Author: Arcturus

True Colors

I was not expecting my next post to be like this. When I created Paint On The Keys, it was not my intention to speak on matters of politics or civil rights. The intended purpose of my blog is to discuss Art & Technology hobbyism. But now, in the middle of the night I mind myself feeling prompted to speak out against a travesty that is occurring in my country. This is a topic that is near and dear to me. And I cannot tolerate staying silent in the face of cowardice, oppression, and bigotry. Today we’re going to have the pleasure of talking about Nazis.

 

As I’m sure my readers all know, this past weekend a group of White Supremacists, including members of the KKK and the Neo-Nazi party held a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. These people were upset over the liberal city’s plans to remove a monument display of a statue of General Lee of the traitorous confederate army from the public. Now, Charlottesville is probably the furthest thing from a hotbed for White Supremacy, so as you can imagine, most of the racists who descended upon the city were from other cities, or even states. These racists were met by counter-protesters who could not sanction their bigotry.

As you can see in this video posted by Vice News, the rally went exactly as you would expect it to.

It turns out that Nazis are really horrible individuals who take joy in chanting vile maxims such as “Jews will not replace us”, “F*** you f*****s”, “Blood & Soil”, among many others. And they did not stop at chants. Throughout the rally, these Nazis would carry various arms like clubs and shields, and use them to attack counter-protesters. And on Saturday afternoon, the unthinkable happened when of the Nazis entered his car drove toward a crowd of counter-protesters at full speed, killing 35-year old woman Heather Heyer and injuring at least 19 others. A deadly domestic terrorist attack occurred on American soil.


That alone sounds like a rather terrifying and pivotal moment in history, doesn’t it? Well, the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump decided that weekend could still get worse and decided to throw gasoline on the fire in way that should never be acceptable by anyone holding public office. A few hours after the attack, the President held a press conference where he referred to the events of Charlottesville as a tragedy that was the fault of “many sides”. He said that twice. Not once did he mention the fact that Nazis were marching in American streets, not once did he use the word “terrorism” to describe the monstrous attack that occurred our county. He molded this deadly rally of hatred into an issue “both sides” acting badly. Telling the country that we should “respect history”, in reference to the city’s plan to remove the confederacy monument.

 

As you can imagine, this response that was tepid at best, and a dogwhistle to white supremacy ideology at worst, faced massive criticism from most democrats and a collection of establishment level republicans. Just about the only group that seemed to be overwhelming pleased by Trump’s initial statement were the Nazis themselves. Expressing their words of thanks for being legitimized on various white supremacy internet communities. So the following Monday, the President was prompted by the negative reaction to revise his statements in a second conference. He read from a TelePrompter like a schoolyard bully forced to to read a hardhazardly thrown together letter of apology to classmates. He called the Nazis and KKK by name, but still refused to refer to the ISIS-style attack at Charlottesville as an act of terror. For some, this revision of his original statement was considered satisfactory. For many others, it was considered too little, too late.

But that’s not where this demented tale ends. I wish I could say this story ended with a lackluster second response before everything went back to normal, but that’s not how Donald J. Trump operates. You see, on the very next day, this so-called leader of the free world made it clear that he didn’t really want to say anything about Charlottesville’s tragedy when he headed straight to Twitter and RT’d an image of a train about to strike a person with a CNN logo superimposed on their head with the caption “Nothing Stops the Trump Train”. Three days after Americans are run over by a Nazi Terrorist, the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES retweets that.

After one of the few sane people left in the White House presumably snatched his phone away from him and deleted the RT, with the excuse that some “young intern” posted it, later on in the afternoon Trump held a third press conference at Trump Tower. Where the most egregious part of this week so far happened.

I’ll let Anderson Cooper give you the quick rundown. 

Yes, you are seeing that correctly, the President of the United States decided to double down on his initial softball response to Nazism and even went as far to defend the monsters that marched on Charlotteville on Saturday. He took his “both sides” mentality to an extreme by saing that there were some “very fine” people among the marching Nazis on that day, and blamed the victims of a terrorist attack by making a false claim that the counter-protesters were charging at the Nazis with weapons (F.Y.I. THIS NEVER HAPPENED). Saying that they shouldn’t have been there because they “didn’t have permits”. President Trump has decided that he will be known as the President that defended Nazis attacking American Citizens on live national television.

 

I’d like to say that I’m surprised, but I’m not, really. Anyone familiar with the 2016 Presidential Campaign that right from the start, Trump targeted minority and rose to power by advocating on a platform of hate and invigorating the once thought dormant racists of America. In hindsight, nobody should be shocked that Trump has found favor with Nazis, he has two of them in his cabinet!

The President has sent the message across the country not once, but twice, that he’s A-okay with White Nationalism, Antisemitism, and any other vile -ism that can exist in America. The level of legitimacy that we’re seeing put on the national stage is something that probably won’t be reversed for some time to come. America is being led by a man who refuses to what has been historically, the least controversial position any politician can take, condemning the Nazis, a group whose ideology is responsible for one of the most horrifying human rights abuses in history, The Holocaust.

This pathetic excuse for a leader has to be relieved of his position. It’s not acceptable by any measure for the United States to run on the policy of turning a blind eye toward a resurgence of Nazism that has already claimed the lives of citizens and will most certainly continue now that they have been emboldened by the highest office of the land.

 

The fact that I even had to write all of this is tangible proof that the USA is currently trapped in a living nightmare, and that every fear I had after the election has taken form. To all reading this, please be vigilant of those who wish to strike against human decency, and hold those ones who hold any kind of power in the country accountable for their words and positions. I pray that one day, this horrible nightmare will be over. For now, we have to focus on the reveal of our leadership’s True Colors.

Update #1

Hello readers, It’s been a while since my last post. I’ve spent the last month focusing on getting back in school and working on my job portfolio, so I didn’t have much time to write. Fortunately, I’m back into the swing of things and will now be able to post more frequently in the foreseeable future.

 

Here’s some stuff that happened since mid-June:

  • I turned 25 in early July!
  • I got my hands on a new digital drawing tablet
  • I achieved a 4.00 GPA during my first session at Uni (which I fully intend to maintain, mind you)
  • I’m now looking to join the NBSE

I started my second session of Uni Classes last week. I’m now attending a class that’s relevant to my major called Developing Professional Communications. It mainly focuses on the proper usage of Office programs. Which is obviously going to be important for software engineering, because you need to be able to communicate and network properly with your team and whatever company or institution you work for. My professor for the course is a pretty well accomplished software programmer I feel I’m going to learn a lot from him. I could say I already have, since now my current resume and profile has improved.

 

Now, on to what I’ll be working on for the site:

  • Episode 2 of both Adventures in Art Adventures in Programming will release this week. Expect me to talk about the tools I use for Art and my progress in learning Python
  • Some reviews: The aforementioned tablet I received this month is a an Intuos Art: Pen & Touch and I can’t wait to express my thoughts on it soon. I’m also planning to order John Sonmez’s new book, The Complete Software Developer’s Career Guide this week. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to review that since it’s a very long book (nearly 800 pages!), but I’d love to offer my perspective of it as a newbie in the field to help others see if it’s worth it.
  • I’d like to start a sub series in mid to late August covering accomplished artists and programmers

That’s all I have to say for now. Thanks for reading, and be sure to follow @paintotk on Twitter to get updates on new posts as they’re made!

Adventures in Programming – 01

Welcome to the first episode of Adventures in Programming! In today’s article, I’m going to discuss what inspired me to get into software programming and what steps I’ve taken to start learning.

Start of My Ambition

For the longest time, I could never figure out what I wanted to do with my life. When I was a teenager, the last thing I would ever catch myself thinking about seriously was my future. I was one of those guys who would look like a deer caught in the headlights whenever I was asked the classic question: Where do you see yourself in x years?. This had a negative effect on my personal life. I fell behind on my studies in High School. In retrospect I guess I just didn’t see much of a point to try if I didn’t even know what I wanted to do with my life. It wasn’t until after my first attempt at college that I started discover what I wanted to do with myself.

 

As I mentioned in my intro post for the site, I’ve always held an interest in computers. At times I’ve thought of becoming a graphic designer, but those musings never took hold. I’ve also have been a gamer since I was little, so I guess what really gravitated me towards software development was the opportunity to learn how to build videos games of my own. Over time I’ve become more and more curious about what makes computer hardware and software work. So a lifelong hobby ended up being what propelled me to plot out a path for my future.

 

Learning Programming

I started off my journey in learning programming by looking up tutorials for various languages online. One site that I was recommended was Learn C++ . Learn C++ is a completely free site that provides detailed tutorials on learning the programming language C++.

C++ is a rather difficult language for beginners to start with. While I didn’t get too far in Learn C++’s lessons, I did learn some really crucial basics to computer programming that were helpful to me. Like, downloading an operating an Integrated Development Environment to assist with my coding, the concept of language syntax. Later on I was introduced to another tutorial site known as Learning Python the Hard Way. This site covers a completely different programming language known as Python.

 

Python is a much easier language for beginners, although it can be a bit too easy and runs the risk of making more complex languages a bit difficult to get into. What I really like about Python the Hard Way is how the author explains his methodology for teaching material very clear and concise. You follow every lesson example to the letter in order to impart techniques for coding in Python much more effectively. And build good habits for programming in general. Instead of using a development environment like I mentioned before, the site teaches you to code using a combination of a text editor and the Command Line Interface. Luckily, the site includes a helpful tutorial for CLI in case you’ve never used it before.

In Closing

I decided to go through Python the Hard Ways lessons in the meantime while waiting to eventually start the classes directly related to my major in college. It’s good to get my feet wet in the process as soon as I can aim to be in the top of my field.

I’m really excited to learn as much as I can about software programming. More episodes like this will come to chronicle my experiences in learning. As always, thank you for reading, and be sure to check back often!

 

 

Class is in Session!

I just wanted to make a short update to mention that my first class for my first session at my University has started earlier today. I’ve finally taken my first step in achieving my Bachelor’s in software development so I’m pretty pumped up right now. I’ve already done a lot of preliminary work, and I managed to score some free credits by doing an acceleration test for one of my courses. Since I passed, I won’t have to take comp101 or it’s lab material, meaning that I can get to the real meat of my degree even faster.

Of course, preparing for attendance at a new college has been rather time consuming, so updates on my Adventures series has unfortunately been rather slow. While I love working on this blog, classwork takes top priority. Fortunately, I’ve gotten most of my work out of the way early, so tomorrow I’ll have the opportunity to release the first episode of Adventures in Programming, so be sure to look forward to that. In the first episode, I’ll be discussing what inspired me to pursue programming as a skill and what steps I’ve taken to get my feet under the water, including some very helpful resources and tutorials.

Until next time…

 

Email + Social Media

As my last update for today, I’d like to post some brief contact info for anybody who wants keep updated

You can contact my through Email with paintotk@gmail.com

I also have a Twitter account, and Pinterest.

I have added this info to the About/Contact section of the site’s menu. Expect more to come as time goes on!

Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon

Yesterday, a brand new mainline Pokémon title was announced during Nintendo’s Pokémon Direct! The games are called Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon and will be enhanced versions of last year’s Sun & Moon releases with new content and story changes.

Watch Here

I’ve been a pretty big Pokemon fan since the beginning with Pokémon Red & Blue, so you can bet that I’m totally psyched to play it in November. I can’t wait to draw some great fanart for it, too!

Adventures in Art – 01

Welcome to my very first episode of Adventures in Art! Sorry this came a bit later than expected, I had to make sure the preparations for my semester starting next week were in order.

 

Adventures in Art – Episode 1

 How I Got Started

    I’d say a good place to start chronicling my study of drawing is to explain how I started getting into the craft! I started actual self-study of drawing late last year when I was introduced to some nice drawing tutorials. One of which being a tutorial on how to draw faces by the skilled alexds1 on devianart. I’ve tried teaching myself to draw when I was a teenager but I didn’t really look at tutorials and just went by eye. I usually would stop when I realized I had no idea how to draw hands and would give up.

What I’ve Learned so Far

   The critical thing I learned when I started following alexds’s tutorials is that the key to being a good artist is to start by drawing basic shapes to act as a foundation of what you want to draw. Too often, new artists like myself will fall into a trap called “symbol drawing”, in which you try to draw an object from your memory of what it should look like. This causes your art to look very awkward since you don’t know how to render your art in a way that accurately portrays your intended object. In order to start learning to draw effectively, you have to realize a very basic rule of observation: Start seeing every object as being built up of several basic shapes, rather than just the object itself. Hands used to be a very daunting task for me but once I learned how to start drawing from foundation, I became much more comfortable with them.

   This is covered very early on in Andrew Loomis’s Drawing the Head & Hands. The best way to start drawing a human head is to begin with a simple circle! It doesn’t even half to be a perfect one, just suitable to begin the foundation of the skull. Breaking everything you observe down to its basic elements is the key to developing approaches to render on paper. It’s unanimous lesson in all the tutorials I’ve checked out so far.

If you’re a visual learner and want to see how these techniques are applied first hand, you may want to view some video tutorials. I great site I discovered is https://www.ctrlpaint.com . It’s mainly centered around teaching you how to draw digital art, but the early lessons teach you how to draw traditionally (after all, how do you expect to draw well with a computer if you can’t on paper?).

Some of My Early Art

To finish, I’m going to show you how this sources helped influence my start as an artist by posting some sketches I made:

 

They may look rather amateur at this point, but I’m still really proud! As they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, so every step forward no matter how small is important.

Until next time…

What I Aim to Do With This Site

As I mentioned in my previous post, my main purpose for Paint on the Keys is to chronicle my growth as an artist and a programmer. I figured that the best way to do that is by setting up the following two series for this blog:

  • Adventures in Art – In which I talk about what I’m learning in Art, what materials and references I use, and my personal thoughts on the learning process.
  • Adventures in Programming – The same as above, but for programming. I’m currently self-studying Python and the Command Line Interface, so expect to see a lot of that when this starts. Since I’ll be attending classes for my major in BSIT, I’m assuming that the Programming series will have more frequent posts in the beginning.

I would like to the above to be the core content for PotK. Hopefully years form now when I become skilled in both fields, everyone can look back in the archives and see step by step how I was able to accomplish my goals.

 

I would also like to post helpful tech-based tutorials. There are a lot of cool things that can be done with computers, and I love to take advantage of the experience I have from using them and teach the readers of this blog about helpful tips and tricks, and even recommend programs that I like.

 

Finally, I will also post about my hobbies like gaming, manga, and tokusatsu. It would be really neat to talk about the things I love to do in my free time, maybe post my background with different series and write up reviews to show what’s worth looking into. I hope you’ll all have as much fun reading this as I do writing!

The first episodes of Adventures in Art/Programming should be coming this week once I get college orientation out of the way. Until then, see ya!

Birth of a New Blog!

Hello there, readers! This is Arcturus, and I’d like to welcome you all to my blog, Paint on the Keys. I made this site to chronicle my journey in learning how to draw art and program software. My username is inspired by the 4th brightest star in the night sky, Arcturus.

A Little About Myself

I’m a college student in his early 20s who is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology, specializing in Software Analysis and Development. Ever since I was little, I’ve been enamored with everything tech related, you’ll always find me typing at a computer or playing a fun video game. So of course, as I grew up, I realized that the best kind of career for me to take was something involving computers. At first I wanted to either be a graphic designer or an IT manager, but my experience and influence from video games as a hobby really drew me to software development. I find the field so attractive because I see it as a way to express myself in an environment I’ve been comfortable with my whole life, and I can have the opportunity to have people experience fantastic stories and settings like the ones I play through all the time in video games.

Recently, I’ve decided to take up Art as a hobby. When I was younger, I always loved reading comics and watching cartoons from all over the world and thinking how cool it would be to develop a nice artstyle and start producing great works myself. Well, I’ve finally gotten sick of leaving my dreams as dreams and am now learning how to draw. I’m only a beginner but I believe I have a lot of potential!

It’s gonna be a tough road learning two different broad disciplines like drawing and programming, but if I stick through with it, I think my determination will pay off in dividends! Imagine becoming skilled in both programming and art, I’d be one hell of a triple threat. I’m also really interested in seeing how these two hobbies can overlap. What can I learn about programming from drawing, and what can I learn about drawing from programming?

 

Hobbies

Here’s some stuff I like besides art & programming:

 

  • Video Games – Role-Playing Games, or RPGs being my favorite genre
  • Anime/Manga – I mainly love action based stuff and comedies. But any series that stands out in a special way is definitely something I’m interested in
  • Tokusatsu – A Japanese genre of live action television usually starring superheroes. You know, stuff like Kamen Rider, Super Sentai, and Ultraman.
  • Japanese Language – Since 2012 I’ve been studying Japanese on and off with the goal of being able to read native level material
  • Music – Being a video game fan, I do listen to gaming soundtracks very often, but I’m also interested in genres like Prog Rock, Hip Hop, and R&B

Surprise, surprise, the aspiring programmer is a total nerd. Expect me to post about the above stuff in-between all my studies on art and tech.

 

Anyways, that was my brief intro post, keep reading Paint on the Keys to learn more about me and my aspirations!