Welcome to my world. I'm a interactive designer working in the Seattle area. I love anime and have been an anime artist for about 4 years now. I love meeting new people and commenting on work. I also love receiving comments and criticism too. I want to be a better artist and The Otaku is the place to do that.

The Aki Con Disaster Podcast

Hey everyone!

Oh man I don't know what it is but I am loving podcasting! It's been so much fun! As many of you know Aki-Con was a bit of a disaster for Hypergate Studios but one gem that did come from the con was our podcast. We recorded our thoughts on the con live from the hotel bar on the second night. Now maybe its because I was in it and its always fun to hear your own voice but I loved it. This episode was so much better than I our first one. We clearly learned a lot from our previous podcast. I would love to hear your thoughts on it, I am on one knee, begging you guys to take a listen, maybe while you are at work and want some background noise. We are having such a fun time and seriously want to know what you guys think. Check out the new podcast at http://www.hgscomics.com. All the details of the train wreck that was Aki-Con are stored in this gem of a second episode, "What are we doing here - Episode 2 - Where the hell are we".


HGSComics.com Launches

Hi everyone,

I am very excited tonight to announce something that I've been working on with the fellow Hypergate Studios fellas for what seems like the last 4 months (it seems like that because it has been 4 months). We are launching our brand new comic book website, <a href="http://www.hgscomics.com">HGScomics.com</a>! This has been a very big step for us at HGS. We now have our commercial presence for our comic book. At the site you will be able to buy the comic book, sign up for updates, join our mailing list, read about our adventures, and BUY DEVIANT ART PRINTS! That's right, all of you fans of my <a href="http://spacecowboytv.deviantart.com/art/Hinata-Sexy-62857119"Hinata Sexy picture</a> can pick up a copy at our new site. We will ship it right to your door! There are a bunch of other prints available and we will be adding new prints on a monthly basis.

The other HUGE milestone for us is that launching this site also means we are officially launching our PODCAST!!!! HGScomics.com will be the home to the HGS podcast "What are we doing here?". Our podcast is just a 30 min journey with Nate Brad and I as we discuss our adventures in trying to make our own comic book, our love for nerdy things, and just general nerdism. This really is something special for us. Nate and Brad have been an equal part in all things Hypergate Studios but until now they've had to differ to my online art presence, but now you can hear from them too.

We can't express how excited we are about this and we hope you will take 30 minutes out of your day or night and join us as we try and figure out this whole nerd culture thing, make a successful comic book and talk about the extraordinary events that happen in our daily lives! Also, if you can, we have created a form for you on our site to write us directly about the podcast and we will read your comment on our next podcast! So if you want to get on the podcast yourself head over to the <a href="http://hgscomics.com/index.php/podcast.html">podcast page</a> and shoot us a message and we'll read it on the next show!

Whew! In other news, we are going to be at Aki Con in Everett WA this year. Anyone in the WA state area that wants to meet us, come on down to Aki Con. We have a booth there and we'll be recording a podcast live from the show! Special prints not available on here or on HGScomics.com will go on sale at Aki Con too, so be sure to check us out!

Well that's it for tonight, check out our new site and listen to the pod cast, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, shoot us a message on the site and let us know what you think! Have a great night!


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Making the Jump to Artist Alley

Hello everyone!

I was at Sakura Con 2009 this year. I've been going to that convention for four years now and every year I have been there as a fan. As I am sure many of you know conventions are wondrous occasions where we as fans can all gather and share our common interest. There is NEVER a dull moment at a convention, especially if you are there with the intent of making all you can out of it. There is the always-money-devouring exhibitors’ hall, gaming rooms, panels, rock band contests, singing competitions, cosplay, concerts, autograph signing, and finally Artist Alley, which brings me to my point. Though every year I have been at this con as a fan, this year I was also there with the distinct honor to be a part of the Artist Alley. What a HUGE difference that made!

Die-hard fans may be at conventions the full 72 hours non-stop and for that I am truly amazed, but in regards to us mere mortals, there is probably a hotel room, maybe a pillow and the desire to sleep every once and a while. This was true for me. So let me give you the numbers first. With 6 hours of sleep a night I would arrive early in the morning to start setting up my booth. I worked 35 hours in three days. There are only 25 tables for the Artists and the convention boasts 17,000 in attendance (per the badge numbers I saw).

I have been working on my art and my style for 5 years now, I am a graphic designer by trade but I have always been interested in illustration. Making the jump from fan attending a convention to artist working a convention is one of the main goals I have been striving towards since I first started drawing. Last weekend was a dream-come-true for me! I wouldn't trade it for anything. However, not ever being in an artist alley at a large convention before I found out some important lessons that I’ll share with you now:

1. You are there to work.

It was the most difficult thing that I really had to grasp this weekend. You will miss things like the Anime Music Video competition, opening ceremonies, even closing ceremonies. You can maybe sneak into the exhibitors’ hall for a little bit and buy some DVDs or figures but that’s about it besides bathroom breaks. Every minute you are away from your table, you aren’t selling. You might have a friend there with you that can cover your booth for you but if you aren’t there then that means the artist isn’t there. One of the main selling points you’ll have is that the customer can meet the artist.

2. Make friends with your neighbors.

Once the reality sets in that you are going to be at the same place for just about the whole con then look to your left and your right. These are the people that are going to be sitting with you the whole time! Get to know them! Immediately you have something in common, you are both artists. I got to know the girl sitting next to me pretty well and we had a lot of fun. Her art work was great and we traded Photoshop tricks as well as artistic tips. As the con goes on you'll become closer to even the artists not around you. Take a moment and realize this, art is subjective and everyone is going to have different tastes, therefore don't look at the other artists as competition but as fellow companions.

3. Customer Service is Key.

Putting yourself out there as an artist and saying to the world, "this is what I can do, judge me" is one of the scariest things there is for an artist. With that said you can be the best artist ever and you still won't sell anything if you don't put on a smile and open yourself up to people. I saw other artists fail because they set their art out in front of them and then started reading a book. Let’s say you see a piece you like but you are on the fence about whether or not you are going to buy it. You look at the picture and you think, “hmm, I wonder how he/she did that”. You look up to talk to the artist and ask a question but instead the artist is ignoring you reading a book looking bored like they don’t want to be there. This is not a good atmosphere to be in as a customer or an artist.

4. Balance will make a comfortable environment.

It wasn’t until Saturday afternoon that I really picked up on this lesson. Like in lesson 3, being attentive to your customers will help your sales but being too attentive can scare them away. Even though you may be extremely nervous to have someone looking at your art, judging what you made, don’t watch them looking at your stuff. Let them enjoy your work on their own time. Keep their actions in your peripheral view and if you see them slow down or look like they are finished then give them your attention again. Perhaps they have a question or need more information. A great way to break the ice is say, “if you find something you like let me know”, or “if you have any questions I’ll be right here” or even quote them your prices “all prints are $5 or you can get 5 prints for $20”. If they are interested they will point something out, otherwise they will probably smile and move along.

5. Don’t argue with your customer, ever.

If I haven’t made myself clear yet, ART IS SUBJECTIVE! Some people aren’t going to like your work. It’s ok. Let’s say, someone came up and said one of your pieces was too skinny and that she was anorexic. Ok, don’t argue with them. You aren’t going to change their mind about it. Just smile and shake it off. The worst thing that can happen is that people will look up and see you in an argument and then someone who might like the piece will skip your table and you will lose a sale.

6. You aren’t the best artist in the alley.

Even if you are the best artist in the alley don’t think like that. If you go to the convention with the attitude that if you sell one picture that you made or get one commission then you will leave so much happier than if you set minimums like, “I have to sell all my prints”.

These are the six lessons that I learned at my first big con artist alley experience. If you’ve been an artist at a convention before I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences too! For me, even though I might have missed a lot of the convention’s events, it was the best Sakura Con I’ve been to. I can’t speak for everyone in the alley but I left feeling accomplished and that my little hobby drawing comic books and anime characters actually means something. I feel like a worthy artist/illustrator and it really was the experience of artist alley that gave it to me. To all the artists out there in the Otaku, I encourage you, when you feel ready, sign up for artist alley at your local convention. Put yourself out there and if you follow these six lessons you’ll have a great time!

The Space Cowboy

Convention season is over, for now

Whew, and Sigh . . .

Its finally over. The two conventions in Seattle were Emerald City Comic Convention and Sakura Con. Together they boasted over 25,000 people in attendance and (I believe) brought in more than a million dollars. As I'm sure many of you know who read my posts, I've been preparing for these conventions for the last 4 months now. The challege was that they were back to back one weekend after the other. I made over 350 prints with 30 variations, 150 copies each of the two issues of Hypergate Studios' Comic book Artemis, teaching materials for my photoshop panel, and 900 business cards. I worked 11 hours the first weekend at Emerald City and 35 hours this weekend at Sakura Con, (Friday Included). I am beat tired, exhausted, excited, happy, ect. ect.

It was an amazing experience. I was at the Artist Alley at Aki Con this last November and that was all the experience I've had being in an Artist Alley. Both of these cons are at least 10 times larger than Aki Con and they were back to back. Its the first time I've been to a major con as an artist and though I didn't have many fans starting the cons, I think after meeting some of the wonderful people at both, I may have some now. I will spare you the details of the leads the company made but as an artist I have been asked to be a possible guest professor at two schools, sell my art work in two theme specific stores, I've been favorably reviewed by a major online publication and gained the opportunity to start doing professional commissions for some wonderful people who were intersted in my style.

It was the best possible outcome you could get being a new artist at a MAJOR con for the first time. I feel accepted, welcomed, and justified in my work. Months/Years of practicing, planning and working for the posibility to be considered a professional illustrator amongst so many other more talented artist seems to be more of a reality to me now.

These conventions are over now and the amount of work I had to put into it to be prepared seemed impossible but now that its over I feel like its just the beginning. As tired as I am, I am still energized and excited to keep pushing forward. It doesn't feel like being considered a "professional illustrator" could happen but more that in time being considered a "professional illustrator" will happen; so long as I stay my course.

To everyone that I met at both Emerald City Comic Convention and Sakura Con, it was my pleasure. A special thanks to all those of you who bought a print or multiple prints from me, and an even more special thanks to those who took a chance on HGS' comic book and helped out a local company realize a part of their dream.

If you wanted a print but didn't get one or are interested in having my draw something for you feel free to contact me here, at hypergatestudios.com or even through email. I can make sure that you will get what you were looking for from the conventions.

All that I can say is thanks again, this has been unreal!

~The Space Cowboy

Conventions Back to Back in April

Hey everyone!

I'm a relatively new artist when it comes to the convention season but as I understand it, Convention Season is upon us. For those of you who don't know (which can't be many I talk about it all the time), I am a partner in a company called Hypergate Studios. HGS (Hypergate Studios) publishes a comic book called Artemis that has been my love, my pain, and my brain child since about eight months ago. We are launching our second issue this month and will be at two conventions! I'll be at both Sakura Con
and The Emerald City Comic Con representing HGS.

On a personal note:

I'll be in artist alley for both conventions. You can come up and say hi if you like. I'm selling a lot of prints from my gallery below as well as doing DIGITAL COMMMISION WORK right there in front of your eyes and at a discounted rate! Thats right, I am going to take 2-3 commissions at each convention and create the work digitally. We will have a monitor set up facing the crowd so you can watch as I work! Commissions will be on a first come first serve basis. We can print or email the final work when its done, I'll work that out with the client at the con. So if you've ever wanted me to draw something for you this is a great chance at a discounted rate or if you've ever wanted a print of any of my work (That Sexy Hinata Picture) its an awesome opportunity to pick some up!

On a professional note:

I'll be at these cons with my partners and we will be selling HGS works too. Posters of Artemis, comicbooks, signatures you name it. At Sakura Con we might even be giving a panel on photoshop and comic books. Look for Photoshop and Comics 101 in the Sakura Con Schedule. One of the benefits of having our power set up at the con too is that we should be able to answer photoshop questions for you too if you want to swing by the booth and ask us.

Whatever your reason for coming out we are very excited to be at these two cons and look forward to meeting new people! Hope to see you there!

~The Space Cowboy