New newsletter, coding brushes and tidying up my notes
I'm finally getting back to my mailing list
Hello there! I’m Gabriele - in art Flygohr - a multidisciplinary visual artist that likes to learn, grow and write.
This week I wanted to talk about this newsletter, about how I coded my own generative brushes and about how neglect for my note-taking system is adding stress to my life.
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Without further ado, let’s jump into this week’s topics.
Welcome (back) 👋🏻
This post will probably first reach only people that in the past (like, years ago) subscribed to my MailChimp or TinyLetter mailing lists - so this might come as a surprise. I just want to tell you that a lot has changed since the last time I wrote a piece and, if you want, you can unsubscribe straight away and never hear from me again.
For those who don’t remember, I’m a digital artist. I create illustrations, but I do also write, code, read, research, watch, animate, compose, study, experiment and most importantly, constantly grow. I have a website with a few links and a bio here, it’s been recently updated, too!
If you want to stay, please note that my goal here is to be informal and focus on providing content regularly for people interested in digital art, productivity and personal growth. More specifically, I plan on sharing bits and pieces from my journey as a freelance multidisciplinary artist: journal entries, links, articles, guides and whatever I find interesting enough to share during my week. I consume LOTS of content, so while consistency might still prove a challenge, having something to share won’t.
Now on Substack
As I said, I tried multiple services in the past but I’m now set on Substack. Why?
It’s easy to use
It has lots of integrations I can maybe exploit in the future
It can be easy to monetize later on
I am aware there are lots of competitors and I spent some time in the past few days exploring the various options. Here are a few of the most interesting reads and explainers I came by that helped inform my decision:
This switch has also been inspired by Kaloh, who has their own newsletter here about collecting art on Tezos, an eco-friendly blockchain. Speaking of blockchain..
My 2nd attempt at generative art 💻
As you might know (or not, in that case here’s a summary) I’ve been deeply involved in creating art on Tezos, but up until recently, my main focus has always been figurative, hand drawn art such as illustrations, comics, portraits.. you know it. But now I’m starting to learn how to code ‘creatively’ thanks to the fx(hash) platform and I’m starting to dive deep into purely code based generative art. I made a first attempt last month with my ABSTRACTS VOL.00, but I didn’t stop there. I started trying to write a code equivalent of my favorite Clip Studio Paint brushes to add more of my style to the compositions.
As always, I start by creating a board on my Pinterest and I then add a few images that I either found myself, or that I get through the Pinterest search function. When I have a dozen images in the board, I switch to the ‘more ideas’ tab to take advantage of the Pinterest’s algo.
Creating the canvas
I mainly use the p5.js framework to code my generative artworks - abstract or not. I usually start by laying down my idea using code comments, establishing what I think the best workflow might be. For this generative artwork I wanted to mimic at least a few of my favorite digital brushes, so I started to look around for tutorials on how to actually get something similar in code. For the brushes, I settled on a few simple ones: a sketchy, straight line brush; a blocky, rectangular brush; and a spray, scattered dots kind of brush. To create them I took inspiration from the following tutorials:
Adding the trees
This was by far the most challenging aspect of creating the piece. I also didn’t plan on having ‘trees’ specifically in the composition at the beginning, it just came to me while trying to add random white, heavy strokes on top of the background. But just having the idea is definitely not enough, so I started looking at ways I could actually code trees myself.
You see, I’m not a coder. I’m a tinkerer. I Frankenstein bits of working code together. I fiddle. I stumble, look for a solution, I try to implement it.
I looked around at recursive trees, L-systems and other algorithms but most of them were too advanced for me. I needed something simpler, and I found this amazing tutorial on space colonization algorithms by Coding Train.
After a few tweaks, I managed to get to a result that I truly enjoyed working on. Here’s an iteration of the final code for reference:
Tidying up my notes 📝
I’m a big fan of ‘second brain frameworks’, as I call them. A way to organize notes, events, ideas, images, and most importantly to-do’s and projects under one giant umbrella. I won’t go into the details of my system in this post, but please let me know if you’d like me to in a future one. For now, just know it consists of a mix of GTD, the ZTD variant, Bullet Journal Method and the PARA and CODE systems. If they don’t ring a bell I’d suggest you to Google them up, they can really make a difference in your growth process.
I am very good at something I call collecting, or quick capture, which is a very important habit of constantly logging ideas, to-do’s, links and every kind of resource I stumble upon in a trusted system for me to review later on. Something that really stuck with me from the GTD book was this quote here:
Your mind is for having ideas, not for holding on to them - David Allen
However, I’m not really good at the review stage, or process as I prefer to call it. Basically, in periods of increased workload and stress, I tend to just accumulate stuff and I never get back to it to sort, schedule or delete it. This might seem like the smart thing to do - who has time to sift through notes and to-do’s in a crashing market and with loads of bills to pay? Just do the things you need to do and be done with it!
Well, that’s a big mistake - or at least, it is in my humble opinion. It might seem like I’m saving time, but I’m hurting myself in the long run by doing so. By not having a trusted system in place anymore my stress increases, I lose time trying to figure out what’s next to do, I get creative blocks and I am, overall, more sad.
If you, like me, are neglecting some organizational steps in your digital notes, to-do’s, or filesystem workflows I’d highly encourage you to dedicate at least half an hour a day to put things in the right order. The peace of mind that comes out of having the system in place is simply irreplaceable - no coffee, app or nap will save you from that.
See you next week? 📆
That’s it, that was the ‘newsletter’. This is the kind of journal I’d like to publish every week, sometimes it will be shorter, sometimes longer. Sometimes it might be geared more towards visual artists, sometimes more towards geeks and productivity junkies. Sometimes some other persona entirely. I hope you’ll bear with me, I really have a lot of different passions and loads of ideas, projects, adventures I like to take on. Please let me know in the comments what do you think and if you have any questions.
Every week I have a few links to share. They could be articles, memes, entire books or simple Twitter threads that caught my attention in the past few days.
About me 👤
I am a self-taught digital artist from Italy. I am a multidisciplinary artist and a huge nerd. It means I can draw, paint, code, write, compose, sculpt and more. I also like books, RPGs, documentaries and I might be a productivity junkie. I’ve been doing this for my entire life, but now I do it better. You can find lots of links and a bio on my main website, or you can follow me on Twitter where I post daily.
Thanks for reading Flygohr’s Ramblings. If you liked what you just read, please subscribe!