22 May 2019

Five years of A Single Div

On 22 May 2014, I publish a little camera illustration. It’s drawn with CSS and one HTML element (a div).

A CSS drawing of a vintage camera.

With this, my favorite little side project is born.

I draw some food, a Captain America shield, and an iPhone battery. CSS solidifies itself as my favorite artistic medium.

With each drawing, I share a tweet. People seem to really dig it. It encourages me to keep going.

I give the project a name and buy a domain.

Mozilla Hacks invites me to write a tutorial.

My web heroes see the project, share it, and praise it. I can’t believe it. I’m positively glowing 😻.

A Single Div hits Reddit and Hacker News. It’s exciting and horrible at the same time. It inspires my favorite tagline: I specialize in projects that make people say “I don’t get it.”

The drawings become more complex as I try out new techniques and find new challenges.

A selection of drawings from A Single Div.

A Single Div is featured in Net Magazine. I’m beside myself with joy.

People holler at me about SVG. This seems to hold even for my projects that follow. Something I can joke about fondly now. Yes, I’ve heard of SVG.

I give a talk on CSS illustration at CSSDay. I share A Single Div and talk about art with a bunch of developers. I’m holding on to this high.

A Single Div becomes a project I can work on even when I’m feeling stuck. A few hours here or there and the site continues to grow.

I learn so much about CSS behavior. I grow a deep, mental reference I can pull from for my job and paid projects. “Real” projects as people often say. But truly, what project isn’t real?

I test the limits of my creativity. The constraints help me to see things differently. And to see myself differently. “Can I draw this?” feels like “Gosh, I don’t think I can.” But with enough thinking, it shifts to “Holy crap, it works.” Honestly I still look back at some of these drawings and wonder how the heck I did that.

I’ve learned so much from you, little side project. Happy fifth anniversary (I heard the traditional gift is wood 👇).

A CSS drawing of the word FIVE made of wood logs.

View this latest drawing and more at a.singlediv.com.

🍻 Cheers to five more years.


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