SykoGrafix
SykoGrafix.com
September 16, 2017

Switching it Up.

This summer was a very busy time. I had a job working at a summer day camp for kids, leading an art program on weekdays during July and August. The job certainly had its ups and downs, with some kids being better behaved than others, but was a good experience overall and I was lucky to have the opportunity. I met some great people and did a lot of fun drawings and silly doodles, which I’ll be posting on my Tumblr from time to time.

Thanks in part to having this job, I was finally able to get my hands on the elusive Nintendo Switch system. I had actually already purchased two games for it during a sale a few weeks earlier, and the wait to obtain the console to play them on was becoming unbearable. I quickly snagged an order through Amazon, early in the morning on the day Splatoon 2 was released. I was lucky that job came around when it did, because without it, not only would I have a hard time affording to buy the Switch, but I also would not have been awake early enough to have bought it before it sold out again!

Even though it was a challenge to get a hold of a unit, even after having money in hand, it’s so great so see that the Switch is successful and that people are enjoying the games. I loved the Wii U, and still love it, and will gladly defend its fantastic game library against any detractors, but it’s clear that Nintendo had lost some momentum during that time. Things are definitely going their way now, thanks to the innovative hardware and great games that the Switch provides.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is every bit the amazing experience that the reviews have said, and it’s the perfect game to showcase what the Switch is all about. It is so captivating that you don’t want to stop playing, and since the Switch is portable, you don’t have to stop! There is so much to see and do in this game, and having this great adventure to lose myself in after a hard day of dealing with noisy kids was the best way to unwind. Besides Zelda, I’ve also got Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Splatoon 2, both great games that I haven’t spent as much time with because I’m still busy with Zelda. Looking forward, I’m so totally hyped for Super Mario Odyssey next month, and whatever other classic franchises and cool surprises show up after that.

It might seem silly to say it like this, but now that I have a Nintendo Switch, I feel like I am a part of modern society! Before I got one, it was like I was missing out on something. Now, I’m where the action is, and it feels good. It was only due to persistence, good luck, and circumstance that I was able to get a Switch, so if anyone is having trouble getting their hands on one, keep trying. It’ll be worth it.

Alas, summer is over and the job came to end with it, so we’ll have to see what the next thing is. I didn’t really do any full color illustrations this summer, so I’m getting that itch again to stretch my creative muscles and beef up my portfolio. I’ll be switching to art mode real soon.

Sayonara.

July 27, 2017

TFcon 2017

It’s time to talk about TFcon again!

TFcon 2017 was held in Mississauga on July 14-19th. I look forward to this convention every year, and with good reason. It’s the best, most fun time that a Transformers fan could have. Especially now that BotCon, the official convention, has ceased operations in favor of an all-Hasbro branded show that starts this fall, making TFcon the biggest name in the Transformers convention scene.

As expected, I had a blast at TFcon this year, and so I wanted to chronicle a little bit of what happened that weekend. But what is great about TFcon is that my experience can be completely different than anyone else, and there are probably hundreds of other reasons why TFcon is as fun as it is. For awhile, I was starting to feel like maybe TFcon had hit a plateau and couldn’t possibly get any better. Looking back at it though, I see that I had a thoroughly great time and that the only thing that was missing was that I wanted more of it! So let’s take a closer look.

 

The guests this year were fantastic. Original Transformers voice actors Michael Bell and Arthur Burghardt had a hilarious back and forth with each other. You could tell that they went back together a long way in that business, and neither of them were concerned about being politically correct. Alec Willows, the voice of Tarantulas in Beast Wars (probably my all time favorite character) was a gem of a guy who seemed legitimately interested in everyone. And of course we had my old pal Scott McNeil, a world class convention guest and all around cool bro. The panels that these guys did this year were among the best voice acting panels I’ve ever seen at TFcon or any other convention.

Speaking of panels, once again I volunteered to do a panel presentation. This year, I spoke about the toylines that were used to create the Transformers brand, going through the history of things like Micro Change and Diaclone that pre-date Transformers. Actually the scope of my presentation was a little wider than than, also hitting on some of the weirder and more obscure toylines that are part of the Transformers family tree. It was not a big secret that I was still working on finishing things all the way up until showtime, so I was nervous about finishing it on time, possibly experiencing technical difficulties, or going over the allotted slot. One I got started and everything worked properly, I was in the zone. It was so much fun to talk about this stuff with an audience. When it was all over, I was immediately told that I had nailed it, and hearing the applause was pretty cool.  I could finally relax and enjoy the rest of the show after that.

Here are a few entries from the costume contest. That Whirl was pretty impressive, though a little bit dangerous to be around!

Of course, the best part of the show is being a part of the fan base and seeing friends, old and new. The Faction Feud saw the unexpected union of the Furmaninjas, where myself and TFcon legend Guber of the Ninja Consultants teamed up with two members of the Furmanisms, our eternal rivals. We lost in the first round, but it was still a good time. Throughout the weekend, there were many fun interactions all around the hotel (and the nearby Swiss Chalet), as well as the traditional Slurpee run, hanging at the bar, and lots of other late-night hilarity.

Here’s what I bought this year. I didn’t get anything that was a huge, sought after grail at a good deal, but I did get a lot of what I wanted. Check out my Tumblr for the full rundown, and keep an eye open over there as I post pictures and reviews.

In many ways this year’s show was kind of par for the course, but that course is awesome, so that’s not a bad thing at all. The only bad thing about TFcon 2017 was that I didn’t see everyone and do everything as much as I wanted to.

This was the 14th TFcon that I’ve attended and I can not imagine my life without it. In the end, I made many great memories from this show, and the main thing I took away from this year’s TFcon is that being a Transformers fan is a gift that keeps on giving. I feel extremely lucky to be able to attend, contribute, and become a part of this community. I’ll be back for more, so I’ll see you there next year.

Sayonara.

June 27, 2017

Feeling like a Birthday?

My birthday was this month! That means I am older now, but I had not really stopped to think about it yet, so I feel much the same as I usually do. Now that I think about it, I realize that this means it has been 20 whole entire years since I first made a website for my artwork. Maybe someday I’ll finally figure it all out. I’m still trying!

Anyway, I had been meaning to blog about some of the artwork I had done since I last updated the illustration page, but realized that I had 5 pieces from this Spring. So I might as well just do a full update again.

There is a fair amount of fan art, including some classic video game characters, but one piece that I specifically want to highlight is this one: Robo Champ!


ROBO CHAMP by ninjatron on DeviantArt

I have lots of ideas for more original sci-fi illustrations in this kind of style, so let me know if you dig it and want to see more.

In other news, I’ve got an art-related job this summer that will keep me busy for the next 2 months. Besides that, I’ll be at TFcon on July 14-16, which I’ll talk more about later. Suddenly, there is a lot going on and it’s all been happening pretty fast. It’s a change of pace and we’ll see how I keep up. When I’m done with everything, maybe then I’ll start feeling older.

Sayonara.

I added 5 more art pieces to the illustration page. We’ve got a Ninja Turtle, Joker,  Astro Boy, Samus Aran, and some brilliantly gaudy G2 Transformers. These are all from around the end of last year, and I gave each of them an updated written description with some detail. I was doing a lot of experimenting at that time, and I guess I still am!

It has been slow going recently but I do have some more artwork in my back pocket and more on the way, so keep an eye on the usual places for some new stuff very soon.

Sayonara.

February 21, 2017

My favorite stuff of 2016

I wanted to get this done much earlier, but I just didn’t feel up to it. Unlike the list I made for 2015, compiling a list 2016 wasn’t as straight forward. There wasn’t always a clear choice for each category for one reason or another. Besides, let’s face it, 2016 was kind of a dumpster fire in general, and I don’t need to go into detail as to why.  Still, there were some great things that came out which I enjoyed, and will likely keep enjoying for years to come, so they’re worth talking about in spite of all the stupid stuff that happened last year. Let’s get to it then.

Favorite Game – The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD

I haven’t played this very much and I have been meaning to get back to it. I just don’t know what else to pick. I haven’t played most of the other big 2016 releases that everyone else went crazy over. Maybe someday I will, but for now I’ve got a backlog of games to play, including this one, which I’ll enjoy until I get a chance to play Breath of the Wild.

Favorite Book – The Art of Atari

Actually, I don’t have this book yet, but it’s been on my wish list since being announced and I have taken a brief look at it. The artwork on the packaging and marketing materials from this era of video games is so unique and special. I’m glad that this book exists to help chronicle video game history, and can’t wait to give it an in depth read.

Favorite Toy – Transformers Combiner Wars Generation 2 Bruticus

There were a lot of great options, in and out of the world of Transformers, for this category. Not the least of which was Fortress Maximus. But what can I say? I’ve just got a soft spot for this crazily colored combiner. He’s so eye-searingly ridiculous, and yet so powerful and menacing. Plus, he comes with a bonus Shockwave! There’s a more in-depth look at him on my Tumblr, so check that out.

Favorite TV Series – Stranger Things

Another great series from Netflix, which is proving that intelligent and creative programming can find an audience. This show is like an all new 80’s movie, but as a series, and I love how it’s keeping that 80’s spirit alive. Definitely full of surprises and suspense. It’s no wonder this show captured so many people’s imaginations and I am looking forward to seeing more.

Favorite Anime – Cyborg 009 vs Devilman

I thought I’d have to wait forever to see this, but, out of nowhere, Netflix came to the rescue back in April and released this ass-kicking crossover between two of Japan’s most awesome old-school anime franchises. Love the modernized designs while still keeping that retro flavor. Hoping so see more love for Go Nagai and Shotaro Ishinomori franchises on these shores in the future.

Favorite Movie – Captain America: Civil War

There were some really great movies this year. Deadpool, Doctor Strange, and Rogue One could have topped the list. But this movie, to me, is on another level. It could have been a disaster, with so many characters, but the story and action were all expertly executed. I’ve seen it at least 4 times and could still watch it over and over again. Not only is this my favorite movie of the year, but it’s also got to be my most favorite thing of the year.

So there’s a look at the things I liked. I was thinking about maybe posting more about all the disappointments and things that were not as good as they should have been, like Batman v Superman and Mighty No.9. But who has the time or the patience for that when actual real important things in the universe have turned so mind-numbingly moronic? So, let’s just move forward and try to enjoy whatever cool things manage to happen in 2017.

Sayonara.