Week 15: Being involved

Life's getting cosy

Life's getting cosy

I usually post weekly on a Sunday. Today is Thursday. I'm 60% overdue!

But it's because I've been so entangled in life hey!

Concept art is just movin'

Tutorials are just grovin'

Life is 'a winning.

Here are some works that I've done recently:

A schematic drawing of a story building. The octopus and the snail in the bottom right corner are the characters. The octopus is part of the underwater mafia and is bringing the snail to the top of the building to play mahjong.

Self Critique: Make section lines thicker

A train blimp moves through the desert.

Self Critique: Graphically clean up some elements. Many things left unclear.

Week 14: It's decided. Art.

Shiftily gazing to the future

Shiftily gazing to the future

This is the third week I haven't done any programming.

When I look at my old code I think "ugh. Do I have to look through all of this text?".

When I'm older- do I still want to code review thousands of lines of text? I mean even if it is my own work, the code is done in the spur of the moment. It's a hassle to look through everything. It's complex information.

Complex information that may be phased out within the next 50 years.

Will we still be coding in the same fashion as we are in the far future? For sure we will be coding, but the way in which it will be done will be different.

Having to learn new languages within the programming world used to excited me.

But now.

It's just a constant reminder that I'm consistently having to learn new methods, because the old methods are rendered obsolete.

Time is limited... Do I really want to knowingly learn obsolete methods in the now?

I like longevity. 

And art principles are more firmly grounded in ideas.

While I will always be learning new techniques in art as technology progresses, it's different to programming.

In art, nobody will shame you if you're still painting on canvas. A practice that is hundreds of years old.

In programming many of the older languages are dead or dying. Or if they are useful- they're within fields I do not have the greatest of interests in.

Furthermore, I've met really cool and smart people in art who like what they do.

I haven't yet met anyone cool and smart in programming who I really gelled with.

So yeah.


And with that I'm changing the name of this blog category from "Programming Journey" to "Art Journey".

I'll now focus on art and try improve specifically within the concept art field.

I hope this works out well lol.

Please wish me luck!

-Mark David Teo. Artist.

P.S. On writing styles I've been spacing out paragraphs more for an easier read. On re-read it works. The ideas flow easier and make more sense. However, I feel that there is the cost of a less dense text. Though paragraphs convey their ideas within the single lines they are shallow. They do not have backing.

I should learn to use a mixture of both the dense paragraph, and also the short skinny one. Using both will immensely help me with my writing.

I'm happy I started this website/blog. I had only ever written academically and doing so put me within a set framework. Single line paragraphs are off limits. But with this blog I'm able to write however I want. It's great.

Week 11: Art or Programming...?

It isn't all the same.

It isn't all the same.

Sigh. I keep switching my dreams around. One week I justify it to be art. Another it's programming. I've swapped my dreams around four times this year. I'm normally driven towards my goals. For someone who's known what they've wanted to do in life since they were a kid, these changes are rough.

However if I do programming, I’ll definitely make it.”
— me, Jan 26

First Change: Jan 26th, 11pm flying to LA. Jan 26th is Australia Day. I said farewell to the Australia's night sky which had been lit with fireworks. I chose to leave the country on the day Australia celebrates itself. The date and time are symbolic and memorable.

I had spoken to a good friend about my options. On the drive home I convinced myself and was 100% sure I wanted to do programming. My thoughts were "Hell- I don't even like designing while at work. Why would I want to be an artist anyway? I probably won't make it this year. However if I do programming, I'll definitely make it." Which settled to "I'll just do a semester of art and see how I go. I'll test the waters." 

Programming was a definite. It also made money. Art is a flaky option. It struggles to make money.

I was settled in programming and 'testing the waters' in an American life.

Second Change:

I can learn programming ‘anytime’. I can’t learn art ‘anytime’. “
”I was certain should do art this year.
— me, Early Feb

Within the first few weeks I decided that I should use this time in LA to do art. The thing is- I can learn programming anytime. I can't learn art anytime. It then becomes logical to maximise my time learning art here, and then pursue programming later.

Being surrounded by a house of six artists and their mentalities, I became hooked. I was certain I should do art this year.

I’ll be able to learn art after first becoming a programmer.”
”However, if I do art first will I really get the same opportunities?
— me, 28th Feb

Third Change: I told a previous academic supervisor that I had been considering a programming career. I received an email from him on the 28th Feb. In casual passing he wrote "You should go for the cash-not everyone has a math-bran (me least of all). "

The cash meant programming. It made sense. I have a math/logical brain. Within programming I could go far. I was already learning fast! I should do programming!

It sounds like a get rich quick scheme. I would get money, and it would be quick. I should be a programmer! Forget art!

The pay is quite high within programming. I could work 20 hours a day instead of 40! I'll have flexible time. Using that time I could do anything. I'll be able to learn art after first becoming a programmer.

However, if I do art first will I really get the same opportunities?

Therefore it's a simple decision. Programming first. Art second.

I can’t get a sponsored visa if it doesn’t relate to a Masters in Architecture”
”Maybe I should maximise my time here learning art?
— me, 21 Mar

Fourth 'Change':

Yesterday I was thinking I could get a sponsored visa for programming. Then I could stay here in LA and learn art. I could go to any of the art schools while working as a programmer. CDA, Brainstorm, or whatever I want. I've met some cool people here already. I would meet more cool people here. I would be happy.

However, today I looked at the nitty gritty.

I can't get a sponsored visa for programming. Therefore, my old plan gets thrown outside the window.

I can only ever get a sponsored visa if my job correlates to the specific skill set my degree is in. My Masters in Architecture cannot relate to programming. Specifically not Javascript, or any of the 'easy to pickup' high level languages.

If i did computational design, perhaps I could use my masters for a sponsored visa?

Then I would be breaking into computational design in architecture... Just to learn art?

I can't get a sponsored visa if it doesn't relate to a Masters in Architecture... Ugh. I can't get a visa with programming. In this case maybe I should maximise my time here learning art?

Quarterlife Crash.

Which should I do? Programming or Art? Ultimately I'd like to be able to do both. But that's probably not a wise short term option.

To be continued...

This week for programming I picked up some GIT. I use command line like a boss.

I also started learning some more jQuery to understand a FCC project.

I didn't really do much programming this week. I don't even feel bad... That's the worst part.

Week 8: Confidence

Whoosh. Growing!

Whoosh. Growing!

This week I admit it. I didn't do a single programming task. I was enveloped in art. I now have a stronger ideal of art, but programming was shoved under the carpet.

It's okay I didn't do any programming. It made me understand the path of art better. At the end of the day it makes my skillset more round. I will forever know how to draw better. I think drawing, and these ideals of beauty and life grow exponentially.

But now after exploring art. I'm satisfied. And I'm more confident than ever in my pursuit of programming. It gives me a sense of confidence I've never had this year.

I've grown. Great.


Week 7: Priorities and Overscheduling

I can't do everything. Can I still do programming?

I can't do everything. Can I still do programming?

The start of the week was good. I was consistently busting out challenges faster than the time allocated. I was blazing through the schedule. I feel like I am truly understanding javascript. Then it hit me...

Why am I doing this?

Why am I doing algorithm scripting? Why am I learning javascript? Why am I doing this? Is this truly what I want?

The path I'm on seems like it leads to web development. Do I want to be a web developer? I'm not sure...

However, one of the quickest ways I know to determine whether a career path is right for me, is to shadow those who have gone before me. I need to find a web dev that has gone through my path, and see if their work is suited for me.

Week 5: Frustrated Paths. Coding bootcamp? Solo bootcamp?

What do I have so far...?

What do I have so far...?

What am I doing with my life...? Lately I've been looking into coding bootcamps. At first I felt the hype, and seriously considered them. They seem to be 10-18k usd, churn out a high rate of junior dev ready graduates, and cite their fresh grad jobs to earn over 100k. It sounds too good to be true... It probably is.

I have a year to work things out. Can I learn enough by myself? Hmm it's doubtful. To truly and consistently grow, we need a community. Communities facilitate growth through consistency, motivation, and helping hands. Without it, I'm likely to lose sight of an end goal, and wander without direction.

But what if I involve myself with programmers in the area? They could show me the ropes. They could be my community. Many might even already be working in the industry and give me invaluable feedback. That would open up many possibilities.

Coding bootcamp vs Solo bootcamp. I am deciding.

Weekly Notes:

Finished javascript on free code camp. It took a very long time. I probably spent more hours this week than any other week learning to code. Much was learnt. Hopefully less was forgotten. Currently moving into object-orientated and functional programming now.

Week 1 (aka Day 7)

Still in the canyon!

Still in the canyon!

And so a week has passed...

Coding is great. I’m doing it daily.

However compared to last post, I am no longer learning to make games with Java. I’ve decided that I’m going to start with something ‘easier’ and ‘more relevant’ to the idea of getting work asap. Understanding everything is greater than copying code. I had just been copying code learning Java.

I’ve just found Free Code Camp (FCC) and think the program and creators are super amazing. So amazing- that I’m determined to follow their track and learn whatever they have to offer. So far it has been great. I have just finished their HTML and CSS course. Here is a link to my profile: http://www.freecodecamp.com/volaix


I truly believe that to move along long term in a skill it’s best to learn with others.

“In Africa we having a saying, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” — Robin Jones Gunn, Coming Attractions

The FCC community is great! I’ve asked for help quite a few times in their chatrooms, and always get immediate response. I feel like I’ve already made friends in the community. It’s very motivating and I’m sure it’ll help me long term.

Some cool definitions learned this week:

Object-Oriented Programming (OOP): Where you program with a focus on objects. Software objects are often used to model real world objects.  (https://docs.oracle.com/javase/tutorial/java/concepts/)

data modeling: A process used to define and analyse data. Data modeling is the process of learning about data. A data model is the result of the process (e.g. a flowchart). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_modeling)

Software Architect: A software expert who makes design choices and sets technical standards. It'd be hilarious if I became a Software Architect, you know, having a Master in Architecture and all. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_architect)

Chief Architect: Apparently the Chief Architect is the leading expert of all the Software Architects. If I have a master in architecture. Can I be called master... chief? Masterchief? (Halo reference) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_architect)

HTTP: Hypertext Transfer Protocol. Text based. Application layer protocol. Doesn't transmit data. Clients and servers exchange messages with a "request-resposne" system. HTTP is the common language. (https://medium.freecodecamp.com/how-the-web-works-part-iii-http-rest-e61bc50fa0a#.17l9gao54)

Angular 2 vs React: Angular is a framework, React is a library. With react you pull other libraries to build an app. With Angular you get more "premade" options out of the box, which helps to get started more quickly. (https://medium.freecodecamp.com/angular-2-versus-react-there-will-be-blood-66595faafd51#.gpr4ydjti)

jQuery: A small and fast Javascript library. (https://jquery.com/)

machine learning: Subfield of computer science, study of pattern recognition, and computational learning theory in AI. E.G. when you google "apple", google will know you're looking for the fruit and not the computers. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine_learning)

(HTML Tool) Using # in anchor links makes pseudo links

AARRR: Acquisition, Activatin, Retention, Revenue, Referral. A startup metrics model developed by Dave Mcclure. Used as a framework to understand and optimise businesses. (http://startitup.co/guides/374/aarrr-startup-metrics)

Hexdecimals. Wow. I've used hexdecimals for over 10 years. I've never once considered what they meant. Hex = 6. Decimals = 0.9 etc. Hexdecimals = combination of 6 letters A-F (6 'movements' of letters), and numbers. Hexdecimals work with RGB. The first two digits represent red, second two represent green, last two represent blue. #000000 = black #FFFFFF = white. F = highest value. 0 = lowest value. White is a mixture of all the colours in RGB. Black is the absence of colour. This probably sounds like nonsense to someone reading this, so I'll just have a link out explaining: http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/guides/zp73wmn/revision

Till next week!