Who is Ninjatron?
My name is Dylan and I've been using the name "Ninjatron" online since about 1997 or so. Why "Ninjatron"? Well, when I was a kid I really wanted to be a robot when I grew up. But when I grew up, I found that I was actually a ninja.
I am Canadian and that is pretty cool. Generally, I have an easy going, laid back personality, but I take what I do fairly seriously. Sometimes.
I am an artist/Illustrator and I love to create drawings, be they inspired by established characters or something pulled from my imagination. As a creative person, I take so much of my artistic inspiration from all the comic, animation, video games, and action figures that I am a fan of. While I've continued to grow as an artist and as a person, deep down I am always going to be that kid who loves watching cartoons and drawing aliens after school.
I have over 10 years of experience as an art teacher to children and teenagers, focusing on comic book and animation styles of drawings. I've always tried to give my students a good foundation with with their drawing habits in a way that is fun and easy to relate to. I make my lessons not just about how to draw, but why to draw, and help get them excited about unlocking their creativity.
I went to an art college in Toronto. I was OK for awhile, but then it wasn't OK any more so I left. Years later I tried again at a college in Northern Ontario, where I studied video game art. I graduated at the top of the class with distinction (4.0 GPA). I guess I am supposed to be proud of that accomplishment, but for whatever reason I just don't feel that it's that big of a deal. Of course, I'll take any opportunity to bring it up!
I don't drink or smoke or do any of that stuff. Who needs it when you've got all these robots and monsters in your head that need to be drawn? Also, I hate onions. Onions are the worst and I hate them so much, so I never eat them.
My catchphrase is "Sayonara". I always sign off with it in e-mails, in person, and even on the phone. I don't even think about it anymore.
Also, I shave my head and wear bandanas. It's great. I love it.
The name "SykoGrafix" comes from the marketing term Psychographics, which is akin to Demographics. A psychographic is a means of studying the attitudes, values, lifestyles, and opinions of people. And this is kind of weird because SykoGrafix.com is not really about any of that stuff. It's actually quite the opposite. I just thought it sounded cool, but the contrast between the meaning of the word and how I am using it is amusing to me.
SykoGrafix.com is my portal on the Internet that serves as an outlet of personal expression. I never really felt like I fit in with what the standards that psychographics and demographics dictate. I've pretty much always just done my own thing no matter what anybody else ever thought about it. I wanted to make my own place on the Internet that was far removed from the typical corporate marketing culture that so much of the web has become imbued in.
This site started it meager existence way back in the bygone year of 1997 on the now defunct Geocities network as "Ninjatron's SykoGrafix". It was pretty simple and kind of janky back then, but so was my artwork. I didn't really know what I was doing but some people still liked it anyway. I probably still don't know what I'm doing but I might be at least a little bit better at it by now.
On Halloween of the year 2000 I launched SykoGrafix.com as a new domain name with the black and cyan theme that I've stuck with ever since.
An amusing fact about SykoGrafix is that, for whatever reason, some people hate it! This humble art site has somehow developed a crazy rouges gallery of people who don't like me, or my artwork, or my teaching experience. Over the years I have gotten plenty of terrible messages, most of which struggle to make any sort of coherent point beyond their rage and are rife with some of the worst (and funniest) spelling and grammar ever composed. But hey, it's cool. I'm tough. I can take it. It's far more hilarious than hurtful anyway. What bewilders me is that some of these clowns keep coming back again and again! This doesn't make a whole lot of sense when you think about it. What can I say? Haters gonna hate.
The main focus of this website is not necessarily to be a marketing vehicle to promote my work or sell you anything. It's a place for me to be me. But I do want to know what you think, so please contact me. If you dig what you see here, tell me what you like and what you want to see more of. If you don't like it, that's cool. I still welcome the conversation. And if you feel like maybe we could work together or that I can draw something for you as a commission, I'm open to the idea. Get in touch and let's try to make that happen.
Amber, Cyan, and Magenta are 3 characters I created, each named after the 3 process colors or the secondary colors of light. They are my go-to characters that I would use as examples when teaching or for adding graphics to this site. Now they are kind of like mascots. You may find them throughout different sections of the site to guide you on your way and add some color and personality to the surroundings. Magenta likes to think of herself as the leader of the bunch. Cyan is the cynical one who doesn't talk much or smile very often. Amber is the bubbly, happy-go-lucky, and thus more annoying member of the team. They have developed somewhat of a fan base. Maybe someday they'll be part of something bigger, but for now they seem happy being the eye candy around here.
This is the SykoGrafix Logo. It's a combination of the traditional at-sign (@) found in e-mail addresses and a stylized skull design with a crack. It represents going against all the boring, stuffy, marketing nonsense of the Internet and using it to make something dark and expressive. That said, it's still my "brand" and I'm putting it out there as much as possible. You'll see this logo appear all over the place in the site's graphics with many different variations. I think it's pretty cool.
Things I like
I have a lot of interests that are important to me, both as an artist and just as a fan. I love cartoons, comics, toy collecting, video games, Japanese culture, monster movies, and more. Sharing all this stuff with other people is a big part of what this website is about. It's hard to pick favorites sometimes, but here are a few of the things in various categories that stand out as significant to me. Click on an image for a closer look to read my thoughts on each entry. It's fun and educational!
- A l l T i m e F a v o r i t e F r a n c h i s e s -
I have been a Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember. I like all the movies, even the ones you probably hate. Star Wars is a huge influence on my imagination and creativity.
I've been a Transformers fan for many years. I have great memories watching the cartoon and playing with the toys as a kid, and when I got older I started collecting and enjoying the franchise more seriously. It's a great hobby with an ever-expanding cast of characters and multiple facets that make it unique.
I like all kinds of video games, but Nintendo games are in a class by themselves. I'll never forget the first time I played many of their key titles. I loved their games as a kid, and I love them even more now. From their characters, gameplay, personality, surprises, and overall fun factor, there is just nothing quite a game made with the Nintendo commitment to quality.
I remember the first time I ever heard about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It was on a "And now stay tuned for..." voice over after another show. It instantly got my attention and I had to watch. It was the first episode and I became a fan for life. The fact that it actually started as a independent comic book cemented me into becoming an artist.
While I can't say that I am an expert at the video game, I still really like the world of Street Fighter. Its memorable characters and great art style have always stuck with me.
- F a v o r i t e M o v i e s -
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
Absolutely my all time #1 favourite movie. I devoured the comic series when I read it, and seeing that kinetic, manga-video game-style storytelling come through in the film was the closest I've ever seen to my own world-view being projected onto the screen. The fact that it was set and filmed in Toronto seals it for me, and I don't think any film can ever top how I feel about this one.
Army of Darkness (1992)
Funny, quoteable, and full of evil monsters, Army of Darkness revels in exactly what it is: a campy, violent action horror adventure. It never fails to put a smile on my face every time I see it.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
I wasn't going to include this one since I already listed Ninja Turtles as an all time favorite franchise, but seeing this movie as a kid was just too important to me to ignore. When this movie came to theaters, there was absolutely nothing bigger, and I remember everything about going to see it. Watching something I loved so much from a cartoon and toy line turned into a good, serious live action film totally blew me away and shaped the way I would look at entertainment from then on.
Pacific Rim (2013)
Like an awesome mecha-anime come to life. It's got giant monsters, giant robots, giant fights, and... well, that's all it really needs! It's everything I like all wrapped up in one apocalyptic package. A feast for the eyes with plenty of action.
Godzilla Final Wars (2004)
I love Godzilla movies, but this is pretty different. Whereas most kaiju movies would have scenes of monsters fighting and scenes of humans talking about science, Final Wars eliminates most of the talking and adds even more fighting in its place. It's totally bonkers and gets more and more ridiculous as it goes along, but it's still got that ultimate expression of rage that Godzilla should have.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
I saw this on opening night in one of the rows close to the front. It was a packed house and there was something magic in the air because it became one of my most favorite experiences watching a movie in a theater. The action and comedy speak for themselves, but it's how enduring all of the characters are that make it all work. I try to watch this movie again every year around Christmas.
The Host (2006)
I wish I had seen this film a lot earlier than I did, but when I did finally get around to it, it instantly became one of my all time favorites. It's scary, it's sad, it's funny, it's touching, it's everything you'd ever want in any good movie. It proves that monster movies are not all just stupid and cheesy, and can be good solid films that still bring all the fun stuff you'd expect.
In Versus, everybody fights! Cops! Convicts! Gangsters! Zombies! Hyper Zombies! Gun fights! Sword fights! Knife fights! Fist fights! Some of the action in this film is absolutely mind-blowing, and some of the gore and splatter is so over the top, it's amazing they had the guts to do it. It's a great example of a film with that down-and-dirty independent spirit.
Speed Racer (2008)
I got a huge headache from watching this, but I didn't care because it was so incredibly fun to watch. Definitely the best live-action movie ever to be based on an animated property, Speed Racer captures the feeling of the classic TV anime like no other film. I like that presents its colorful, candy coated, hyper-visual futuristic flare along with its heart and feelings of nostalgia. I don't care if other people don't like it or that Hollywood considers it a flop, this movie is incredible and it's exactly everything it was supposed to be.
The Wizard (1989)
Is this really a good movie? Probably not. Some might say that it's a corny kids' film wrapped up in a commercial for Universal Studios and Nintendo. But it's a part of my childhood and one of the first times that I remember seeing video games being treated as a big deal. I saw this in a theater when I was a kid and still have pretty clear memories watching it at that time. It's an 80's thing.
- F a v o r i t e T V S e r i e s -
I think this is one of the best cartoons ever made. A simple premise with simple stories that anyone can follow, and yet it is so diverse with wild characters and creative energy. Anything can happen and not feel out of place. I could watch these episodes forever.
Justice League & Justice League Unlimited
As a kid I was not a fan of the DC comic book characters, but the animated series that started in the 1990s and lead up to the Justice League show changed all that. I've seen all the episodes many times, but I still keep going back to it. I liked how every character was made to feel important, even as the cast kept getting bigger.
Transformers Beast Wars
This was a show that I would eagerly await every new episode and watch over and over again. A bold, edgy take on the Transformers concept with memorable characters and high-stakes story lines. I can still quote from several episodes today.
When you think about it, the idea of a show about a teen-aged Batman set in the future reeks of corporate desperation and should not have been any good. The fact that it actually is pretty awesome is kind of a miracle, but everyone involved put their best into it, so of course it's great. This show is such a new and different take on Batman, but it holds up so well as its own separate thing that I consider it a legitimate part of that whole franchise. Shway.
A great show on its own, with its unique take on the Transformers formula, but also lots of fun for old-time fans too. Like many, I had my reservations when the first details of this series started to be unveiled, but as I gave it a chance it really grew on me. Now I wish there were more episodes.
- F a v o r i t e A n i m e S e r i e s -
Fist of the North Star
YOU WA SHOCK! This classic tale of revenge and redemption is probably my most favorite anime. Its crude animation only enhances the gritty, macho, post-apocalyptic martial arts atmosphere. Omae wa mou shindeiru.
Space Pirate Captain Harlock
A captivating story, even after all these years. To me, Captain Harlock is the coolest anime character of all time, and I believe that this show, in spite of its age, can still captivate and draw emotion from any audience.
Aim for the Top! Gunbuster
Mixing all the great mecha-anime tropes into a story about personal growth and sacrifice, the 6 episodes of Gunbuster are each a satisfying and memorable experience. This series was clearly made by people who love anime and put everything they have into it for the sake of their art. The last moments of the final episode is probably my most favorite ending of any anime.
An epic masterpiece and most likely the greatest OVA series ever made. Retro style robots fight alongside kung fu super heroes in a battle that is both grandiose and deeply personal. All set to an amazing symphonic score that I could listen to on its own.
King of Braves GaoGaiGar
What if the kids watched giant robot anime in the 70's grew up and made their own? That would be GaoGaiGar, and it's the most over-the-top, unapologetic, hot blooded courage-fueled robot cartoon of all time. Everything that makes classic mecha shows so much fun to watch is multiplied, but it's not just a flashy light show made to sell toys. The characters are all endearing and make you care about the events of the series.
Not only does Gurren Lagann stand on its own as an entertaining show with memorable characters, cool robots, and a great story, it also serves as a love letter to the entire history of anime. It's packed with clever easter eggs and references to some of the classic shows that help make anime what it is, and really rewards the long time anime fan for watching. But it also adds its own spin and raises the stakes so high that it takes anime to places it had never been before.
Neon Genesis Evangelion
It's hard to know what to say about this series. The general opinion on this show has become somewhat divisive, but there was a time when this was absolutely the hottest, most popular, must see anime on the planet. The characters are masterfully designed and I could not be helped but to be drawn into the sense of mystery and speculation over what the story is really all about.
Not just one of the funniest anime shows, or funniest cartoons, but this is one of the funniest things I've ever seen. Some episodes are so hilarious that I hurt my throat from laughing so hard. Every episode has a completely different theme, each of which is completely skewered by the time it's over.
Created by Go Nagai, Mazinger Z is an classic super robot from the 1970's who helped to define what anime is all about, becoming a bona-fide legendary pop culture icon in the process. True Mazinger is a re-imagining of the Mazinger saga, taking different parts from several different versions of the story and other works by the same creator and combining them into a huge mythology. The villain character Baron Ashura steals the whole show.
The jungle was always nice, then along came Guu. This show is so funny in so many unexpected ways. Guu is one of the most unique and fascinatingly quirky characters in anime, and her interactions with all the other characters, especially the increasingly neurotic Hare, really flesh out a silly Jungle-dwelling community and make me want to see what will happen next.
- F a v o r i t e A n i m a t e d F i l m s -
The Iron Giant
Definitely one of the finest animated movies ever made, and my all time favorite. It's a travesty that this film was not a bigger success during its original theatrical run. Over the years it has gotten the recognition it deserves and built up a sizable fan base, but I saw it on the big screen back when it first came out and have been talking about how great it was ever since.
The Castle of Cagliostro
Hayao Miyazaki has made lots of great movies, but if I had to pick a personal favorite, I'd have to go with his directorial debut. After all, that's the only one he made that stars Lupin III! A truly magical film adventure with sequences that rival or surpass anything seen in live action. I loved it the moment I saw it when it first came to DVD, in spite of the terrible picture quality on that disk.
I first saw this film via fansubs before it was licensed for release in North America. As soon as I saw it, I wanted to pay money for an official release. I preordered the BluRay as soon as it was announced. It's an amazing film that crosses themes of technology and the Internet with the drama of a huge family gathering.
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
This direct-to-video animated movie is better than a lot of the live action dreck you'll find at a theater. It works as a continuation to the Batman Beyond TV series, giving the new Batman his ultimate challenge and a chance to prove his own worth as a distinct hero, and it also gives a sense of closer to the classic Batman. The music, voice acting, and animation all push the envelope as far as it can go.
Transformers: The Movie
As far as guilty pleasures go, this is a big one for mw, and probably for a lot of us who lived through it as well. This is not really a great movie, and it doesn't have a lot of original ideas, but I like it anyway! As a Transformers fan, it's the most important event in the entire franchise, and I've seen it more times than I can count. It's always fun to watch, especially with a group of fellow fans.
- F a v o r i t e V i d e o G a m e s -
At the time this game came out, the talk of the video game industry was turning towards more realistic 3D graphics. But with it's hand drawn art style and solid 2D gameplay, Yoshi's Island proved that there was still room for artistry in games. It changed the way I looked at video games in terms of quality and presentation. Whenever people ask me what my favorite video game of all time is, this is the answer I come up with. I felt that way when I first played it, and I still feel that way today.
Super Mario Galaxy
A space opera masterpiece of 3D Super Mario platforming. As close to perfection as I've ever seen in a game. It's fun, creative, inviting, and full of unique challenges. The soundtrack especially stand out. I can't decide if I like Super Mario Galaxy or Super Mario Galaxy 2 better, and I'm glad that I don't really have to because they are both so good.
I feel like I could deliver a a whole presentation on what is Final Fight and why I find it so interesting. Really, it's a fairly simple game in the beat-em-up genre. But it's also an incredibly influential one, and its storyline, history, and execution are all packed with personality and fascinating bits of trivia that make it worth talking about today.
Astro Boy Omega Factor
I am a huge fan of the Astro Boy character, and this game on the Game Boy Advance is on the best Astro Boy related things ever made, in my opinion. It's has great gameplay that is fun to control as you access all of Astro's powers. People who love classic games like Mario and Mega Man will find a lot in common with this game, but it's definitely its own thing. Beyond that, it's a tribute to the work of Osamu Tezuka with lots of characters and a storyline with many surprises.
The Pikmin franchise is one of my favorite Nintendo properties. It's a game that really entrenches itself into your thoughts, as you command a legion of tiny creatures to do your bidding. Even though you are basically exploiting these little guys for your own benefit, you form a bond with them, and losing even a single one is heartbreaking. All 3 games are great, but the third game stands apart with its lush graphics and clever writing.
Metal Slug 3
The Neo Geo was home to so many incredible titles in the classic quarter-munching arcade tradition. I never owned one (who actually did?) and rarely had any exposure playing the arcade version, but when I finally discovered the Metal Slug series, it instantly became a favorite. Metal Slug 3 is especially amazing, with its giant crabs, zombies, yeti, and alien enemies. Plus, you get to ride on an elephant and you get a gun-toting chimpanzee sidekick.
I discovered Broforce while looking for reference during a Video Game art class. It just just a very limited demo, as the game was nowhere near complete, but I tried it out and was immediately hooked. I played that demo for a whole year until an updated demo was released, which I also played for months. I bought it when it became available to purchase on Steam and I've been playing it almost every day. Its wide variety of playable action hero bro characters, surprising elements of strategy, and copious amounts of explosions make it incredibly fun.
There was a time in my life when Doom was the game I played all the time. Since then, the first person shooter genre has exploded with tons of new titles every year. In all honesty, I'm not all that interested in most of of those. I got my fill with Doom, and I still love it to this day.
The world really is full of things. A quirky game that is pure fun. There is something very satisfying about rolling the Katamari over small objects, making it bigger, and then rolling over larger objects and even people. The quirky characters, diverse soundtrack, and sense of humor make this game a true gem that I can always go back to.
I try not to get swept away by early hype, but when Splatoon was first announced, I got pretty excited. I thought it was the coolest concept and I had a feeling that it was going to be great. It looked like a blast to play and the characters really popped out to me. Now that it has been released, I can honestly say that it's everything I could have hoped for. I just like it better when I can actually win! Stay Fresh!
Within the Autobot Ark display at TFcon 2015.
With a replica 70's Camaro Bumblebee from Transformers 2007 at TFcon 2011.
I don't wear ties too often, but my cyan tie is my favorite.
Me with a couple of friends at the Nintendo Day event in Toronto.
I am always ready for action as shown in this mock fighting stance.
The original DeviantArt logo is much better than the new one.
Me with my buddy Guber. What kind of mischief is this guy getting into now?
That's Kool-aid in the glass.
A stylized super-self portrait drawing done for a 2014 college class.
Guber, Chris and myself meet Blackarachnia and Optimus Prime cosplayers at TFcon.
With actor Gary Chalk.
I won at Super Smash Brothers! With Jigglypuff!
With actresses Marilyn Lightstone and Venus Terzo.
With a replica Kitt from Knight Rider.
Nothing beats a classic!