will be doing at what time. My plan is to work Monday through Saturday, and on Sunday nights I will plan the next week's schedule.

I will also be posting a blog every day on here reflecting on the things I've learned during the day, as well as posting whatever sketch/art/design I have made that day.

So, this is my official first post, and I think this is about the end of it.

Let class begin.