Make, Show, Learn Issue 3

Three years from now if I looked back and thought about what I learned over the last three years, is this what I want to be doing? — Me, naval gazing

Welcome to week three! I’ll continue with these dispatches. Blogging about blogging. My lesson from week one was twelve topics was too many. Even with five, the post got way too long. No idea is good enough to save for some better day. If my writing and drawing improve to a point that I’d be able to tell a shockingly improved story with the same raw material, well, I’ll just re-tell it.

Right now I’m still working a little haphazardly. I have notes in, Notability, Procreate, Google Docs, probably strips of post its.

The final form is a WordPress post. But the bulk of writing and editing is in Google Docs. Editing in WordPress is mostly fixing typos.

This week’s big takeaway: It starts with words.

Last week, I mentioned that I bought three DC Comics Guide to… books. This week I’ve been reading through them. I don’t plans to make a comic, but the deepest stories told through images and text are probably in comics. Each of the DC Comics Guides has some reminder that that comics start with words. Art is based on the script.

I finished reading The DC Comics Guide to Digitally Drawing Comics. A lot of it details using Photoshop to create comics. I enjoyed this image of some wireframing of text.


I also enjoyed some of the career advice in The DC Comics Guide to Pencilling Comics:

You may be multitalented, but it’s important to keep your portfolio simple and direct. If you feel that you want to be a penciller, inker, and colorist, you may certainly present a portfolio that showcases all of those skills.

I’m trying a lot of different things on this blog. And I’m at the opposite end where I’m multi-not-good-at-this-yet. Eventually I’ll pick a style to focus on. I’ve still got a years-long road of learning fundamentals.

Speaking of…

This week I learned

I’ve continued reading through Keys to Drawing to keep learning. The main lesson from this week has been measuring midpoints and estimating sizes. Dodson describes drawing a small thing in the middle of a giant page or drawing a person and cutting their shins in half to fit the feet on the page.With practice, this is preventable. To start with, you can measure things by holding your pencil (or

Pencil) out in front of you. The midpoint acts as a great reference for drawing other parts of whatever you’re drawing. I’ve been trying it. This is one of those things you can just always keep improving.

Evaluating your own work: Until I have an audience giving feedback (it might be a while), I’ll just need to get better at evaluating my own work. This early on it’s easy to critique fundamentals. Sizes are pretty objective. Especially if I make sure to take pictures of things or share the reference photos. Here’s a venti iced coconut milk latte. It’s borderline for max number of syllables I like to order.


The straw is way huger than I estimated. You’d think I drew this before the lesson because everything is so off.


This guy in lotus position is better measured.


I have that Dr. Strange drawing (that my brother said looks like Khal Goro) and have drawn it a couple times. It struck me that I’m just copying. Which is fine for learning. Eventually I want to draw things from my imagination. I’ll storyboard this and hopefully be able to have the camera rotate around him over a couple panels and then have him stand up. It might be good to draw this sequence once a month to track my progress. Here’s my first go at it.


A few thoughts on audiobooks

This year I’ve been trying to read one book each week. I don’t count audiobooks, but I do listen to them. They digest differently. It never feels like I’ve quite read the book. Listening can be a passive activity. The first listen is never quite as satisfying as the first read.

Podcasts are great for this because they’re so rough. A lot of them are free flowing conversations. People don’t make their points quickly. Usually this is bad, but if you’re not paying full attention then it’s fine to miss some things and just listen to the rest.

Audiobooks are books first. Authors have taken time to revise and edit over and over. They think about economy of words. If you zone out for a minute or two, you may have missed key information.In fiction, given enough time, I didn’t know what was going on at all. I tried listening to fiction audiobooks and that’s when I realized my attention goes in and out. It might be better suited for a driving commute. Not walking.

I stick to nonfiction. Sometimes I rewind chapters, but often I just let it run. The key is knowing I’ll listen to an audiobook way more times than I would re-read a book. In the end, multiple listens might be better for retaining information than reading deeply through it once.

A couple books I’m listening to

The two audiobooks currently in rotation have depictions of brains on the cover. One is made by very long computer cables. The other is made of broccoli.


The books are Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions and Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain–for Life. I’ll be sure to write up some notes for each. After a few more listens, of course.

Some miscellaneous drawings

I also just drew a lot in Starbucks this week. And on planes because I was traveling. I’m going to save it for next week. This week’s motto will be There’s always next week. No need to press right now.

Make, Show, Learn Issue 2

From The DC Comics Guide to Digitally Drawing Comics:

But I encourage you to zoom out (by going to View > Fit on Screen) every once in a while just to make sure you aren’t getting stress out over an area no one will notice. — Freddie Williams II

That’s my preview of issue 17: Life advice from drawing books. In the meantime, welcome to issue 2!



I wrote 100 posts in 100 days (and will probably mention it 1000 times in the next 100 days). Quality varied way too much but it was good seeing the amount of content at the end. Writing daily adds up.

I made some sacrifices to make it happen. (If I was a better writer, I’d have a lighter word than sacrifice.) I said no to some social events. I skipped workouts.


Was it worth it? Well…

Yes. To learn from. I followed a routine and got a tiny taste of what people mean when they say they can’t wait around for inspiration to write.

And no. Those things I sacrificed are important. Long term, my relationships and my body are more important than this hobby.

Nutrition and fitness advice often revolves around making it a lifestyle change. Otherwise you’ll just try yo-yo diet after yo-yo diet. It needs to be sustainable.

However, it’s useful to go to one extreme for a short period of time, like eating completely clean temporarily. You can then re-introduce foods and see if the costs are worth it. You can figure out the 80/20 and adapt the most effective aspects long-term.

Oh yeah, this is about writing. I want this creative project to be sustainable. I don’t want to lose sleep and take small steps in the wrong direction. Those add up over time just like writing one page a day adds up.

One step at a time toward 40 issues

So how can I make things sustainable? High level, my goal is 40 episodes and issues instead of 52. That gives me some breathing room. One week off each month.

I won’t get to 52 in a year. Not without sacrificing things that are more important to me in the long run.

If I was new to a site and clicked “archive” and saw 40 posts or 52 posts, they’re basically the same. It’s like if an ebook is $4 or $5.

What it does affect is consistency. As long as I don’t take two or three weeks off in a row, the consistency will be there. It’s much better than pushing to do 13 weeks in a row, then quitting entirely because I’m burned out.

I can make up for it with consistency in other channels. Those are hypothetical right now. It’ll probably be instagram. On weeks off, I can put the growth hacker hat on. “I won’t be here this week but follow me on Instagram!” That was supposed to be a joke but I can really see that happening.

5 sections a week. Well, maybe

Zooming in a bit, what can I finish in a week? A lot is learning how long things take. Last week’s issue was too long. Both in the time it took to make and just the length of the post.

I’m kissing the weekly dozen goodbye. This week I’m trying 5 sections.

When learning something new, it can be useful to apply concepts from fields you’re more familiar with. I’m learning to draw, so maybe there’s a good way to apply product design or software development concepts to all this.

Design sprints come to mind. Each issue of this has some design elements. Drawing is already a core part of design sprints. In sprints, different kinds of sketches are usually timed. Actually, nearly everything in the sprint is timed.

From Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days:

We use Time Timers in our sprints to mark small chunks of time, anywhere from three minutes to one hour. These tiny deadlines give everyone an added sense of focus and urgency.

I’ll start timing things as I work on my process on each of these issues. If I can get an accurate time of things then I can set a timer, do that thing, and move on.

Avoiding the shallows

I’ve mentioned a few times that I want to try doing an entire issue—drawings and writing both—focused on single themes or topics. If it’s going to be about a book, Cal Newport’s Deep Work is at the top of the list.

The illustration above is a colored-in version of a sketch I found from earlier this year. I had an idea for a former version of this blog where each post would be a long-form book notes post.

It became another unfinished project.

The shark illustration is supposed to represent the idea of getting lost in the shallows. Deep work involves long stretches of focused time. The shallows are the opposite. Sometimes they involve work—glancing at email, bouncing around between 3 somewhat related tasks and making slow progress on all of them. Usually it’s not work related at all. Social media, texting friends, cycling through news sites.

Eventually, I’d like to sit down and finish that book notes post, because Deep Work has been a major influence for me this year.

Keys to Drawing

Deep work has a close cousin: deliberate practice. They both require the same sort of focus. I’m thinking a lot about how I can apply deliberate practice in learning to draw.

Anders Ericsson knows a lot about deliberate practice and shares a lot of the knowledge in Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise:

If you’re in a field where deliberate practice is an option, you should take that option. If not, apply the principles of deliberate practice as much as possible. In practice this often boils down to purposeful practice with a few extra steps: first, identify the expert performers, then figure out what they do that makes them so good, then come up with training techniques that allow you to do it, too.

I don’t have a mentor to watch me draw right now. Tough luck, right? Maybe not.

This is where I might be able to really leverage technology. Recording and sharing my process is possible. You can watch me practice. I can hypothetically get feedback on that practice. First I’ll need readers and I’ll need to make interesting things.

I’ll work toward building an audience of people more skilled than I am that can give frequent feedback. That would be amazing.

In the meantime, I’ll find guidance from experts in the form of books. I’m currently working through Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson. He explains different drawing techniques and provides exercises and suggestions for how much time to spend on them.

This week’s video portion is a look at an exercise of my own.

It’s inspired by something Simon Rich does to generate ideas:

When I was writing Free Range Chickens, I had just discovered Wikipedia and one of the ways I came up with ideas was to just keep refreshing, and keep clicking the random article until a premise occurred to me.

So I just set a timer to do three 5-minute intervals. At the start of each interval, I jam Wikipedia’s random button until a decent image showed up. Then I drew the subject with the remaining time.

Random images keep me from drawing the 17th plastic coffee cup of the week. It was a lot of fun. And it takes a set amount of time. This might become the first recurring feature of every issue.

DC Comics

Last week, I wrote about learning to create narrated images for each week’s video. Somehow comics never came to mind. But they moved to the front burner this week. When I drew as a kid, a lot of it was just trying to draw either comic characters or video game characters.

I bought a bunch of DC Comics books about making comics:

Having skimmed through these, here’s the main takeaway: I still need to learn to draw first. I’ll keep working through traditional drawing books.


However, comics provide a style I’m interested in learning. Comics shine in a particular way when it comes to learning.

Comic artists show their work. Many artists do signings and drawings at conventions and things. A lot of times, they’re happy to let people record over-the-shoulder videos showing their process. These are available on YouTube.

Artists also often share their own process videos on social media accounts. There just seems to be an endless amount of videos of experts at work. A lot of their thoughts end up visible on the page. You can see things progress from very rough lines to final prints. It’s a resource that doesn’t exist for every craft.

You could time-lapse a writer writing and typing, but it’s not the same. You’d need to see drafts with revision notes to get any real insight. You might be able to find some of this for authors you like. But they don’t sit at conventions writing one-page stories for people to watch and learn from.

I knew a little bit when I started this project. Two weeks later, I have a better idea of how little I know. Hopefully 50 weeks later, this will provide a deep look at my learning process.

In the meantime, I’ll be looking for another plastic cup to sketch. This time with cross-hatching!

Make, Show, Learn Issue 1

Creativity weekly


Blogs began dying somewhere around 2008. Personal blogs are on the endangered list between the rhino and the saola. Writing about what you’re up to used to be enough. Doing that with photos was a step ahead. There weren’t billions of things being shared every day, because it wasn’t easy to do. You’d need a digital camera then some know-how for getting a website up. Content management systems made it easier, but one-click installations weren’t the norm.

There were things with many names—365 Project, Project 365— but it was posting one thing each day for a year. It was usually a photography project but some people did other art. Now these things are just hashtags. Back then they were presented as a challenge. I failed multiple times.

“I’m starting my 365 challenge. — Me in high school

“Nevermind.” — Me, on day 17.

I would then play 7 hours of Counter-Strike

Finishing one of these annual photo projects was a big accomplishment.

Sharing a video every day? Before YouTube? You could probably win a Webby. Or at least a custom ribbon to slap on your page.

Now people do this in their sleep. Even kids. Multiple videos and photos. Every single day of the year. It’s called Snapchat.

There are millions of WordPress blogs with people sharing things they’ve made. I’m adding another one to the mix.

On not being just another WordPress site

Blogs are still the best way to broadcast longer-form text and images. (I’m counting Medium as a form of blogging.) There are tons of blogs, though, so it’s important to niche down. That also helps in staying focused.

I’ll write about things that interest me. The through-line will be that I’m learning to draw. The bigger picture is that I’m learning to tell stories visually. I’ve always wanted to be good at combining text and visuals.

Each week, I’ll make one video and a post to accompany it.


In learning to draw, I did some searching on recommendations for learning to draw digitally. Almost all of them said to start with paper and pencil. You’ll learn bad habits. You’ll use the tool as a crutch.

It reminded me of something I read in Smartcuts: The Breakthrough Power of Lateral Thinking, by Shane Snow. Children in Finland use calculators early. They end up excelling in math:

The overwhelming majority of academic research about calculators indicates that leveraging such tools improves conceptual understanding. By learning the tool (calculator) first, we actually master the discipline (math) faster.

This is my long-winded and tenuous defense of buying an iPad and Apple Pencil anyway. I’m going to learn to tell stories visually and I’ll take an entirely digital route.

Hopefully that’s a deep enough niche to find readers.



My larger goal is learning to tell stories with visuals and text. A lot of the inspiration for the format I have in mind comes from Extra Credits — a video series about game design. Mostly conceptual rather than actual implementation details. Most videos are narrated stills with some animation.

The thing that really got me was their episode on minimal viable products (MVP). I’m familiar with MVPs for startups and their episode talks about MVPs for video games. An MVP is likely more basic than it might seem. Mario would just be a block running and jumping over pits. No koopas, no fire flowers, nothing.

I got to thinking about what the MVP would look like for this project. I think one minute of narrated images will be the MVP. If I eventually want to make five minute videos, it’d be five interesting minutes. Making one interesting minute is a good start.

I admire that Malcolm Gladwell can take raw material on a subject and make it interesting for a chapter. Gladwell said he admires Michael Lewis for being able take make something engaging for an entire book.

I’m striving to make something interesting for one minute. So I’ll start broad with the topics. When I improve, I’ll be able to take that full minute on one topic. Then multiple minutes.

One great minute is the goal. One minute of any quality at all is the first baby step I’ll take.

On the Pro Blogger podcast, Darren Rowse recently talked about taking imperfect action to build momentum. This first post and video won’t be perfect, but it’ll be one step forward to build momentum.


This week, I was thinking about how to come up with the video. I’m going to start with recording a Keynote presentation and narrating it.

To make the presentation, first I’ll start with the post. The way i see it, the presentation is a condensed version of a post with just the best parts. The longer version comes first.

I’ll aim to draw 50 things each week. Some will be more complex than others. Some might be a few words.

From those 50 slides I’ll pick 12 to share and write about. That’s what I did for this post. Then, aiming for a one-minute video, I’ll talk about each section for 5 seconds.

That’s the MVP. And I’m already learning from it. 12 might be too many each week. I estimate that I had more time this week than I’ll usually have. Eight might work better. And that’s about 8 seconds per section in the video.

Make things, show people, learn more thingsimage_3

Other title ideas for this weekly video and blog post: Creativity weekly, Making things weekly.

When thinking of a title, I thought “What do I want this blog to be about?” If I’m dedicated and have 40 posts a year from now, what would I want them to represent collectively?

Learning. I’m learning how to tell stories. It’d be great if I could show my progress as I learn to draw. And I can try pulling stories from links and books that I find interesting.

I had the title already. My Twitter account used to be @makeshowlearn. I’m gonna switch it back. Make, Show, Learn was based on a slide from a WWDC presentation about prototyping with Keynote.

The slide described steps for testing prototypes: make a prototype, show the prototype to people, and learn from their use of the prototype. Repeat.

I used to write about design and the Twitter handle reminded me of steps to follow to grow as a designer. Make things, show what I made to people online, and learn from that process. Repeat.

It worked. Some people liked what I was showing. (Some people hated it, of course.) A few people commented or emailed saying I helped them learn. That was very rewarding.

Then I stopped.

Now I’m starting again, but with storytelling as the focus.

Getting my reps in: 100 posts, 100 days


Earlier this year, I wrote 100 posts in 100 days. I learned to enjoy the process and I appreciate the collective end result. However, a lot of the individual posts are just so rough. I’m not proud of every single post. I needed to edit more.

I do like some of them though. Here are a few of my favorite posts:

Japan Trip 05 of 10: Ramen — I went to Japan earlier this year with my girlfriend. A lot of my favorite posts are about that trip. In this one, I go over a few of the ramen places we ate at.

Japan Trip 06 of 10: Five more thoughts — Some thoughts on the Fushimi Inari temple, which really stood out among all the temples we visited.

Japan Trip 08 of 10: Rico! Ospreay! — I read that in lieu of mastering words and sentences to make the writing interesting, you can do something interesting and then write about it. We went to a New Japan Pro Wrestling show and it happened to have one the most insane matches from this year.

Book Notes: Save the Cat! — I wrote a lot of book notes posts. Some were better than others. I want to continue doing these.

Book Notes: Smartcuts — Another book notes post. David Heinemeier Hansson is an example of someone that used a Smartcut to success. He created Rails when Basecamp was still called 37Signals. It’s not in the book, but I enjoyed learning that Ernest Kim and Kicksology had roots in 37 Signals.

I’ll continue linking to other posts in future issues. Some of the content is worth checking out, so I wouldn’t want it to go completely unseen.

Almost drowning


As mentioned, I have a bunch of posts that I’d like to link back to. Some of my drawings this week are about existing posts. This solves two things: 1.) it gives me concrete ideas to draw and 2.) it allows me to link back to posts. A couple weeks ago, I wrote about almost drowning. It’s a book note post about Steven Pressfield’s latest book Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t. It’s is about the importance of storytelling and served as motivation to become a better storyteller.

Meet Ube

I was sketching ideas for the front page of this blog then I thought this part looked like a mouth. So I made it the mouth of a monster. (It also looks sort of like a building.)

I showed it to my girlfriend and she said it looks like ube. We had ube ice cream recently and it was actually labeled ube instead of taro. I wonder if there’s actually a difference. I can look this up.


They’re different. And I’m delighted that ube is a tuber.

This monster’s name is now Ube.

A drawing of a tree


Each of the posts will have drawings. I can talk about the process. I’m pretty new to this. Right now I’m doing something like this:

  • Sketch with a pencil tool
  • Use one of the ink tools to go over the pencil
  • Add a layer and set its blending mode to Multiply. Use a paint tool to color things.

I mentioned bad habits earlier. Some tutorials I’ve watched mentioned learning bad habits. Artists reviewing the 9.7″ iPad have side remarks saying you might pick up bad habits learning to draw on it. You might get used to zooming too much. You might lean on being able to undo. You won’t be able to draw with pencil and paper.

Drawing with pencil and paper isn’t a goal of mine right now. The tradeoff of these potential bad habits is that I’ll be able to build a good habit: showing my work. I want to make digital things because they’re easier to share.

I’m also having more fun learning to draw digitally. It’s likely that other people are in the same boat. They want to draw using their tablets, because it’s fun. Maybe I can provide value to those people.

Ben Orenstein, a developer at thoughtbot, wrote about landing a Rails job and the value of blogging daily:

Write about what you’ve learned so far. Don’t make the excuse that you’re just a beginner. Imagine someone who is two months behind you and write for them. An active blog shows passion, demonstrates skill, and helps you make more Ruby friends.

I can at least help someone two months behind where I’m at. Right now I’m at 1 week so I’d be helping someone at like –7 weeks. It doesn’t quite apply. Eventually I’ll be able to share resources and learnings helpful for someone just getting started.


Apple cider

I mentioned writing 100 posts in 100 days. On Fridays, I’d share links that I found interesting from the week. The idea was inspired by/stolen from Tim Ferriss. I’d like to continue sharing links. Part of this weekly dozen will be link shares. It might even completely be that in the future.

In Ferriss’s most recent 5-Bullet Friday, he links to a video of his evening routine. The first part is really followable (NOTE: No red squiggly came under this word. ) — tea, apple cider vinegar, and honey. It’s supposed to knock you out for the entire night.

Then he goes into his private soaking tub. Some people say the cider and honey combo creates more vivid dreams. Dreams like owning a home with a private soaking tub.

Closing with honey and some links about drawing with an iPad


Here’s a honey bear that looks more like a honey squirrel. Something that occurred to me here is that I used a white paint tool. I don’t know how this would work if I was working with markers. I mean I’m guessing there’s probably a white marker so that’s probably the answer.

Scratch what I said a couple sections ago. I’ve already got resources that were helpful in my first week of drawing digitally.

Procreate 3 tutorial by James Julier — This was a great overview of a lot of Procreate features and how he uses them. It’s great to be able to see how experts work, knowing you have access to the same tools they’re using.

How to Draw Using Procreate by Will Terry — Another Procreate overview and he draws with his finger.

Spiderman speed painting by Danny Glasglow — I will never be this good. (“Especially with that attitude!” I know.)

Drawing on the iPad Pro by Scott Johnson — This was fun and, again, it’s good to see an expert work. I’d like to be able to draw this well but I know I’m thousands of reps away.

iPad Pro 9.7“ vs 12.9” by NihongoGamer — The previous four links were all centered around using Procreate for drawing and painting. In this video, I saw that he was using the Notes app for sketching. He explains that he likes how the pencil feels in it. I liked that he was just creating new notes with a two finger swipe.

I started trying that and I really like it. Constraints can be good. Not being able to tweak paper size and all the different brushes is good in many ways. I can just get right to drawing.

I’ll continue using both Procreate and Notes and I’ll learn what works best for me for different situations.

Thanks for checking this out. Now I gotta go make that video. Give me a minute and I’ll give you a minute.

I’ve got an idea

I’ve been posting something every day from my iPad. Sometimes it’s a few drawings. Sometimes it’s a few photos. Sometimes it’s just a single drawing. From writing 100 posts in 100 days, one big takeaway is that posting just to post sometimes wasn’t worth it. Putting junk out into the world might not be productive.

80 posts in 100 days might have resulted in better posts. Or maybe it wouldn’t. Maybe I would have taken it too easy, skipped a few too many days in a row, then just quit.

After the 100 posts project, I decided that working on something every day was valuable. Flexing your creative muscle is really rewarding. The value of publishing daily was the goal itself. It was a hard goal. I knew if I reached it. I didn’t build a readership so there wasn’t value in that sense. Even if I shared it more widely, the content likely isn’t good enough for it to build a readership. Still, it was good to built that habit of finishing.

I want to continue being creative daily. Sharing a single sketch is likely better through social media than a standalone post on this blog. So I’ve been thinking (as in, this is an idea from today) about how to present collections of sketches and other things I’ve made through the week.

I’ll make a video. It’ll mostly consist of sketches done through the week. I’ll share things I learned that week through books or other resources. It will be part of a weekly post. This weekly post will be a hodgepodge of things. That video. A post explaining some of the process of making the video. Links from the week. Book notes from the week. Meals I ate. Who knows.

That’s what I think it will be. One post each week. I’ll work on it in some capacity every day. The glorious return of my non-glorious personal blog. Here’s a preview.

So, yes, I started it. I’m still keeping with this month’s theme of using my iPad for creating content. I was inspired by watching an episode of Extra Credits on MVPs. I was familiar with it in startup terms but was happy to see the idea reflected in video games. An MVP is stripped down much further than it might first seem.

The MVP for these new weekly videos and posts will start with slides that I’ll narrate. Right now I’m using Procreate for sketching and Keynote for organizing the sketches. Eventually I’ll record something for it. I’m aiming for 40 slides. That should get me to about a minute. That’s my goal for the week. A one minute video. We’ll see how it goes.

A drawing

Here is a drawing I did of all the different things that my wallet turned into yesterday. I drew these in Notability, which I’m trying out for drafting more visual blog posts. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like you can just export to PNG so I might need to figure a better system out. Probably with Workflow or something.

Some photos

Some more photos with the iPhone 7 Plus.

A sketch a day #2: and a purchase

From what I’ve read about digital art, a common suggestion is to start by learning to draw with paper and pencil. You can get too caught up with digital tools and fixing mistakes on the fly. And trying to refine things without moving on to a new drawing. You can be less thoughtful and all that.

I bought an iPad Pro today. Here’s my first sketch.

I have more thoughts on this. I thought it’d be good to have a hobby that isn’t programming-related. Which I guess writing is, but writing is also mostly sitting at a keyboard and typing. Which, considering the amount of email exchange that takes place in any knowledge work, is what a lot of the work day looks like.

Now I’ll sketch. Which is what the work day probably looks like in some aspiring designers’ heads.

Oh yeah, so here’s all the things that I got. An iPad Pro 9.7″ 128GB silver. An Apple Pencil. A Logitech Smart Case. I actually really like the keyboard so far.

“So far” being pretty early days right now, because I haven’t left the Apple Store yet. As a device for creating content, this seems like a pretty good set up for what I want to be doing.

A sketch a day

I did this sketch on my iPhone 7 Plus using Procreate.

More iPhone 7 Plus photos

Went to Dia:Beacon. We also went apple picking. It was a good chance to give the iPhone 7 Plus camera a spin.









I’m focusing on getting healthier this month. I had a lengthier explanation in my previous post.

I’m now forgetting where I got to this link, but it was probably a podcast. (It’s always a podcast.) Craig Ballantyne has a 10-3-2-1-0 formula for getting to bed on time.

10 hours before bed – No more caffeine.
3 hours before bed – No more food or alcohol.
2 hours before bed – No more work.
1 hour before bed – No more screen time (turn off all phones, TVs and computers).
0 – The number of times you will hit the snooze button in the morning.

With the actual goal being to wake up earlier to start the day off right.

Will this work? Let’s see how those hours translate for me. For me, those hours translate to: 2pm no caffeine, 9pm no food no alcohol, 10pm no work, 11pm no screens.

No snoozing! I don’t usually set an alarm. It’s not discipline or an amazing internal clock. I just don’t wake up incredibly early. I’m glad I have that flexibility. Many people don’t.

11pm, no screen time. I enjoy reading books, so that’s a good transition for right before sleeping. And reading something on my Kindle with blue blockers on is pretty close to no screens.

10pm, no work. I’m not usually doing anything on the computer after 10pm. Having a concrete time in mind will help. Especially for the nights that I’m tempted to work on some idea. It’s almost certainly better to sleep and work on it in the morning.

9pm, no food or alcohol. Ah. I drink less often than I used to, so that part won’t be too hard to follow. Food, though. I eat something after 9pm on most nights. Again, having a concrete time in mind will help. In most cases, it’s not anything healthy that I’m eating after 9pm.

2pm, no caffeine: This will be a change but not a huge one. I avoid caffeine after lunch. Well, usually. So I’ll just have to change “Well, usually” to “Period”.

I already wear blue blockers and drink magnesium. Following these guidelines should help even more. Next up, I’ll work on a morning routine to look forward to after a good night’s sleep.

All the books I read: 2016 Q3

Note: I’ll update this with some directives and author names. I’m posting things that need a few changes to push myself to finish posts. Knowing a post is published with a few things to finish will urge me to finish more than having something 80% done in draft state.

Thought it’d be good to follow up on All The Books I’ve Read This Year (written near the end of June 2016). I read 15 books. A few were pretty short, but I’ll go ahead and count them.

Here are the books I finished in July, August, and September 2016.

Flash Boys:
But What if We’re Wrong
Comedy Writing for Late-Night TV
Ego is the Enemy
— You can prototype anything.
Food Rules
Spark Joy
You are a Writer
The 15-minute Writer

I tried reading more fiction (aka nearly all of Simon Rich’s published books). It really is more pleasant reading fiction at night before bed. Reading things that make you laugh turns out to be great for winding down.

Elliott Allagash:
Last Woman on Earth:
Free Range Chickens:
Ant Farm
Spoiled Brats


I haven’t listened to audiobooks quite as much. I have a hard time getting as much out of them. I can get through them, but I don’t know if I’m retaining what I listen to. (I also think this is overestimating how much I retain from what I read in books.) One book that stuck out is Grit. I suspect it’s because I was writing book notes each day as I listened. Actually, whether it’s an audiobook or traditional book, writing notes while reading helps get the most value out of reading.

Bull’s Eye
One More Thing
Daily Rituals
Do you Talk Funny