occasional.email

Greetings from the Western States Pact. Someone mentioned to me that it’s been almost a year since the last time I sent out one of these. So here we go: I’m writing another long email.

doodle.zone is 3 years old

I started doodle.zone because I used to draw something before going to bed and then send it to Kaitlin. Then I started sending it to a handful of people. Eventually I realized “wow this is a lot of work, I could probably automate this somehow”.

So I built a blog to post all of these drawings to, and it’s become one of my favorite things I’ve ever made. It’s been really cool to be able to look back over 3 years of whatever I was practicing drawing or thinking about. I plan on posting to doodle.zone for as long as I can.

Also I created a new view at https://doodle.zone/all/ to see everything at once. This is now my favorite way to look through all of this stuff.

I got way into animation for a few months

I animated a few things on doodle.zone a while back, but I was always frustrated by the mediocre tools available for iPad. Eventually I dug in and started learning Adobe Animate and that was pretty good. There’s also a fun/weird new animation iPad app called Looom that I liked playing around with.

Chop Chomp
Hangin Walk

I’ve been getting back into 3D

Starting out, I learned Cinema 4D because it was the first 3D software that actually made some logical sense to me. But as time went on, the version I bought became increasingly out of date and all of the “cool” tools were annoyingly expensive. This put me in a weird situation where I wanted to keep going and learn more, but doing so in C4D felt like an expensive dead end.

All the while, people have been using the completely free Blender to make some extremely impressive stuff. I figured it would be a great time to jump in and learn now that I understand the fundamentals. Over the last couple of weeks I've been making some stylized models with hand painted textures:

Hatchet & Water Jug

I’ve given up on ever completing that book

I spent several months trying to write and plan out that book about working remotely, only to realize that I didn’t have much of anything to say with it. Trying to compress 6 years of stress and frustration into to some sort of broader story just never made any sense. I think writing it all down and trying to collect my thoughts might have been enough for me.

Also, now that tons of people are being forced to work remotely in the fallout of a global pandemic, me struggling to find a good desk to rent seems kind of inconsequential.

Ultimately I think it was never meant to be a book, and trying to cram everything together into one never felt right. If I were to start over, I think I would just post short comics to doodle.zone and see where that went. Maybe I’ll pick it back up again at some point.

Some things I’ve really enjoyed over the last year

  1. Joe Pera Talks With You
    A quiet show about a choir teacher from Michigan who talks to you about the things he likes. It’s a very weird show that I love very much. I recommend watching it after 10pm. Here’s an entire episode where he talks you back to sleep.

  2. Golf on Mars
    This is the sequel to Desert Golfing, another meditative game with no end. You just keep getting new, randomly generated holes to play. The landscape changes a little bit over time, but it really is just an endless thing to fiddle with. I’ve been trying to play this instead of reading the internet.

  3. Animal Crossing
    Everyone is playing Animal Crossing, and even probably sick of hearing about it. It really has been the most pleasant way to spend uh… 200+ hours during lockdown? Yikes! Anyway, I’m very proud of the arcade I’ve built in my house.

  4. Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!
    I don’t watch a lot of anime, but I really loved this show about an anime club trying to learn how to make and sell their own work. It’s beautifully animated and just a nice time overall. Also it has a great intro.

  5. Wattam
    An extremely strange game from the creator of my all time favorite series Katamari Damacy. At one point a giant toilet shows up to the party and the game cheerfully welcomes it back. So good.

Alright, I think that’s it for now.
Paul 👋

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