A new year, a new coat of paint

by M.J. Hearle

Welcome Shadudes and Shadettes to mjhearle.com version 2.0.

This re-design has been a long time coming. When I first set up the blog I knew nothing about HTML or CSS or any of the other hocus pocus involved in web design. I picked the most straightforward looking wordpress template and promised myself that I would make it more idiosyncratic down the line. Now, nearly two years later, I’ve fulfilled that promise.

The hardest part was trying to wrap my head around the concept of coding. I knew coding was necessary for web development but had never dabbled in it myself. Luckily, there were plenty of online resources but even then I struggled. It was like learning another language. Simple things like decreasing the space beneath the headers or moving the navigation menu around proved almost impossible and it was only after much deliberation – and no shortage of tantrums – that I eventually succeeded. The scary thing is I’m not sure exactly how I succeeded?

Sometimes it was like magic. I’d type some random gibberish into the CSS Editor and the page elements would leap to do my bidding. Other times I’d follow an online tutorial to the letter and nothing would happen. Or the reverse would happen and I’d have a panic attack. The world of web development might be slightly less of a mystery than it was before beginning this exercise, but it is still a mystery. One, I doubt I’ll have the patience to ever fully understand.

The design of the header image was a much less frustrating task. This is, after all, what I do for a living. First, I scribbled a rough thumbnail of the spooky, Tim Burton-esque type treatment I wanted. Then I brought it into Illustrator where I played around with various concepts until settling on a couple which I uploaded to Twitter. I solicited advice on which concept worked best and what I might do to improve my designs. If nothing else, this experience has taught me just how valuable social media is as a creative tool. There’s a lot of talented folks out there. In fact, it was a tweet by Lee Stephens, that ended up heavily influencing the final design.

Scroll to the top of the page and take a look. What do you think? I dig it. The colours and sketchy, handmade quality are more or less exactly what I envisioned. The rest of website might still be a work in progress but at least I’ve got a sexy header.

It’s a start.