Launch House Game Dev Meetup

I have made and sold art for years and still have a hard time (sometimes) calling myself an Artist. So I feel almost funny being at a game development meetup when I have never even tried to make a game. It isn’t “impostor syndrome” it’s just, I’m not sure if I am passionate about it. Not sure what I bring to the proverbial table. But I am here today, at the Shaker Launch House, with about 10 other people working on their own games. I don’t have a specific game idea to work on, but I brought art supplies and am working through some Unity 3D demos. In fact, I watched a lot of tutorials yesterday on beginning game development, and they said the important thing is to “start making a game out of what you can do” as opposed to “start with a great idea”. If you start with a great story to tell, and it is leagues out of your capacity to tell it, you will get stuck and quit. If you make a game that is just “two dots moving” (or..something), then you can actually finish a thing and then move on to the next one with one complete project under your belt (and experience).

My favorite games are ones with interesting characters and stories, and honestly, most of them are 2D not 3D. (In fact, I still like interactive fiction/text adventures.) But Unity does 2D as well. I should learn 3D since I sculpt and I’d like to see if I can print something in 3D. So many skills overlap!

I’ve always wanted to write and illustrate stories and books – art books? nature books? field guides? story books? I just love books. I did not really think about making games (I feel like all of my friends have always wanted to make games). I’m still not sure it is my platform, but I really want the experience of learning new things. And good games tell stories.

Launch House Angel?


On the Second Week of Code Bootcamp

So, I just completed my second week of immersive full-time code study at We Can {Code} IT. I feel bad for people who have to go work a day job and/or have kids to take care of after school, because I sure don’t have any energy left! Who knew that sitting in a classroom could tire you out so much?

Anyway, I am proud to say that so far I’m keeping up with class. We have been studying all the fundamentals of C# (or basically any other object oriented programming language): loops, arrays, if-then statements, strings, etc.

Having spent a year trying to teach this to myself put me in a good starting position but my “I already get this” moments are just about done. Starting today (that is, this weekend) we were informed that we had better buckle down because it is going to ramp up in difficulty next week.

I’m excited and scared, because I still have issues with my understanding of some of the basics. Well, I understand them, but I still make mistakes with picking the correct loop type to use and placing my statements in the right order to get the result I am after. I am not the quickest in the class, and seeing other people have lightbulb moments before I do is something I am having to deal with. I wish I were 20 years younger!

But things are great so far! I have never had a bad day yet. I’ve had bad moments, but not a whole bad day. Can’t wait for Monday!

When I can’t stand to look at a screen any longer I draw.
Here, have a silver laced Wyandotte.


Addendum: Keep Going In Spite of Rejection

I am listening to to Writing Excuses podcast, and they just said something that I really wanted to add to follow up the post I made on failure.

“There is no easy way. This is so much harder than you think it is going to be. Do it anyway because it is so much better than you dream.”

– Howard Tayler.

“Rejection is not negative-validation. You should not be requiring external validation to continue working on your craft. Keep writing. Those things you are tempted to see as negative validation will happen throughout your professional career, and if you can’t write while this is happening, you will have a problem. Learn how to keep writing.”

– Brandon Sanderson

On Quora I have been seeing some negative comments on the likelihood of becoming a web developer in mid-career.  While that may be true, I am going to take these writing quotes and apply them to everything. I know I crave too much validation (I have been compared to Rarity, I’ll let you Google that one.) I want people to say my art is pretty and my story is cute and pat my head over the tiniest thing. No one but your mother will do that in the real world (though, on the Internet you can surround yourself with a circle of people who always like your work, but that’s just a bubble).

Anything worth doing is going to be hard – right at the beginning of Eloquent Javascript it points out the difficulty of the journey. As David says in 2 Samuel 24:24 you can’t offer up something that costs you nothing and expect to reap blessings from it.

Everything takes hard work.

Game Development, JavaScript, and Persistence

Well, this week I have been taking a break from my Udacity project (in a sense) by strengthening my JavaScript and HTML5 Canvas understanding before going back to tackle FEND “Project 3: Frogger Clone”.  Here is some information that has been helping me:

Zenva has a class on making an HTML5 game from scratch. The instructor is fantastic and goes over every line of code. I highly recommend this.

After that course, I went back to my Project 3, and felt I understood a bit more of the direction I should take it. But my core knowledge of JavaScript is still lacking, and I didn’t know how to actually get from point a to point b. Currently I am working my way through Eloquent JavaScript by Marijn Haverbeke, seriously this time, taking notes, working through the exercises in the provided code sandbox.

As I am working through Eloquent Javascript, sometimes I have been hunting up further resources to explain the things in it. For this I am greatly indebted to JavaScript Is  even if the name makes me die a little bit inside.  Get a load of this explanation of Variable Scope!

This week I have discovered a really great podcast, too! It’s called Lostcast by Lost Decade Games and is all about game development. It’s from a very realistic perspective, unlike some of the other podcasts I’ve found.  You can join their forum too, they are great guys. They have encouraged me greatly with art tips.

Lately I’ve felt like I’ve had to concentrate on studying coding, and leave my art and craft skills to rot on the back burner (…that’s a kind of mixed metaphor). But it sounds like there are plenty of reasons to keep honing both art and coding hobbies together. Thank you Matt Hackett! I also look at Rob Stenzinger, another “coding artist”. Also add The John Su to the list of “coding artists I admire who are far more talented in their sleep than I am while concentrating very hard on something, like coding and art.” It’s a surprisingly long list.

Finally, here is a very informative blog post explaining what an entry-level front end (mostly JavaScript) developer really should understand in order to get a job.

I feel bad that all I do is link you to other people, but all these resources are  really great and I want to pass them along!




The Making of My Logo

Here is how I came up with the logo for my “Identiflora” project.

I know normally I would have some pencil sketches, but my idea was all vector fonts from the moment it entered my head, so I didn’t sketch any lines.  I imagined question marks rotated around a circle, looking like flower petals – since my project is about identifying flowers.

many_questionsThe first thing I did was do a cursory Google search, and didn’t discover anyone else using anything like that idea.  (Whew!)


flower_appsNext I decided to check the iTunes App Store both to get an idea of what a good, clear logo would look like, and to see which logos are already out there.  I also consulted this article on How to Create Better App Icons.

logo_1So with that in mind I started making my vector question marks. I began with a base font, and squashed it around a bit so it is “mine” and not a specific font.

I like where this is going but, hey, those question marks are all backwards!

So I flipped them. I also decided this orange color is not reading “flower.” It looks more like “sun.”

I switched to green and red, like red rose petals. But it just wasn’t working for me. I tried some more colors and even added leaves to emphasize “flower.” But I don’t just want a flower, I want a question too. So I finally realized I should make the question mark stand out!

But that doesn’t read as a flower. It’s just a “weird octopus made of question marks”. So I went to my secret flower weapon: pink. This one is a keeper.


What do you think?


Online Learning Tools (Part 4)

I’ve showed you some of my favorite tutorial sites. Now I’m going to briefly describe some of my favorite tutorial podcasts. I love podcasts. I listen to them on my long commute, and sometimes while I’m at work. I sometimes embarrass myself by starting half my conversations with “I was listening to a podcast and someone said…”  Here are some of the ones I have found truly inspirational:

When looking for podcasts iTunes, I always find a lot that have “podfaded” and aren’t ‘making new episodes. They might be worth looking up, but I didn’t list any. I also avoided podcasts marked “E” for “explicit language”.

Web Development:

Start Here
This is a really wonderful podcast, designed to step you through the process of becoming a web developer. They have homework assignments, too! These guys are sincere about what they teach, and invite feedback.

Build & Launch
A new podcast for 2015, you can easily listen to this from its beginning to its current episode, and I suggest you do! Justin Jackson will make you want to make things! He gets me fired up. For season 1 he had a goal to launch a new project every week. I can’t wait to see what happens in season 2.

Coding 101
I don’t catch this one very often since I can’t watch a video podcast while driving to work, but I do recommend this for anyone who wants actual code examples. Father Robert Ballecer is a good teacher. I’ve watched this on my Roku.


Chris Oatley’s Artcast/Paper Wings
I have never seen anyone as intense about art as Chris Oatley, except perhaps Jerzy Drozd. These fellows take visual storytelling more seriously than a lot of Christians I know take Christianity, and it blows my mind.  Be prepared to analyze everything and come away realizing you don’t work hard enough! (Chris Oatley’s Artcast and Paper Wings are basically one show with two feeds, but that link will get you all of them.)

Lean Into Art
Jerzy Drozd is a master visual story teller who isn’t afraid to let you see the inner workings of his art, life, studio, and mind. He shows you what it takes to be a full time artist, and what you have to give up for your art. He is sober and personal and sweet and friendly and makes me want to attend his classes. These podcasts sometimes come with art challenges you can post via twitter to get comments and critiques.

Pencil Kings
Mitch Bowler finds a new rising star to interview in each episode, and they are always proof that if you are in the right place at the right time doing the right thing you can create your dream job. Or at least, someone somewhere did. But they never make it look easy!

Additional Resources:

These two I found while researching iTunes to see if there were any other good resources. I haven’t actually listened to them much yet.

<Web>Agency </Podcast>
A Responsive Web Design Podcast


Online Learning Tools (Part 3)

I’ve discussed some sites already, but I have to get in just a few more that have helped me and may help you.
This was the first online learning site I ever chose to throw my hard-earned cash at. It has a fantastic variety of tutorials, the majority of which are overviews of various software packages. It’s a great site, but you won’t get nearly as much out of it if you don’t own the software you are studying. With Lynda you get “all you care to learn” tutorials for one monthly fee. I am of the opinion that I learn better on the Udacity/Udemy sites where you have actual quizzes/projects, not just watching someone else tell you what each button does. I haven’t tried every Lynda course, though. Some may be set up in a more hands-on system, but there is no way to interact with the instructor.

A couple more I haven’t used, but want to mention:

On to the “art-oriented” tutorials.

Much like Udemy, Craftsy is primarily a “Pay to learn” site, and offers the same one-on-one interaction in the comments. But, frankly I have found more interaction on this site; people want feedback and critique on their art. I found this to be a friendly learning space, and it has many free classes. It also has coupon codes in your e-mail box almost every day, so think about which e-mail you want those to go to when you make your account.

Pencil Kings
I found this site by accident when searching the web for art resources, and I’m glad I did! It offers a great set of free “delivered to your e-mail inbox” tutorials. For a monthly fee you get access to many more. I haven’t taken the time to go through all of my free tutorials. It seems to focus on solid sketching fundamentals. They are always of a very encouraging tone! I believe you get to interact with the instructors as well.

Chris Oatley
This brilliant artist quit his job at Disney in order to start an online teaching school. He is passionate about teaching, passionate about art, and his classes are real “classes”; you have a lot of one-on-one interaction with the teacher, and get out of it what you put in. I haven’t taken one of his classes, but a close friend did.

Here are some other places to find good art tutorials:

Basically anywhere you can search for a tutorial, you will find some. But to improve, you just have to spend time doing the thing no matter what it is!



I have an online portfolio that shows all the best of my best in sculpture, jewelry, photography and art. I wanted to make sure it was linked here for you to find. It is this: Glimmerville Portfolio, and I would be tickled if you would check it out. I also placed it in the permanent side-bar links on this page.

I do think of myself as an artist. Though I don’t currently create art for a day job, I can’t ever expect to do more art if I don’t show others my work, can I? So please, check it out, and feel free to ask about commissions and sales!


OddMall 2014

I had a table at OddMall!  I was next to SikRik Masks.  OddMall was held in the John S Knight center in downtown Akron Ohio, because it outgrew its old venue. I had never been there before, though I am acquainted with the guy who runs the whole show, Andy Hopp, from attending his other conventions. It was exciting to be in a big juried show like this!

Unfortunately I didn’t sell very much. But it was a good experience! If you are interested in buying any of my jewelry or dragons, some of the jewelry is up on Etsy, but it is better to just ask me about my dragons via glimmer [at]

Here be Dragons

Glimmerville at Odd Mall