First post and new project thoughts

Hey! First post time

I’m thinking right now that a first blog post is one the loneliest things on the internet *shudders*.

Well...moving on. I’ve finally created a portfolio site and blog, which is exciting. It was one of my resolutions I had for this year (shortly before the new year I suddenly had a brain wave, and had that rush of energy you get when you know an idea sounds right for you), so that’s checked off in theory.

I say in theory as this digital playground is just a start. I hope it will be something I use a lot, and that it grows as I continue to add extra work and write regularly on design, productivity and all the nitty-gritty parts of both. I’m glad to finally have my own digital playground.

The Create 365 idea

Back in October I embarked on a design challenge to create “something cool” each day. It can be something I compose and photograph, something motion, something digital or something hand drawn. For me I’ve tended to follow a vector/illustration approach, which is something I’ve really enjoyed doing.

As the new year begins and the January blues begin to settle; I’ve found myself quite exhausted as I role between Days 92-99. I usually tend to aim to create something novel each day; and also the thing I submit as my #365 is something extra. If I’m working on another project I don’t usually showcase that as my daily creation. It's fair to say that I could certainly make the 365 project more workable in my day to day or include more work in progress to reduce the stress.

I’ve loved everything I’ve made each day; even the things which are so-so in quality. But I can say sometimes it has been exhausting. That thought of…”Oh, it’s nearly 11 and I have to do my 365!” has rolled round a few times.

I always talk about energy a lot during my work, and certainly how it ebbs and flows. Whilst I say that often I feel as though I rarely acknowledge it. It's as if by merely paying lip service to the idea, then I can withstand the effects of ebbing energy. But not so my friends; whilst energy fluctuates through the days and weeks, it’s entirely possible that my 365 project is slowly, unknowingly sapping the energy I have available.

I love that it’s happening each day. To me its very valuable to create something intentional and unique each day. But the challenge is itself it’s a learning process. To “create something cool each day” is vague to the point of being harmful. Whilst there are some themes emerging in what I’ve created, I recognise that to stay relevant the challenge needs to develop. Maybe this means themes that run for a week or more, blending 365 more so with larger, long term projects I have, and involving it more with my day to day work. This focus can only help me to learn more and more. 

It would be great for 365 to become part of larger, meatier projects rather than 365 short one-offs. Whilst the value and growth found in the latter would still be great.

What’s next for 365? 66* days of animation.

I’ve been saying I want to learn animation for quite a while.
Time to stop saying it and time to do it. 

I think 66 days of animation sounds about right. It’s easier than saying “between 60 to 66 days of animation, ideally sixty but I’ll give myself an extra week or so if it’s a slow potentially 67 or even 68 days.” Yeah...that’s too long.

I have been practising animation for a while but at a basic level, using primarily stop-frame styles within Photoshop. This has been great; I’ve produced some really cool stuff and practised how to think about animation. Yet it’s time to put my money where my mouth is. So starting soon I’m going to embark on my 66 days experiment.

As part of my 365 (and any other spare time I have), I’ll be practicing and learning about animation instead. Being real about energy; that means no writing (other than this blog), it means no extra passion projects, it means no overzealous photography, it means not suddenly deciding to clean out the garage and a host of other time sapping things which aren’t my goal.

66 days is going to be an experiment into focus, techniques around productivity and learning. I’m going to be setting week challenges, and daily or weekend bootcamps. Essentially I want to try and grind as much growth in animation as I can, rather than make mild progress on 3 or 4 things.

This will be hard. Whist I’ve proven I can stick at creating regularly; I know that I will struggle to be honest with my time, I’ll find procrastination difficult (even if that means doing other creative work) and motivation could be a challenge as After Effects and the level of animation I’m exploring make me feel out of my depth.

But I’m excited. It’s a personal experiment I’m looking forward to try. The only failure would be not starting at all.

This is a really long one - so thanks for reading.
Hope you’re having a great week! - Dan