Follow Along Web Development

I finally am on my butt in a chair and working on a web development / design project.

I plan on doing short and quick projects to teach others (and myself) FREE and basic web development.  I have set up a Free test site  Stop by and see what changes are being made.

I will be documenting everything here so you can see what I did to change it.

I do not have a schedule set up yet.  I was thinking of updating it twice a week.  That sounds good enough for busy people to follow along.  It will also allow for those who want to binge learn to get a lot of information at the end of every month.

Follow along with me and maybe you will learn something new!



On the Horse, Again…

UpToHereI finally got fed up with myself and how I have let myself get sidetracked from my goal of being a web developer.  I find kind of stupid admitting this, but I have started refresher courses with CodeAcademy.  I blew through the first HTML/CSS course and even felt interested enough to try the initial JavaScript course.  It was pretty fun.

At the end of this month it will be one year since I graduated.  I have not changed or grown much in this year, in my opinion.  I have blogged about my internship and how happy I was to stop.  It was not really because of the tasks I was doing, it was the environment and people I was working with.  I am still at the same job I was last year.  On a positive note I have a client and the potential to have another (if they would call me back.)  It is not like I am not using my degree, things are just not moving along as quickly as I wanted.

Part of the slowness is where I got my degree.  Another part is me not being comfortable with code.  By code I mean JavaScript, C++, PHP and what not.  HTML and CSS, I get.  I do not see them as code, per say, they are formatting.  I am hoping that if I work on my skills via CodeAcademy, and other such programs, I will develop my skills and become more confident in my skills.

At the beginning of the year I was thinking and talking about my “Year of 300.”  We are close to starting March.  I should probably give a status update.

Physical Fitness: 3/300 hours (day to day activities do not count,  I have been bad at exercising this year.)

Web Development: 1/300 hours (just got motivated to do stuff today.)

Graphic Art / Fine Art: 46/300 (lots of this going on this year)


My Year of 300

I have spent the past few weeks trying to plan out a solid plan to reach my goals for the year.  It has been difficult, work has been busy, I have been avoiding spending extra time on the computer (waaay to much computer time at work,) and life gets in the way.

ImageI think I have a plan now.  I am calling it 300!

The idea is to get 300 hours of work (web dev and coding,) exercise, and art (computer and “fine”) completed by the end of the year.  It may not sound like much, but that is 900 hours total this year, and that is quite a bit.

So far the art has gone smoothly, I have completed 20 hours, half painting and half making icons and logos.  I have not fared so well on the work or exercise front.  I have no real excuses, I am just not motivated right now.  Plus I am kind of avoiding computers unless I HAVE to (I had to do the icons and every hour was a struggle.)

I am now trying to figure out a way to visually track my progress.  I was thinking about a finding a WP progress meter or maybe print out 300 Leonidas heads and color them in for each hour completed (sounds like fun right?!)

Why 300?

Well there is the Spartan Meme aspect to it.  I really did not think about that until after I did some math.  365 days in a year, about 251 workdays (  a good median is 300.  That leaves me with a few rest days and some days where I can do “make-up” hours.

Now I just have to figure out what I want to paint/CG and what I want programing languages I want to study.

Inspiration and Motivation

Artists and all of the subclasses (coders, writers, dancers, singers, musicians, sculptors, painters, wood workers, potters and all of the others I did not think of) are always looking for inspiration.  The Muse can be as fickle as Lady Luck and just as important. Inspiration is what makes the switch in an artists brain turn on and something brilliant comes out.  Without inspiration there is no art, no music, no software or hardware to create graphic arts with.

If there is no problem with inspiration there can be the problem of motivation.  Motivation is the drive to take the actions needed to create something. Even if you have some great and amazing ideas you might not be motivated to do anything with the idea.

Motivation can be a problem for me.  Inspiration is all around.  I see, hear, taste, smell, touch and “feel” inspiration all over the place.  I can come up with some great ideas while out for a walk or even when working on another project.  The problem come to being motivated to work on the project. 

Its not that I don’t want to do it.  I just don’t do anything except think about working on the project.  It really is annoying.  Usually it happens after a long stretch of hyper activity.  Working on school classes, photographing Emerald City Comic Con, and finishing three paintings really took all of my energy. 

I know I am not alone in getting like this.  The problem is getting your motivation back.  You can read all the self help books you want and even watch videos.  In the end you are the only person that can find your motivation again.

I thought I would pass on some things that get me motivated again.  They might help or not.  All one can do is try.

1. Give yourself a break.  Take a few weeks off and do nothing.

2. Start small.  Do take care of something that can be done, but can and should be done.  Hang curtains or blinds, clean the freezer or organize a cupboard.  As corny as it sounds start taking walks or exercising.  It does not have to be related to your particular field, just something that you have been putting off.

3. Pick something project related and break it down into a bunch of smaller parts.  When I paint and have motivational problems I like to break the project down to sketch, fine tune, transfer sketch to canvas, paint background and so on.  I will try to work on the project for 30 – 45 min each day.  You may be working slow but you are working!

4. Keep at it.  Even if you are not completely submerged in the project at least you are working on it. 

Warning –

When lacking inspiration or motivation your final product is usually less than it could be if you were inspired and motivated.  Unfortunately that is the way it is.  In most cases you can go back and improve your work when you are back in top form.

I hope this helps a few people.

Today’s image is from Cyanide and Happiness.  One of my favorite web comics.


The Creative High

Like many other people I have hobbies.  My primary hobby is “fine art.”  I love to paint and draw.  It is one hobby that I try very hard to protect from becoming a “job.”  I protect it because I always want to have an escape that is still productive and creative.  I paint things for people I know or topics I think are interesting.  I do not sell the pieces, I give them away.  When it stops being fun I take a break from it and try another hobby.

People ask why I like painting.  I usually tell them about the “Creative High.”  The “Creative High” happens to pretty much everyone. In artists and other creative people it is caused by a project turning out as envisioned or much better.  It is that lovely sense of accomplishment that keeps me painting.  It is also what keeps me working on web design projects.

Like fine artists, programmers, developers and designers are artists.  They just use code instead of paints and stone.  Getting a function to work properly is the same as getting the detail in a part of a painting or sculpture just right.  It makes you feel like a genius!  Like you can do anything and everything if you chose.  It only gets better when all the parts work together and you are finished. In fact the harder you have to work for it the better it is.  Your fingers can be cramping and getting that last detail just right makes it all go away.  Some how when you are done your fingers can dance across the keyboard and tell the world (or just your friends) what you accomplished.

The “Creative High” is one of the best feelings there is. 

I got to experience it in C# yesterday.  I was able to complete a method that was giving me issues.  I had an epiphany while I was out walking.  Some things are so easy when you take a step away.

I leave on this happy inspirational note.  Even if your project is hard.  You can finish it.  Just break down the problem and walk away for a bit.  Take a walk.  It is amazing where your brain goes when it is not forced to think about something.  It sees things in a whole new way.

I leave you with two of my paintings that gave me great “Creative Highs.”  I hope you like them as much as I do.

DeathWing Warhammer Banner

DeathWing Banner ~ a Warhammer 40K army ~ by Carissa Carnahan


Cherry Blossoms ~ a Painting for a friends first female child. ~by Carissa Carnahan