Writings on Web Animation, UX, Comics and More

(But mostly web animation. Mostly.)








If who we are is a story we tell ourselves, technically we can retcon our own history.

For my 30th birthday, I considered pruning my old blog posts that don't fit where I am today. I could cut them out and make it look as though I was born this way.

But as I skimmed through my posts about SEO and WordPress, I saw that if I erased this part of me, no one else would be able to see how I got here and learn from the path I took.

So I decided to convert my blog archive into an illustrated history of my journey through web development. Most of the posts are me puffing myself up to look good for possible employers. I added descriptions for each year to describe what was really going on. You can read backwards in time, or start at year one, way back in 2008. Please enjoy.

Rachel enjoying her 30th birthday cake until Tuna, her cat, pops out of the top.


Rachel on a plane, traveling internationally, wonders how she got here.

I decide I'll start my own company. We move to Portland, Oregon, and I travel the world to speak. I make friends, have adventures, give my first keynote at OSCON. I give web animation workshops to help cover the expenses of all this traveling and making talks.

It's hard work, but I feel truly alive and happy. It reminds me of hustling at comic conventions.


Rachel sits at the end of a long interview. Her interviewers wonder why she's into animation, and doesn't she have any Angular JS experience?

The year of interviews: I travel the country looking for The Perfect Job (where I can work with web animation extensively). Some companies share my enthusiasm, but the Era of Animation is still a few years away.

In the end, I don't accept any job offers, but finding my JavaScript chops need improving, I redouble my efforts to learn it inside and out.


Rachel sadly into the distance, 'It's not you... it's me.' Her boss in the background, 'It's those damn CSS animations, isn't it??'

Seeing it's a bad fit, I leave the agency quickly to join a startup founded by people I admire.

All is well until I give my first Big Talk at the first CSS Dev Conf (in Hawaii). Afterward, my insatiable curiosity about web animation consumes me.

I learn a valuable lesson: perfect coworkers are no replacement for engaging work. I am deeply sad to go but know I must. I'm on a mission. I've found my purpose. I've fallen in love with web animation. We elope.


An illustration of Rachel in a hat with her scarf covering her face saying now that she's had surgery, things are going to change.

I leave my job for one at an agency that will let me use Sass and learn Ruby. No longer in the adult advertising industry, I'm able to start giving talks longer than 5 minutes.

I'm determined to work with code for a living because it's fun and the earnings potentials are higher than they are for designers.

My book club takes over the local Refresh when its organizers retire. We give the meetup a fantastic run that's still spoken of in hushed awe in dark corners of North Carolina.


An illustration of Rachel excitedly volunteering to speak at another meetup. An illustration of Rachel pouting when the organizers say no.

While archiving my old comics, I sieze the chance to perform the user surveys and studies I can't do at my day job due to the major privacy and content concerns that come with the adult industry online. In the process, I learn much about how people have begun reading comics on screens.

To spend more time with my local web dev community, I start the Web Professional's Book Club. I give some lightning talks at a few local marketing events. Longer talks are hard to find venues for. My employer's industry unnerves organizers. I don't blame them.

I have major jaw surgery. While recovering, I have a long think.


An illustration of Rachel zipping about in a smart car, exclaiming that meetups are so much easier to get to now.
Freelancing in a recession is tough, so I head in-house at an adult advertising company as sole on-site web designer. (As the saying goes, any port in a storm.) While gatekeeper to mounds of CSS, I dig deep into front-end development and make fast friends with the developers. Fall in love with WordPress and my new smart car.


An illustration of Rachel sitting,disheartened, under a tattered 'Welcome to Web Development!' banner as a cloud of Recession rains down from overhead, ruining her laptop and cartooning supplies.
After many years of building and maintaining sites for my comics and fanbase, I leave all that behind and enter the world of professional web development. The Recession eats my first job as a web designer. I try my hand at freelancing as “The Pink Crow” (because I love crows). Many of these early entries are ported from that site.
Copyright © 2008 – 2019 Rachel Nabors