My untitled action adventure game *is* still in development!
Things are just going slower than expected... which has actually been great! My super observant eyes finally noticed that I hadn't posted anything since October, and I thought it was time to put out some updates. First, I'll talk about the Digital Den. Look out for another post about my game!
The Digital Art Studio, the Digital Den, at the Seminole Recreation Division
In October 2016, I signed a contract to teach Digital Arts at the Seminole Recreation Division. The Holland G Mangum Recreational Complex had just added something called the Digital Den, a unique Digital Arts Studio unlike anything else you'd find in a recreational environment. The Digital Den has a strong focus on serving a generally unfilled need in recreational settings. That is, geeks like me having way more fun on a computer than a basketball field, or soccer court! Just messing with ya. Seriously though, if you'd rather be making comics, games, posters, or music than playing sports, this place was built for you!
Funded by donations from the city's Director of Community Development, Mark Ely, the Digital Den offers 10 high end computers, a gaggle of Wacom tablets (ranging from Draw, to Intuos Pro, and even a couple of Cintiqs), music equipment, and just about every professional piece of software you could ever want to get your hands on. The goal of the Den is to offer a fun, safe environment to learn Digital Art, in the same way the recreation center offers a fun, safe environment to learn sports and fitness. Among the sophistication of the equipment, and incredible variety of software, it is also a goal of mine to quietly put out an important, subtle message. A message with a purpose.
Challenging the unfortunate stigma of the "starving artist", a concept perpetuated by creative industries wanting to justify taking advantage of new talent. Not to mention challenging the idea that these activities are *only* for fun, and that it can't be serious work. Not everyone realizes the huge amount of time and skill required in creative fields, and the numerous rewards of working in those fields. I want to make sure kids and young adults know there is a future in the vast array of digital art related fields. Do you like making your own beats, creating your own digital art, or building your own games? If anyone has ever told you drawing, painting, games, or music just aren't worth your time, I challenge that! You don't have to settle for hobby status. You can pursue a degree, and/or jump into the work force, and do any of those things professionally!
Additionally, if you're an adult who grew up hearing that you should focus on "more serious/sensible things", not having the opportunity to explore art or digital art more, the Digital Den is also for you. If you bounced by the Home page, you probably noticed there's quite a lot going on over the Summer, and the plan is to kick everything up a notch in the Fall. With the help of some awesome people (including the Recreation Director, Program Coordinator, and additional insight from Mark Ely), I'm developing a steadily increasing number of courses to offer, and updating the course structure to be more appealing (more on that after the Summer). While the broader focus is on reaching kids and young adults roughly 6 to 17 years old, I offer a lot for adults, too. Adults are welcome to sign up for these courses, and jump into this creative world! And if you're looking to use Digital Art as a tool to enhance your new business, the Summer now offers workshops to serve exactly that need!
Now, it's time to discuss the magical place in time and space known as "Open Den". To be as accommodating as possible, I volunteer 6 hours a week through the Summer to host Open Den. You have the opportunity to visit the Digital Den, at no fiscal cost, and explore all the hardware and software available to you. It's pretty relaxed. You can sit down at a computer and open up every piece of software you want to check out. Most of those I can field questions and insights about. You can meet me, get a feel for the scope of my knowledge and experience, and decide if taking one of my courses is right for you.
You've essentially got the freedom to do your own thing at your own pace, but just because there's no cost, doesn't mean there isn't a price. I'm doing this to spread awareness about what the Digital Den has to offer, which is primarily paid instruction in Digital Arts. You'll have to expect that I will bother you with questions about your interests, and talk about my upcoming courses. A small price to pay, I think!
There is an important "restriction" you should be aware of. Except when necessary for a course, these computers are *not* Wi-Fi enabled. If you come expecting to browse the web for hours, you'll leave disappointed. If you come looking to explore industry standard creative software, and the leading pen display/pen tablet technology in the world, you'll probably have a blast!
Digital Arts Instructor