My New Year Resolutions for 2012

Just like last year I’ll review how I did with my resolutions from last year before  listing my goals for this coming year. I only set two goals for 2011 but that didn’t mean I had it easy! Both of them took a fair amount of time – in different ways.

2011 Resolutions Review

  1. Resolution #1: “365 Project: iPhone-Painting-a-Day…(or Week!)” | Grade: A-

    As soon as I got my iPad (~March 2011) this quickly changed to “iPad-Painting-a-Day/Week” – hopefully that didn’t disqualify me for this resolution. It is interesting to note that I went through 3 different painting “apps” in addition to moving from the phone to the tablet – so the paintings this year crossed quite a spectrum.  There were a fair amount of weeks where I just worked on one painting (instead of 7) but other than a few skipped days during the Christmas card project time period I kept up with this pretty consistently. I posted all my paintings for this on Flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chris-emerson/sets/72157625724352098/with/5801934265 – go take a look to see the whole batch.

  2. Resolution #2: “Submit an app or game to the Apple App Store” | Grade: A

    This was a long-term/long-shot considering where I was at the start of 2011. I did have some basic knowledge of the technologies available to make mobile apps then but I really hadn’t had any opportunities at work (or in my own, scarce, free time) to build an actual mobile app yet. Anyhow – as 2011 progressed I explored the mobile app development landscape further at work and in my own (did I mention scarce) free time. My initial assumption was that I would end up using PhoneGap but for various reasons I ended up using Adobe Flash instead. The main reason for this was because Adobe made great strides in 2011 in staying in the mobile app game – specifically around playing well with Apple – plus, in an ironic turn of events, Adobe actually acquired PhoneGap later in the year – which I wasn’t expecting. Anyhow, as some folks may not know, even though Apple doesn’t allow Adobe Flash to run on their mobile devices, Adobe has created a way for their developers to “export” standard Flash applications to run as legit, native Apple applications (i.e. not Flash) – so that’s why/how I was able to use Flash. Just for the record, I am still a big fan/follower of PhoneGap – and thanks to my job change in February I have had the opportunity to build a few PhoneGap mobile apps at the office this year – so I’ve been able to get some experience with both technologies.

    Earlier in the year I started a few “game” projects that were fun – but they both lacked the time and structure that those kind of games would need to be successfully pulled off – so I ended up leaving them on the cutting room floor for now. I may revisit them in the future but here are a couple screenshots showing the proof of concepts I put together for them – all of which were running on the iPad.
     

    This won’t be a shock to some, but my final “app” idea was too complicated  for the time I had left in the year to build it. So in mid-November I decided I had to simplify it to a drastic bare minimum if  I was even going to attempt to finish and submit it to the App Store before the end of the year.  I am holding out hope to still build my original app idea so I won’t say what that was, yet – but the app I built for this is called “Wooden Clock”. It’s as simple as it sounds by the way – it’s just a wooden clock that tells the time. No bells or whistles – other than a ticking sound, hourly chimes and a pendulum. Aside from the pain of letting go of my original app idea, the only challenge to getting Wooden Clock built was keeping the app running smoothly. It’s not as smooth as I’d like but I think it’s good enough for now.

    There are of course (literally) hundreds of clock apps on iPad and iPhone – so this app certainly doesn’t get huge points for originality. That said  I would say a good 75% of all those clock apps are pretty ugly (IMHO) – so I take some solace from that since I did try to make this one prettier than the average clock app. But – the goal for my resolution here has always just been to simply get an app or game submitted to the App Store so I probably shouldn’t analyze it too much – it is just a clock app. On a related note, I couldn’t justify actually charging $ for this given the already over-flooded “clock app” market – but if I add more bells and whistles eventually to it I may think about charging a buck or two for it… we’ll see.

    In standard “over the top” fashion, I whipped up a single-page website for the app – you can view it, and the eventually working download link here: http://apps.chris-emerson.net/woodenclock/. The app was submitted to the App Store a few days after Christmas – I’ll post an update or comment here if it ever gets put on the App Store or not (there’s no guarantee it will get posted… unlike the Android store heh). Special thanks to some of my pals for providing me some “pre-release” customer quotes for the website 🙂

2012 Resolutions!

  1. Resolution #1: “365 Project: Weekly or Daily iPad Paintings”

    Based on this past year it seems like my tendency is to paint one painting a week – so I figure I’ll just shape my “365 Project” to expect that. There may be times where I do one thing a day, but we’ll see. The bottom line here is that I really like painting on the iPad so I will continue doing it until I get sick of it! So here’s to another year of digital painting.

  2. Resolution #2: “Submit another app or game to the Apple App Store and Android Store”

    Pending my success at getting this year’s app into the App Store I aim to get a 2nd app completed and submitted to both the Apple App Store as well as the Android Store. Whether or not my app will be my old idea or a new one is to be determined!

  3. Placeholder for Resolution #3

    Two resolutions just seems too easy since I’ve done that for 2 years now… so I’ll come up with a 3rd soon…

Ok that’s all for now… happy (almost) new year everyone!

The Quest for Dribbble

I recently stumbled onto dribbble.com … a site sometimes referred to as “Twitter for Designers” but instead of simply broadcasting random chatter like Twitter does, Dribbble is used by designers around the world to post their latest work with other designers – a very cool concept! Unfortunately, the site is somewhat exclusive in that you can’t just register and join – you have to be invited by a member who deems you worthy either by a random invite giveaway, or because you’ve found some other way to stand out from the rest of people wanting an invite.
Anyhow – as soon as I saw some of the artwork on the site I knew I wanted to be a member – not because I think my stuff is as good or better – just because I’d love to share and exchange ideas with such a talented group of designers around the world.

Some invite giveaways simply ask for your name/email and draw your name out of a hat, others require you to submit a small piece of artwork. This graphic here is the first (of many?) graphics I’ve done for such a contest (link here). Graphic was made with Adobe Flash Professional and a dash of Photoshop.

Sure would be nice if I won an invite with this – but some folks wait months/years from what I can tell. Here’s hoping!…

Odd Scenes of Animals II

The end of the year isn’t letting up with things to do but now that the Christmas card is out of the way I’m back to trying to stick to one (or a few) paintings a week. Here’s this past week’s effort – no idea what’s going on here… the snake was Linc’s idea and the beaver was thrown in for fun 🙂

Christmas Rejects 2011

Before settling on this year’s Christmas card concept I worked on a few paintings that later became rejects. Here they are for anyone interested in seeing what was left on the cutting room floor. These will also be available on the “cards” website when the 2011 card goes online – but I thought I’d document these here as standalone “365 Project” efforts in any case.







Christmas Card 2011 Envelopes

All cards and envelopes have been printed… finally!

As I mentioned earlier, yesterday I came to the gut-wrenching realization that I had printed over 25 cards (at full photo quality) *upside down*!… So they all had to be thrown away! This was very bad for two reasons: 1.) Hardly any stores carry the type of greeting card paper I use anymore (online or local)! and 2.) that first print run had used up all of my new color ink cartridges so I had to buy a whole new set! Fortunately another local OfficeMax happened to have 2 packs of my paper and of course they were glad to take more of my money for new ink cartridges as well.

Anyhow – I realized this morning the reason I’d never had this “upside down” problem before is because until this year I’d never printed the inside of the card in addition to the outside cover. So – there were additional brain cells needed this time around to make sure the inside orientation matched the outside when the card was folded. Man – what a painful way to learn that lesson! But – the silver lining (ish) is that I won’t have to write as many words in each and every card this year since the default writing will be in there already (please no one take that personally!).

All that’s left is for Holly and I to sign the cards and/or stuff it with photos for family members, etc… the end is in sight!