365 Days of Random: A Year In Review (Sort Of)
By Alex Miller Posted On Tuesday, August 20, 2013 //
Wow, an entire year has passed since I started sharing my themes and icons with the world. When I look back, it all really got started when I was rocking a Blackberry Storm 1. However, I didn't really get into making high quality icons and themes for Android until August of 2012. With nowhere near enough thanks to the minds behind MyColorScreen and r/androidthemes for creating awesome communities full of helpful people and great artists that were just a little bit ahead of their time.
Back then I was in between careers because of a bad back and just being basically fed up with the industry I was in. I was doing everything I could to learn Android development on my own. Staying up all night studying the sample projects included in the sdk, spending countless hours on thenewboston.org, learning about the Android kernel and even compiling my own for my Evo. I was having too much fun and decided that, after tons of research, I could possibly make a career out of this.
So I set off to make an app. I was going to call it "Geo Tasks"(1)..you can imagine what the app would do. It would have been a location based reminder app. Sounded so simple to me at the time. There were one or two apps like this in the Android Market but they didn't work. So I thought that I, with my limited knowledge of java, would set out to solve that problem. Kind of naive, yet I pushed on.
Eventually I needed some graphic assets for the app. I fired up my girlfriends MacBook and went to town in Photoshop. Only problem was my skills were lacking. That's when I found TutVid and other helpful design sites and suddenly realized that if developing for Android was going to be a fun career, then DESIGNING for Android would be, just, pure bliss.
So I started a project, lets call them Greycons. :) And released them on XDA as a zip file to some success. Hell I figured one dowload would be a success so in that regard, I knocked it out of the park so to speak. I had multiple requests to make them into an apk. But I wasn't quite sure how to do that. I took it as a challenge and quickly found the Apex Theme Guide on XDA. Even more helpful developers and designers were to be found there. With their input I was able to put together the apk and release it. The real task was compatibility. Scouring the tutorial I found so many tips and tricks for handling other launchers.
I then even put together a repo on Github hosting the template that I had put together using all those tips and tricks.(2)
But after a while that just wasn't enough. I had used other designers icon packs that used the dashboard style UI and I wanted in. I had the honor of being offered the chance to be part of a project that included new source code that I could study. (Thanks Addie)
Since then I have gotten an invitation to dribbble and recognition from devs and designers alike that I look up to. I don't know if you can imagine how cool that is to me. And more work just keeps coming. I love it and never want it to stop!
Anyway, I've rambled on long enough. Flash forward to today and all I can say is WOW. I never thought I had it in me to be a designer but that is one huge life lesson to anyone reading this. Sometimes it can take 25 years for one to find their true passion or calling in life. I thought that I would be running an asphalt company for the rest of my life five years ago. That was such a depressing thought. Now when I look to the future I get nervous, but in the good way. Ya know, when you're excited about the unknown and what may come. Priceless.
1. Obviously I was in way over my head with this project so I scrapped it. Since then there have been more efforts to get this kind of app off the ground.
2. I also started a tutorial channel on YouTube to try and give back some of the things I've learned. Check it out.
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