Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Final Post Here - Moving to Mattchee.com

SO, it's with a bit of a heavy heart that I'm bringing this blog to a close, for now. However, it's not really ending, I'm just moving all my art/comics blogging over to mattchee.com to consolidate things a bit. I'm HOPING that instead of fretting about having two blogs to update, and never doing anything, I can focus on actually making blog posts, and giving you something worthwhile to read (what a concept)! 

I'm not totally sure what caused me to rationalize having two blogs for the same thing. I think I just didn't want to let go of this one once I had mattchee.com up and running. I also kind of felt that I had built something up here, and by totally switching over, I'd lose that. But I think I'm losing out on more by trying to commit to something that I can't follow through with.

So, for the foreseeable future, I'm not going to be updating this blog HERE any more, but my adventures will continue over at mattchee.com. If you're a subscriber here, I invite you to come over to mattchee.com and become a subscriber there. In fact... I'll help, here's a link to the feed!  How about THAT? 

Anyway, take care everyone, and good-bye for now, Ink Outside the Bottle....

your pal,


Thursday, April 21, 2011

More Progress in My "Getting-My-Act-Together-A-Thon"

Last time I checked in, I was working on totally revamping my website. That is now finally complete. Or as complete as I'd like it to be before exposing people to it. Gonna ramble more about it, but if you want to go and check it out, its www.mattchee.com - knock yourself out! There's a new comic strip posted there too.  Check it out!

So, like I was saying, I would have loved for it to be totally robust and jam packed with content right out the gate, but thinking like that tends to make me NEVER be ready, so I just had to say "This is where it starts" and then plan to build from there. I had a couple goals to hit before I went "live" with it, though. I wanted to make sure and have a "store" or "shop" (I think I actually called it both) with all the stuff I sell, have graphical links to all of my social media type sites, and then, of course, some new comic art to showcase right on the front page. So if you go there now, you'll see I have all that.  I don't want to drag on, but I'll have to blog about the various details of setting all that up at some point.  Anyhow, check out the site, here's a preview, too:

Maybe you notice I've mentioned social networking. Most of that I already had in place. My twitter account (which I've recently switched from InkOutside to just mattchee, in case you haven't been keeping track), this blog, and I've even gotten my marketing-type emails rolling (I use MailChimp fyi - you can sign up over on the right there). But for Facebook, I'd been a passive user, so I figured it was time to kick it up a notch and make myself an artist page. So that's what I did.  You can check that out here. So, we'll see how that goes.

So, I'm kinda getting my act together as far as self promoting goes, so I'm just going to keep plugging away, and maybe do a little artwork inbetween, eh?

Anyhow, that's all for now. Not extremely exciting, I suppose, but I think, with this particular blog, in addition to the other stuff, I'm kinda chronicling my life in comics...  so... yeah... see you next time!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Transformation Continues

So I guess I didn't write to much about it before, but over the last several months, since, around APE, I guess I'd say, I've been kinda working on this whole self transformation. Well, at least an "artist self" transformation. I've been working towards taking my art/comics side of my life much more seriously. Throughout my various con experiences, I've met some truly inspiring individuals who have really guided me on how to not only set my goals, but also work towards achieving them. Quite inspiring really.

It's kind of been a slow process, but I'm being patient. I mean, on top of just life happening, I still had various commitments to follow through with (such as completing Mastorism, which I felt was a tad detrimental to the takeoff of my transformation). One of my main troubles, though, was getting a good website going for myself (y'know, aside from this kick ass blog here), so I spend quite a great deal of time tearing down my old website and setting up a new one. One that was more oriented toward selling myself as a professional graphic designer (which I am) to pick up freelance jobs (or I guess you could call it "side work"), and it was very static and straightforward and business-like (about as business like as I get, anyway).

My goal was to get this site done in time for WonderCon so that if I gave my card to anyone, they would find my super duper great website. However, once I got to WonderCon, I almost found myself trying to talk people out of going to my website! I was thinking "THIS isn't what I want people to go to." Cause these people were fans, my website was set up for prospective professional clients to. One of the other problems I encountered was that I had a card for me, a card for Mastorism, and a card for Symbiosis Ink - and people wanted to know which card to take, and I couldn't even convince myself that any of those sites were ones that would satisfy what these people were after. Then, don't even get me started on how to inform people about THIS blog site.  Yikes!

So, on my five or so hour drive home, I thought long and hard about what all this meant. Part of what I was trying to do was to streamline (notice a re-occurring theme here?) my whole website situation so I could give people a one stop shop. This also meant I had to streamline WHO I AM (not so easy for someone like me to do). I think I've come to the conclusion that I'm not really selling myself very well as a work-for-hire graphic designer, production person, etc, and I just need to focus on producing my own art, and hopefully 1.) gain a bit of a following and 2.) get peoples attention that way.

The bottom line, is, I guess I'm saying, I'm tearing down my website and starting it over, among other things. Partly why my new vigor for blogging has taken a big of a break. The website is almost complete so, I will be getting back here some more. But I will also be doing website specific blogs going forward, as well as my new, regular-ish, emails.  Boy, social media sure takes a lot out of you without having to even actually talk to anyone!  Whew.

OH, and before I sign off here, about those emails - I just put a subscription box over on the right there, I encourage you to sign up. Right now, they mostly have some updates, links, and upcoming events, but I'm hoping to include some comics and maybe exclusive art very soon!  Check it out.

That's all for today, take care everyone!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Return From WonderCon!

WonderCon, itself, is a three day event, but for me, it's a five day event. I like to cut out the night time driving  in and out when I can - it's just safer (after three days of convention, driving five hours home in the dark...  nod), and I've found it greatly reduces the stress of it overall. So, I just got back into town yesterday evening, and after kicking my feet up for the night, its time to be pro-active in my post-con activities...  so here I go! 

There's me running along the streets of San Francisco with my entire set-up contained in those two tubs plus the banner rack (which is bungeed to the front of my tubs). So, yes, I was able to pack everything into those two tubs, and it worked out fantastically. I would say that this show had the smoothest setup and break down of ANY show that I've done thus far. That's not to say I'm done analyzing and perfecting my show set up. Far from it.

Overall, WonderCon was a FANTASTIC show.  Not only did I get to see/talk/hang out a bit with a lot of my good creator friends whom I only get to see at conventions, but I also made new friends, and met a ton of fantastic folks from the other side of the table. We tried out a lot of new stuff at this con, too, so it was cool to see what stuff is succeeding and failing, and gauging what needs to be done in the future (always a learning experience). Sales wise, it was my most successful convention yet, so we're definitely heading in the right direction with some of the newer more art (and less directly comics) oriented stuff.

Did a lot of fun button commissions! Wow is that fun! I didn't really get a chance (or think of it anyway) to take pictures of any of them, though, so if anyone out there reading this got a custom button from and and would like to email me a picture, I'd really appreciate it (and post it here in the blog, if you don't mind). It was kind of a good gateway into the commission world, which I've been apprehensive on getting into (just due to lack of experience) - So I think for upcoming conventions I'm going to take on some larger commissions/quick sketches for tips if they do come up.  I'm also working on being better about emailing, so I will see if I can get any advance commissions that way.  We'll see. 

Anyhow, that's my wrap up for WonderCon.  I have a ton to do, emails to send, websites to update, so this will probably be my blog post for the week, as far as I can tell.

But more coming soon!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

WonderCon Updates and Some Art!

**UPDATE: Now with working links!**

Well I'm onto my 8354th day of preparing for WonderCon 2011, and I'm pretty comfortable saying that I'm pretty close to ready!  Woo hoo! Before I start to ramble on, I'd better get my plugs in:

WonderCon is at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, THIS WEEKEND, April 1-3, click here for more details on the con.  I will be at table SP30 in the small press area. I'm going to have two new comics, Mastorism: Terror in Sector Five, and an Explosion Proof one shot. I will also have a ton of new buttons (something new for me), new prints, painting/sketchcards, other original art, t-shirts, and probably other stuff I can't even think of, so if you're there, come on by and check it out, say hello, whatever!

If you're interested in purchasing my new comics you can buy them online at IndyPlanet.com.  Some linkage:

Mastorism: Terror in Sector Five (you can also get the first volume there as well)

Explosion Proof: One Shot

OKAY, enough busines - for those of you who were keeping tabs on my WonderCon packing progress, I ended up packing everything into two big bins. I was shooting for one bin (I had this idealistic idea of fitting everything into one tub, but my wife told me to give up at around the point where I was drawing up diagrams in AutoCAD to get everything to fit). So, I'm pretty happy with that. My father-in-law also gave me a convertible dolly, which I cleaned up and painted, should make it easier for me to cart these huge things around (I'll try and get a photo of the whole get up).

SO!  That's where I'm at with that. Literally, EVERYTHING fits into these two bins except my banner stand (which I could modify to fit, and might have done that, had I more time!), and the cooler (which also might fit, but I'd never put anything with the potential to leak in the same container as comic books! aaaaaaaahhh!).

Okay, I guess you're wondering when I'm going to show you that art I was talking about.  WELL, take a peek just below. Its a stack of sketch/painting cards (for the size, I want to call them sketch cards, but in reality, they're little paintings) - well not stacked here - which I will have for sale for a mere $5 each at WonderCon. I the idea for doing these when I had a stack of illustration board cards laying around, and I had just finished a painting. If you're familiar with painting with acrylics (which I have started doing lately), they you know they dry HELLA fast - so I hate to see any left over paint go to waste, so I would do these super quick cards to use it up. You'll see its a lot of faces, cause that's the easiest thing for me to do without much planning. I found it's a good place to try out different techniques, as well as doing some adventurous color mixing (though I'm sort of weird, I like finding ways to come up with rich blacks and neutral grays). Anyhow, enjoy, and any of these could be yours!

You can click on that to make it larger.  Sorry some are sideways.  As always, I'm going to try and blog up to, and during the show, but I often wind up pretty busy, so... we'll see.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Eight Legs of FURY!

So, as promised, I thought I ought to post some artwork here for you, so that you don't think that I'm a slouch or some such nonsense (and, hey, look at me blogging on a regular basis!). Over the last couple weeks I've been preparing a ton of odds and ends for WonderCon - including some buttons and prints and whatnot. This one kinda serves a dual purpose.  At the con you'll be able to get this in either button or print form.  Check it out, an octopus!

I'm not sure what's with the fascination with cephalopod artwork, or cephalopods in general , is all about, but there's something cool and intriguing about them. In fact, I thought it was just me, but like many things, once you go to the cons, no matter how weird your interest is, there's someone exploiting it. So this might just be one more octopus among a sea of squid and octopi (and my favorite the nautilus), but it seemed like a good opportunity to get to draw an octopus, so I took it!

I'll probably share more of these little drawings in the coming days. After pretty much drawing the same characters, subject matter, and style day in and day out for almost three years, its been a fun diversion to get to get outside the usual routine!

Anyhow, hope you enjoyed this one.  More to come!

(OH, and for those of you interested, I did the line art in Manga Studio, and the color work in Photoshop.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rub a Dub Dub, a Convention in a Tub?

HOLY COW!  I just went back and looked at an earlier pair of posts I did some time back. The first was about con prep, and the second was a follow up on the con prep one, showing how a managed to get everything into APE that year using one hand truck, and then the finalized table set up. (I could link you back, but I'm feeling lazy, and since you're not, you can just go click the "Convention Prep" category over there if you're interested)

I impress even myself! 

Well, that time it was crucial because I was going into the con all by myself, whereas typically my lovely wife comes with me to help out.  But, what does any of that have to do with today? 

Lately I've felt like when I go into cons, I feel like I've reverted from that post. That I have arm-fulls of stuff, barely dragging a hand truck behind be with a pinky, and stuff dangling everywhere. Then getting on an elevator? FORGET ABOUT IT! (luckily I tend to arrive before the floor even opens, so I'm usually in before anyone can observe this bizarre spectacle). 

SO, this year I've been all about STREAMLINING. My wife hates me using that term because she equates it with "downsizing" or basically cutting away the good parts. Not really so, though.  I just want to walk into a con without looking like I'm carrying a pile of crap. My big solution: A GIGANTIC TUB. Yes, I went down to the local Store-That-Should-Not-Be-Named and purchased not one but two huge tubs.  So, in a sense, I'm concealing my piles of crap, right? 

Well, no no, actually I am doing some actual streamlining. For instance, I managed to pick up a nifty wood (er, particle board) comic rack at the flea market a couple months back (the lady who sold it to me thought it was a bill organizer, though its clearly a periodical/literature rack of some sort - she said it would help me with my taxes, while fully admitting that it didn't help her at all), which is replacing a number of various rack type fixtures that awkwardly filled up space in my previous bin.  Now I just have one rack in there, and its got a pretty thin profile.  The problem before was I'd have a rack, and it took up a ton of space in my bin, but was mostly air.  So those are all out.

I was pretty excited when I got home. Like I said, I bought two bins, but fully expected to get everything into one bin (these bins are huge... almost too huge), however, even with the streamlining process in effect, I'm still foreseeing trouble getting everything into one bin.  Then the question becomes:  Do I go with two giant bins, or one giant bin and a box, or...  who knows. 

I might document the final arrangement for a future follow up blog post (cause I know you're that interested).  I'll be taking pictures anyway because I like to document how everything fits in the bin (good for pack up at the end of the show!)

That's it for now.  I really will post some new art soon........