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PDF Lessons Ive learnt about...Learning to Draw

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You can grab things that already exist, rip them apart, and see how they work. So I went to Codepen. I found a couple of text boxes that worked more or less the way I wanted and added in some secret-code decryption scripts. Presto: I had my project done. Later on, when I was looking to learn how to set up Node, a type of JavaScript used to run web servers, I started using Glitch.

I wanted to make a Twitterbot that auto-generates haikus , so I grabbed an existing Twitterbot on Glitch and started poking around in the code. By now, I understood enough JavaScript to be able to figure out what part of the Twitterbot I needed to rewrite, injecting my own function that takes 1, lines of haiku, randomly picks three, and squirts that out to Twitter as an insta-poem. It was a terrific way to get started. You see something great, and you reuse it.

Also, starting with an existing app and making it do something new, something you uniquely want, can help prime your pump and make it less intimidating to begin a piece of code that stretches your boundaries. As I learned more coding, I realized I could make a lot of little pieces of software that were useful for me. But they all had one problem: They generally forced me to pick a quantum of time that was 15 or 25 minutes. And, well, my procrastination problems were worse than that.

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I wanted a Pomodoro timer that would let me work for… five minutes. Or three. Or one minute. When I was truly avoiding work, hell, working for one damn minute would be a victory, people! But none of the Pomodoro software was designed for someone as horrifically work-avoidant as me. Six seconds! And to make it funny and witty to use, I wrote a ton of cheery, you-go messages for when I finish each work session and coded it so the robotic voice of my computer speaks it aloud.

And why I made it for myself. And wow, was it useful! I started using it on a daily basis; I still use it a few times a week, when I feel myself starting to slack off. The more I coded, the more I found things I could build to make my work easier. I made web scrapers that would auto-grab material I needed off websites for journalistic research.

I made Twitter scripts that would archive any links I posted to Twitter every day and email me a summary. When I got worried that I was too frequently using italics while writing my book it is a bad habit, stylistically I wrote a Python script to analyze the text, pull out every italicized word, and deliver me a long and humiliating list. The point is, one of the best ways to motivate yourself to learn coding is to build little apps that actually do something you need done.

It pushes you to go further, to work past the frustration and the blockages. I also discovered I loved using P5. Shiffman tells me that one great way in to coding is to take something artistic you like—music, drawing, games, wordplay and text—and learn programming that works within your field. If you make music, try learning Sonic Pi , which lets you program tunes. If you dig art, learn P5.

If you like games, make one with Phaser , also based on JavaScript.

Ten Lessons I Learned While Teaching Myself to Code

Approaching coding as a fun, creative hobby demystifies it. He laughed. But what many programmers do much of the day is sit around Googling things, reading up, trying to figure out how to do something—how to solve a problem, how to kill a bug that has stopped them in their tracks.

They might have done it hundreds of times before, but there are so many little fiddly aspects of the languages they use that it feels weirdly inefficient to use their brains for rote memorization because they can just Google whatever rote knowledge they need to quickly recall. I was so deeply relieved when she said that!

The first 20 hours -- how to learn anything - Josh Kaufman - TEDxCSU

So when you learn to code, your core skill is going to be constantly learning and constantly relearning. Over the years, new languages and frameworks always emerge, and old ones evolve. So nearly everyone I know who taught themselves to code built some sort of social network around coding.

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Go to tech talks and hackathons, and hang out at startups and hackerspaces. I too often spent time grinding away at a problem, myself, instead of asking for help. Many of the world's most famous entrepreneurs, athletes, investors, poker players, and artists are part of the book. The tips and strategies in Tribe of Mentors have already changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Who was interviewed? Check it all out by clicking here.

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Drawing for a year – Be Yourself

Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration. This was an awesome read, thank you for all the insights!


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For a moment I forgot coding can be fun, especially when all my time coding is either for school assignments or work. Like Liked by 1 person. Like Like. Great read! But after reading this feels like that feeling is kind of normal and that only by doing it everyday will it fade thanks again! I love that you bring the child-like curiosity back into programming. I am a much newer programmer and have been finding myself grinding to get a project done and feeling kind of burnt out.

Getting back to the creative aspects of the job was a much needed reminder. Also, the resources are all very cool. I know many, if not most programmers are like this — copy-paste-Google etc. But, also the top programmers, they just go in one go. They are speaking the language with their fingers on the keyboard, they know every dot comma etc. Maybe at first to get going but just focus on a problem. A silly problem.

Focus on a problem with your Google-Fu and be patient. Get some tea. Clive share your pomodoro. Sounds cool. I hate that they are all 25 minutes! Java, phython? Thanks for the incredible suggestions. My favorite: learning to code to automate repetitive tasks.

1. Gather your equipment

We all know that you cannot always be the best at everything. When it came to drawing, I had always been the best in my high school anyway. But I quickly learned that art school was going to be a different story. If I wanted to be among the best, I was going to have to work for it. I learned this during my first critique. I spent about 3 hours on that first assignment.


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  • I have been teaching myself to draw for one year..

Up to this point, 3 hours on one drawing was quite a long time for me. For someone as competitive as myself, this was devastating. Before the critique even began, I knew that I could do better.

Knowledge Vs. Ability

Competition drives excellence. There was clearly competition for me among my classmates. Now that I have years of experience under my belt, I know that in order for me to have reached my potential for that drawing, in that particular style, I would have needed to spend many more hours on it. Additional time should have been spent on better research, thorough execution of the medium, and developing a clearer manner in which to communicate the idea.

But I have only learned these things because of the competitive spirit that drives me to be better. I have never met someone that likes to be told what they have done wrong, or where they could improve. After all, this is what critique is all about — being told what you have done wrong, or where you could improve — right? During my first year of art school, I would dread critiques. I had to look at my art as a product, rather than an extension of myself. This is hard to do as an artist. When I shifted my mindset, I quickly began to benefit from critiques. I understood that not everything that I create will be success, but in every work I can grow.

Wash your hands before you eat. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Live a balanced life - learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work everyday some. Take a nap every afternoon. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that. Goldfish and hamster and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die.

So do we. Wanting to hide. Needing to be sought. Confused about being found. I want to laugh a lot and cry a lot. I know what I really want for Christmas: I want my childhood back. People who think good thoughts give good gifts. Nothing counts without it. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess. And it is still true, no matter how old you are-when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

The kids smile, get a glazed look on their faces, pour the crayons out, and just look at them for a while The adults always get the most wonderful kind of sheepish smile on their faces--a mixture of delight and nostalgia and silliness. And they immediately start telling you about all their experiences with Crayolas.

A giraffe has nothing to say. He just goes on giraffing. What I needed to know was out there in the world. People who teach us, bless us, encourage us, support us, uplift us in the dailiness of life. We never tell them. And, of course, we fill that role ourselves. There are those who depend in us, watch us, learn from us, take from us.