SykoGrafix
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February 6, 2018

My Favorite Stuff of 2017

2017 was most certainly a series of months that occurred on planet Earth in this Galaxy. That’s about the most fair and unbiased commentary I can make on the past year. But hey, it wasn’t all bad! In fact, there were a few really great things that came out of last year, and in some cases, it was hard to pick just one for each category. Let’s take a look at what was good.

Favorite Game – Super Mario Odyssey

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an amazing masterpiece of a game, absolutely worthy of every accolade that has been bestowed upon it. But, for me, it has one flaw; It’s not Super Mario Odyssey. Surpassing all my expectations and continuing to give even after you think you’ve seen it all, Super Mario Odyssey is nothing but fun, joy, surprises, and imagination. And that ending sequence is one of the best things I’ve ever experienced in any video game, ever.

Favorite Book – The Art of Splatoon

I don’t think I got any new books for my collection last year. I’ve taken a look through this one and I’m sure that I’ll add it to my collection. I love playing Splatoon and Splatoon 2. Even though I hate when I’m losing, I always go back to play more, thanks in part to the amazing visual style captured by the artists who worked on this game. I’m very glad that this fantastic art book got an English language release.

Favorite Toy – Transformers Titans Return Sky Shadow

This might be an unorthodox pick, as I feel this figure has been overlooked in some ways. But for me, the imposing stature, foreboding color scheme, creative transformation, and general complete feeling make Sky Shadow awesome. There is very little about this figure that could be better, and that’s saying something these days. I know it was retooled into Overlord, who is a more sought-after character, and someday I am sure I’ll get an Overlord. Even still, Sky Shadow has the edge.

Favorite TV Series – Samurai Jack Season 5

16 years ago, Samurai Jack became one of my all time favorite TV series. But after 4 seasons, it ended without resolution. After so long, it seemed that it would never have a proper ending, and we all just had to accept that as part of the series’ appeal. But at last, a final season was bestowed upon us, with artistry that was just as good, if not better than, the original run, and a conclusion that suits the honor and dignity of a Samurai story.

Favorite Anime – Attack on Titan Season 2

This was the only anime series that I did my best to watch week-to-week as episodes were released. Honestly, it was hard to watch at times! Seeing characters getting crunched, one after the other, was not always enjoyable. But the twists and turns of the story line kept me intrigued, as did the great animation and use of color. I was going to pick “Your Name“, which is an amazing movie, but technically that is a 2016 release, so AoT it is!

Favorite Movie – Spider-man Homecoming

There were a lot of great movies in 2017. Logan, Kong, Baby Driver, Thor, Wonder Woman, Star Wars, and more. Even still, it was not a hard choice to pick Spidey as my number one for the year. Yeah, this was not the first time Spider-man has been rebooted for the movies, but for me, “Homecoming” was Spider-man the way he was meant to be. If Spider-man was a real person, it would be like this movie. It was so good, and I knew as soon as it was over that it would be my favorite movie of the year. Even after all the other great films, that’s still true.

That finally concludes 2017, and not a moment to soon. Time to think ahead to what’s happening this year, because I certainly spent way too long thinking about what things to put on this list and what else to say about them besides “it’s really good”, especially since it’s hard to get to everything I want to experience.

Let’s look ahead to what 2018 brings. On my radar already are movies like Black Panther, Infinity War, Pacific Rim, and Ready Player One, classic manga releases like Captain Harlock, and toys like Predaking and Optimus Primal. There is a lot to look forward to, and I’m going to do my best to check out as much of it as I can.

Sayonara.

November 3, 2017

Inktober 2017

Last month I decided to participate in Inktober, where artists all over the world do a drawing using ink every day for the month of October. I had never tried it before (last year having done Skeletober instead) and I had not really done much inking by hand in a long time. I had piles of barely used pens and a huge bottle of ink that I had not touched in years. That fact alone, was a good enough reason to bust them out and give Inktober a try. I was also l feeling kind of stuck in a rut artistically and felt like I should do something new and get some of this weird stuff out of my brain.

I did not follow any of the provided prompts or plan anything out. I just freely drew whatever came to mind at any point, mainly focusing on robots, aliens, cyborgs, monsters, and the kinds of things that I like to draw. Some of the drawings wound up being kind of dumb or just not that great, and some were done during times when I did not feel well enough to draw anything major, but I managed to get through every day without being late, which is an accomplishment.

So, here’s what I came up with.

I posted each entry individually on my Twitter and on Tumblr. I also put them up on Instagram, which I just started using when I began Inktober. You can check them out there for a better look and more info on each drawing, although for some of them I clearly had no idea what these things are or why I even drew them.

It was a fun project and I think I gained something out of it. But after a month of drawing without the benefit of an ‘UNDO‘ command, I’m looking forward to making art using a computer again.

Sayonara.

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.