Replacing my notebook…

There was a time where I used to collect notebooks as a hobby! Even though I never wrote anything in them, I was proud to own so many for some reason… I was a weird one…

But as time went on, my work life became very dependent on writing notes within meetings. I explored many different options when writing notes and the best way for me was to write on a piece of paper with a biro pen.

After the many notebooks (lined and plain notebooks) I found that I would always need to go out to buy a new notebook when they become full… Also, the information that I write is sensitive information and if they become pointless, I will need to find a way to get rid of it securely so that no one else sees it.

Enter the iPad Pro…

So I use my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil to draw a lot and when I am at work, I do not use it for any purpose unless it is for video calls as an alternative for my webcam. This made me realise that using the iPad for writing notes could be useful for note taking.

I took a look from YouTubers and articles to see the pros and cons. Then I took a look at the apps that people use too and compared them to each other.

I decided to use the app GoodNotes (https://www.goodnotes.com/).

I have now been writing notes on this app for over 6 months now and I think its safe to make a review of what my opinion.

When writing notes, the notes are being saved locally and having to know that they are accessible at anytime is great. The app also emulates reviewing your previous pages.

For the first few weeks, I found it a bit hard to write on a screen as the physical interaction between the Apple Pencil and the iPad screen was slippery. This caused my handwriting to look wobbly in the strokes. This was a

Also, there were a few times I had a split decision upon whether I should use the erase tool or the undo function. Often than not, during the pressure of writing the notes, I am faced with that dilemma which makes me miss a few points within meetings. Sounds like a small thing but thinking about all my previous meetings, I have noticed myself hovering over erase or undo…

I found a few settings within the GoodNotes app where I am able to change the sensitivity of the movement with the stylus. This makes my writing less wiggly so that makes it readable when I come back to it. I also bought the Paperlike screen cover to make it feel like I am writing on paper.

As an overall experience, I would still prefer the pen and paper. Something about writing on a screen makes my eyes feel tired and the slippery screen makes me break the illusion that I am writing on a screen. Also, when coming to the bottom of the screen, my finger makes the screen move.

I will continue to keep using it for work just for security purposes but if there is another way I can save paper AND cover security, then I would like to try it…

I hope this helps in some way for those trying to pick between a notetaking device or the classic paper and pen…

My perspective for drawing – Process from start to finish…

I wanted to give my opinion about drawing. This post was a long time coming as I only started drawing over 5 years ago. That does seem like a long time ago…

On this website, I have posted different drawings in another category (You can check the drawings at this link: http://www.bydood.com/category/doods-drawing/). If I were to journey back to my first ever drawing, I feel like I have gone a very long way! Like, seriously! I started journey with no experience about drawing!

I feel so proud of myself…

From the beginning, I took this hobby to play around and never thought of even posting anything online. I ended up posting just so I can have it stored somewhere. I found that the more I drew, the more I found new ways to play around with perspectives and tools.

With the many different tools I have been through, I found a process that I have been following for the artwork I do! I am still learning but definitely has been consistent forw 2 or 3 years now.

I now use the Procreate app onan iPad Pro (2018) with an Apple Pencil.

So here is my process when I start drawing:

  • Pick up iPad
  • Pick up Apple Pencil
  • Open Procreate
  • Choose “Technical Pencil”
  • Change colour to blue
  • Start sketching the concept in my head

On a regular basis, I would just wake up and think of random scenarios then ask myself “how can I draw that?” Then I start thinking about an interesting angle… And off I go to start sketching!

Sketching the concept is my second favourite step in the process of drawing. It becomes technical and fun to figure out how to make a drawing interesting! It almost feels like I am problem solving and once the concept becomes closer to the image in my head, I feel like I just figured out a hard equation to a math problem! (Not that I am comparing it to Math!)

I spend a huge amount of time just sitting around thinking about what to draw, when I finally have a concept, I start sketching!

After when the sketch is complete, I follow the next coming steps for LINE DRAWING:

  • Change tool to Inking
  • Choose “Technical Pen”
  • Select Stabilisation > StreamLine > Amount = 75%
  • Change colour to black
  • Create a new layer
  • Start drawing over my blue lined sketch with a thick black line

This is the most relaxing step ever and probably my FAVOURITE step when drawing. There is just something very relaxing about it. When just following lines with the Apple Pencil, just something satisfying and listening to some music makes me realise that life is good and simple!

When the black lines are smooth and ready, I start the COLOURING process:

  • Start researching colours to figure out which ones I want to use
  • Add the colours to the palettes
  • Select Airbrushing > Hard Brush
  • Colour the base with a medium toned colour
  • Select size of brush
  • Start colouring the blank spaces

This one is very relaxing. I manually colour the gaps and spaces by just strokes. I never use the auto fill command; that feels boring. This process is very important to me and I like to take my time on this one. All I do is turn on very soothing music and start colouring! I can completely zone out during this time…

And finally whatever finishing touches I need to do (whether its shading, lighting or backgrounds), I just add one more layer and add those extra parts in!

As I mentioned before, this process really works for me and has been for the past couple of years. I am really curious about other peoples’ art process! Really keen to try new ways!

I hope this helps anyone that has been thinking about getting into the art field! I’m no expert AT ALL but happy to try help those who want to try…

Converting WordPress to Angular

I am in the middle of creating a new website. THIS blog website actually!

Having a think about the look and feel of my current blog with the basic theme just does not feel like the website I actually wanted.

So I started creating my own theme in WordPress and every time I tried, it got boring when converting components in PHP and then pulling out the WordPress functions…

One thing about me is if I am doing a website for myself, I would prefer to just do everything in the front end and if I need to do a small amount of backend, I don’t mind it. I just like seeing things move!

I began researching upon whether there are ways to convert WordPress to Angular…

And the answer is YES!

I found one way which is very interesting! To achieve this, I used the following plugin:

WP REST API Controller plugin basically converts your posts into an API where you are able to display your content however you want! All it would need is a AJAX call and then you control how to display the content.

So with this, I started researching further with how to call certain posts and how to display the pages on the Angular page. Not long after, I found a few websites and developers using this same API.

I started with the following API:
…/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?page=1&categories=150&_embed

This pulls out something like the following:

This is what made me realise that this is possible to do my whole blog in Angular! So now I am just fully invested in doing this new website!

So as of so far, I have spent a few weeks working with this API and will be posting updates as I go. Its going pretty slow but this makes me focus more of my front end development instead of playing around with server side code.

We will see how this goes……

Working from home or the office?

From looking back from the previous post, it has been 5 years since my last blog post! Thinking back at all the things I have done, I feel like I need to write something!

Before I get into it, analysing the posts before, I realised just how much I was trying to make this blog into something that was meant to be inspiring for others. The more I thought about it and the content I was writing, the more this blog became less about benefiting me. This is where I want to steer this blog back to what it was set out to be:

Life updates and general rants to keep me sane!

Every time when I start something, I always think “how can this benefit me and how can this make me money in the future?” Then I go into this rabbit hole of how to do this and changing my content to relate to my readers. And then the content becomes harder to write as I start to think “will anyone like this”? This had caused me to stop writing my blogs. But this did make me find another hobby I never thought I would have gotten into though… DRAWING!

But the simple reality should really just be writing blogs so that stuff just doesn’t get built up in my head and letting it out somewhere… So there is the small explanation of the silence…

So… Where have I been?

I guess a lot happens in 5 years but the past 2 years have been very quiet and that is of course to do with the pandemic! Let’s talk about that!

Since the lockdown ended almost a month ago, it almost feels like the lockdown never happened but I sure as hell know it did and it almost made me go CRAZY!

When my work switched from the office to home, it started off well. I liked the thought of how flexible it was. But then as time went on, it became a horrible experience.

So I found that at the end of a work day, I tend to always forget the time and end up working overtime without me knowing it. I think the biggest difference in the office is that when you see everyone is leaving, that is usually the trigger to stop working! But when remote, I have the illusion that everyone is still working resulting in me needing to work too. I need to change that!

With this extra overtime accidentally happening, it tends to make me lose focus with my personal hobbies and detach me from a lot of other things I could be working on.

On top of this point, I spend a huge amount of time on the same computer and the environments start to get very merged in together. My workstation is now a “work environment” where it used to be a “gaming/creative environment”. It does become harder to identify whether my workstation is a place I can switch my brain off…

So when people ask me:

Which do you prefer? Working from home or working in the office?

My answer would actually be “a bit of both”.

There are great advantages working from home. It gives me a flexible lifestyle to do small errands and continue work as per normal. On the other hand, going to the office gives me a social aspect to have small talk and know that there is life outside the “remote bubble”.

The restrictions do seem to be lifting and it does come to be a big relief that this is happening.

I suppose when things go back to normal, I would prefer to work 2 days in the office and 3 days at home. That sounds to me like a very good balance!

What do you prefer?