SykoGrafix
SykoGrafix.com
September 29, 2019

Now on Newgrounds!

I think just about everyone knows Newgrounds.com, especially if you avidly used the Internet at a certain point in time. In those early, pre-Youtube days, Newgrounds was the place to go for funny animations and games. I had not thought about it too much,  but apparently at some point, the site also became a place for artists to post their illustrations. I did not know that! This past summer, I noticed a lot of art people talking about Newgrounds, so I thought I should look into getting an account and putting some of my work there.

Unfortunately, I quickly hit a snag. The name Ninjatron was already taken, and by someone who was probably not me. The account looked like it was largely inactive for some time, but I figured there was nothing I could do about it. When I mentioned as much in a Twitter thread about artists on Newgrounds, a kindly stranger told me that I could just make an account and use it to contact Tom and have it sorted out. Well, “Tom” is, of course, Newgrounds founder Tom Fulp. My initial reaction was “Really? People can just… do that?” Seemed unlikely that I could get in touch with an important person. Well, I gave it a shot and sent Tom a message (including a line that mentioned how much I love his game Alien Hominid), and it wasn’t long before the REAL Ninjatron was finally on Newgrounds.

But that’s not all! I’ve been posting some of my most favorite artwork from over the past few years, just a few every once in awhile as not to overwhelm everyone with tidal wave of artwork all at once. On August 30th, only a few weeks after I started there, one of my pieces, Prince Frog-in-Jar and Robot Princess, was put on the front page as featured content. Wow! I mean, maybe that’s no big deal, I don’t know, but in as long as I’ve been posting artwork on the Internet, I don’t remember anything like that had ever happened to me before!

I’m still uploading older pieces and building a following a little bit at a time, but so far I’d say I’m off to a good start.

You can follow me on Newgrounds here.

Sayonara.

July 20, 2019

Post TFcon Blues!

TFcon 2019 happened on July 12-14, and like just about every other TFcon, it was a wild weekend that ended way too quickly. I enjoyed my time there as I usually do, spending time with friends and cool people and buying as many toys as I could. Though I wish I could have done more. It was a busy time and there was a lot happening!

Here’s a look at some of what happened from my point of view.

The party kicked off in a big way on Friday when Arcee and Hot Rod from the awesome rock band Cybertronic Spree crashed the convention and appeared unannounced at the Hotel Bar. My phone had been giving me grief for a while, but it managed to cooperate for long enough to record Hot Rod doing karaoke, which you can watch here on Instagram.

There were some great guests at the show this year, including voice actors Michael Chain, Steven Keener, Colin Murdock and Blu Mankuma, former Hasbro designer Aaron Archer (who is an awesome dude and had an amazing panel about the creation of Transformers Armada), visual effects artist Chris Zammit, and comics writer Bob Budiansky. One of the best convention panels I had ever seen was from Ron Friedman, who wrote the 1986 Transformers movie and revealed that he rewrote the first 60 episodes of the TV series. It was an incredible behind the scenes look at storytelling from someone who had been in show-business for decades.

I did a panel too! I presented “Beyond Transformers: Takara’s Extended Robot Universe“, a panel all about other robot toys and shows from the same Japanese toy company that made the original Transformers figure. As with last year, my panel was on last, before the organizers panel on Sunday, but this year, I was way ahead and didn’t need to scramble to get everything done at the last minute. I worked pretty hard on this panel, making over 100 slides and even doing a hype video that would play before I started, which you can see below. It all paid off when I heard the big reactions to certain things that I had hoped would bring the house down. I actually finished exactly on time, which was a thrill in itself!

If you wanted to see the entire thing, it’s out there somewhere!

There was another epic Slurpee Run, an excursion to the nearby 7 Eleven, which saw over 50 people join us. I remember when it was only 5 people! Now it’s one of the highlights of the entire show, though it will forever remain an unofficial event.

And here’s my haul. You can see a detailed list of my purchases on my Tumblr. In general, my game plan for TFcon is to just buy everything you want early in the morning, put it away in your hotel room, and just not worry about it anymore. Then you can just chill in the panel room, check back in every once in awhile, and not miss anything good. That’s what I did, and I got just about everything I wanted and still had room for some extra stuff.

As much as I loved TFcon this year, I can’t help but feel like I could have done more. There were other things I wanted to do and people I didn’t see very much of if at all, so I feel like I might have missed out. This year is when it became apparent to me that I had to make choices based on my time and my health that were not always the most fun, but it is what it is. It just means that the convention is growing and there’s more to do in general, so that’s a good thing. Unfortunately, it’s only one weekend a year, but that just makes be appreciate it more. See you there next time.

Sayonara.

July 11, 2019

TFcon 2019 HYPE!

It’s time! TFcon Toronto 2019 is this weekend. The hype is real. I’ve been looking forward to this since… well since TFcon 2018! There are some truly amazing guests and incredible events scheduled for the show, and tons of new and old toys to buy too.

I’ll be presenting a panel called “Beyond Transformers: Takara’s Extended Robot Universe“. It’s all about other sci-fi and robot toys made before and after Transformers by the same Japanese company. It’s happening at 3pm on Sunday, the final event of the show before the organizers’ panel. Which means that TFcon ends when I say it ends. I’m working hard to make this my most epic presentation yet, full of some of the craziest robots you’ve ever seen. It’s going to be another “You had to be there” kind of moment, so you’re not going to want to miss it.

If you are attending, I hope to see you there. Come over and say hi to me.

I’ll have a full report of everything that happened when I get back.

Sayonara

May 17, 2019

Streaming Stuff

I have been streaming while doing art or playing video games for a couple of years now. Usually, I wouldn’t have very many viewers. In fact, most of the time I had no viewers at all. But I kept going, and my mindset was that you never know when things might pick up.

Primarily, I would stream on the Picarto platform, which is focused more on artists, and only once in awhile would I stream on the popular gaming site Twitch. I didn’t stream on a regular basis or have a set schedule, just whenever the opportunity arose. Typically, when I was able to stream, it was late at night. I didn’t really have a lot of viewers, and in fact, most of the time I had no viewers at all.

This past summer, I bought an Elgato HD 60 S, which is a device that plugs into your computer and allows you to use any HDMI input, typically a game console, as a video source in your streaming software. I wanted to do this for one reason specifically: To stream while playing Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate on Nintendo Switch. It’s a game with a strong cooperative element. Playing it while streaming has been a lot of fun, and I’ve streamed the game almost every week ever since, hunting alongside people watching the broadcast and chatting about strategies and whatever else pops up.

I started streaming more often after gaining some traction, and even without a set schedule I made a point of streaming a few days a week. I would do art streams on Twitch a lot more frequently, as Twitch has become a lot more open and usable to a variety of different stream topics, including art. I’ve got friends who were streaming art on Twitch, and so I was encouraged to do the same. Sometimes I’d stream art, or games, or both, and a few times I did streams focused on collecting where I opened up new figures and chatted about how I got each one, the history of the character, and stuff like that. My current set up has me broadcasting to both Twitch and Picarto at the same time. Twitch definitely has more traffic than Picarto, but for now it’s important to maintain both.

When I started streaming, I had no major goals. I’ve heard the same stories as everyone else, about superstar video game players, like the other famous Ninja, that make big bank on their streams by playing popular games. Good for them, but that’s not what I was ever interested in. I was just just giving it a try with the hopes of friends dropping by, maybe building an audience, and seeing what else might happen.

Well, something did happen. My average numbers got to the point where, in March of this year, I was awarded with affiliate status on Twitch, which gives my channel custom emojis, subscribers, and other stuff. It’s a pretty big step, and reaching means that I should be taking things a little bit more seriously. With that in mind, I’m trying to stream more frequently and plan things in advance. I also set up my own Discord server set up to help build and grow a community, keep viewers on top of what it going on, and give them a chance to contribute ideas. I still have a lot of work to do, with adding my own custom graphics and so forth, but I just making it to affiliate by this point was something I didn’t even think would be in the cards.

I suppose my experience in streaming is different than others because I got into it mostly on my own, without having seen a lot of other streamers. Much of this is new to me, and I often don’t really know what I’m doing. Most of the art streamers I watch are people who I know and have met in person, and I hadn’t ever really watched any game streamers. It sometimes occurs to me that I ought watch more, to see what everyone else is doing, but it’s hard to be both a creator and a consumer of content.

So, while it is more work, and it takes time from doing other things I could be doing, and people don’t always watch, why do I stream? I suppose that when there are things that I’d probably be doing anyway, why not stream while doing it in case people want to watch? Whether it’s games or art or something else, it’s more fun with people to interact with. And when there is a good crew of viewers on board, a stream can be an incredibly fulfilling experience. When the stream goes well, I feel immensely satisfied and energized to keep doing new things.

And there are lot of things that I would like to do! I want to stream old video games, new video games, games I know and games I’ve never played. I’d stream more digital art and traditional art and experiment with new kinds of art. I’m giving serious thought to streaming while making a comic so I can share the entire process. I’d even stream while playing with Lego if people would watch! Now that I think about it, I suppose that all of this would be my goal now as a streamer. I would want to have enough clout in the world so that I could do whatever I wanted on a stream and people would join in and watch with the confidence that it’ll entertaining because it’s me. That’s not really the way the Internet works, though. People want to watch specific things so they go out and find it. I’d have to earn that trust over time, and the only way do that is to keep streaming.

You can typically keep up with when I go live with my streams by following my Twitter, my Tumblr, and probably other places too.

I end my streams by telling whoever is watching to “keep following your ninja way“. I’m doing my best to live my own advice.

Sayonara.

Whoa, where has this year gone? I had been thinking of what I was going to do for the usual favorite stuff of the year article since all the back in December, but there were a few things I had not been able to check out yet that I had a feeling I should consider for the list. Now, all of a sudden, it’s freaking April? How did this happen? I suppose time flew by while dealing with my computer deciding to stop working on two occasions. But hey, we’re here now, so let’s get through this.

Favorite Game – Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate


This is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the game I played more than anything else in 2018. I’m still playing it, and you can watch me on Twitch! This game acts as a greatest hits of the Monster Hunter franchise. There is so much content and always something new to do, and playing online is a great example of what a positive community can bring to a game.

Favorite Book – Super Mario Encyclopedia


I don’t have this yet, but I just think it’s cool that it exists at all. The world of Mario is so incredibly expansive, but the details are kind of all over the place, so having a book that at least tries to put it all together is a good thing.

Favorite Toy – NECA Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie figures


These have been hard to find, and I don’t have them yet, but I desperately want them and I know they are out there somewhere. Just look at these amazing figures. They look like the characters from the 1990 movie stepped out from the screen. The fact that these came out at all is mind-blowing, and now that they are not convention exclusives anymore is fantastic. I hope everyone who wants to get their hands on them has the chance. Especially me!

Favorite TV Series – Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


I would not have thought that I’d like this show, and I still have not seen very much of it. It looks and feels so completely different than what you’d expect from TMNT. You’d think I’d hate it, but I can’t! The animation is just so totally rad! It’s unlike any other cartoon I’ve seen in a long time. And it actually has a few good laughs too.

Favorite Anime – SSSS Gridman


A very interesting show! It takes the kaiju and tokusatsu elements that you’d expect from an anime remake of a live action super hero series, and adds so much more to it. The monsters and mecha are all super cool, but it’s the characters and mysterious scenario that make you keep watching.

Favorite Movie – Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse


What an amazing, triumphant film. The unique animation style is an artistic achievement, and the story takes the concept of alternate universes (which could have easily came across as hokey and clunky) and uses it to make a truly heartfelt tale about being a hero. There just are not enough animated action movies, and I hope that the success of this film means there will be more.

Ok, we finally got all of that out of the way. Looking back, there were a lot of other things to like about 2018, and I didn’t necessarily pick the things that I though I would have wanted to showcase before it all shook out, which means that the year had some good surprises. I’m hoping for more!

We now join 2019, which is already in progress.

Sayonara.