Sunday, April 13, 2014

How did I start buying stocks?

I've always been interested in stocks.  When I worked for Disneyland way back in the forever ago, I had them take a little bit out of my tiny paycheck which would be used to automatically purchase their stock.  With that I got a cool 5 stocks in Disney...because I only worked there for a few months before moving to Burbank to work in the fast paced world of shoes.  Eventually I got my animation job, but at first it was shoes. 

And what goes in those shoes?  Feet.  So many feet...so many unique smells.  Actually - it wasn't a lot of unique smells, a lot of people's feet smell the same.  Bad.  It was strange at how someone would come in to try on a shoe with the dirtiest foot.  We were urged by our managers to put on the shoes for them, they'd just hold their foot out and wiggle their toes in giddy anticipation of me trying to force a shoe that was clearly too small onto their enormous hoof.  After a few too many soul scaring experiences, I just started lightly tossing the box of shoes in their direction and walking to a safe (clean air) distance.  If you have a foot fetish, I'd suggest working in women's shoes, because you get right in there and get an eyeball full of toe fungus and gnarly appendages.  So it cures you of your urges and you never want to look at another foot again.  But that's not what I'm supposed to be talking about...

My five Disney stocks sat and sat and sat.  I didn't do anything to them because I didn't need them for anything, and selling them wouldn't net me too much - When I got them in the first place they were in the $30 range...I checked a few years later and saw (during the dark, Home on the Range and Meet the Robinsons days) that the price had gone down to the mid teens.  It was disheartening, but that's what stocks do.

So I left them.  Suddenly - just 14 years later, I checked out the price for Disney stocks and they were around the $80 range!  Sadly, I still only have 5 of them.

It was time to take a good hard look into stocks.  You could make a lot of money, but you could also lose a bunch.  The big thing is to invest in good companies with good people running them.  How can you tell?  I'm still trying to figure that out - but there are a lot of benchmarks and numbers that are readily provided on sites like finance.yahoo.com.

I had no idea there were so many companies that were trading publicly.  What do you do to find a good one?  Invest time to find a good one?  That sounded like a lot of work, so I just typed in best stocks, best penny stocks, best stocks 2014 and so on.  Each search had a number of websites telling you to pick this one, or choose that one.  It's a horrible way to do it as you're relying on their research with your hard earned monies.

When you're speculating, you end up doing a lot of market watching and start biting your fingernails...as the stocks go down, the tips of your fingers are next to go and if you're (un)lucky enough to choose a stock that's a real dud, feel free to chew through your fingers as it's probably the only way you'll be able to keep yourself from making a mistake like that again.

If you're not trying to gamble (that would be speculating on penny stocks and day trading), then you want to pick up a book like "The Intelligent Investor" by Benjamin Graham.  I have to warn you, it's incredibly dull.  But it'll get you on the right path to choosing a stock (or a portfolio of stocks) that are smart(er) choices.  There's always a bit of risk involved, so start off only using discretionary funds, not your kid's college fund and especially not this months rent.

I only have a small portfolio consisting of 4 stocks.  Every one I've picked so far has gone down almost immediately since I purchased them.  I have yet to eat through my fingers, but it's still heart wrenching when there's no news and the company you purchased suddenly tanks a few dollars a share.  Sticking with good companies, even when their price drops a little bit, is usually a good idea - because the price goes back up...usually...eventually.  Hopefully...!


We'll see how it goes...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

new sketch and possibly a new character?

I finally have a new and improved way to draw!  I got a cintiq of my very own.  I've had one at work for a while, but if I wanted to do any drawing at home, it either had to be awkwardly accomplished on my wacom tablet, or on a piece of paper.  And who wants to draw on paper?  All those trees screaming in pain as someone uses an exacto knife to cut each piece of paper off of it....or, at least, that's how I assume paper is made.  It can't be squished into pulp and then flattened.  Or, what would be a tedious process, trees were broke up into splinters and then glued together.  Or into long thin strips and woven together.

In any case - it's like my food - I don't care where it comes from, as long as it tastes good.  And doesn't give me ebola.  Sadly, even that statement isn't true.  I'm more interested in how my food is treated before it's slaughtered for me - and I can't eat at a fast food restaurant because of their evil ways.  It's my own fault for looking into it.

Anyway - This is the first sketch from my first attempt at working on my brand new cintiq.
This was all done in Adobe Photoshop.

Also - I got this sucker more than 2 weeks ago, but I have an older HP laptop and the technology of the cintiq aren't completely compatible, so I had to figure that out.  Turns out one has to open the back of the cintiq and unplug the cord for the DVI cable and replace it with a VGA cable.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Mighty Yeti logo design contest

My friends over at Mighty Yeti are currently in the midst of their Kickstarter campaign to help fund their first two interactive children's books.

Josh and Jennie Book, the creative minds behind Mighty Yeti, started a design contest where all sorts of adorable little kids sent in their versions of the Mighty Yeti logo.  Obviously it's terrible, but it's great to see the little ones try (fail, but at least they tried).  So the Books called out some of their animation friends and I decided to throw a couple of designs their way:

My wife immediately said I was being rude - but the Mighty Yeti logo is the top half of a cute monster head peeking over the name.  Since you only see the top half, it made me think about what if he was that way because he'd been chopped in a gruesome way (not the pleasant way, not that there is one).  I thought it was a funny drawing, but since they're making children's books, it's not very appropriate, so I had to go back to the drawing board:

I have several under drawings where I was exploring whether he'd be sitting or standing, or if he had a big furry tail...I decided against a lot of those and believed a fun little pose would have him reading one of the Book's children's books...
The rough drawing was created in photoshop, transported to illustrator to clean up the lines and then copied and pasted back into photoshop to color.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Microstock report for July 2013

This is our microstock report for July 2013:


Shutterstock is finally faltering.  We've gone months without uploading a new file and it's finally starting to take effect.  The last two months we've not crossed the $100 payout level, so it takes at least 2 months to squeeze any money out of it.

I guess it means we'll have to start uploading new files - I don't like seeing it so low.  But we have other projects taking priority and, at least for us, microstock was always just an experiment in how much pocket change we could muster.  Turns out quite a bit!

All together our uploads have achieved over $15,700.  Of course that's over the course of years...we started in January 2009 where we had only one sale (so we almost never count that as our first month) and made 25 cents.  So 4 and a half years later we've made 15.7k.  Not bad.  It averages out to about three and a half thousand dollars a year.  Of course most of that was in the first two years where we were uploading a couple of files a week...

Anyway - that's all for now.  Enjoy the chart.  Or don't.  If you're looking to do your own microstock illustrations or photographs, I'd suggest starting with Shutterstock and slowly working your way down the list in the order of money we've made.  Those top three are the biggest for a reason.  They actually sell files - but none as much as Shutterstock.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

quick drawing

I never draw people...so I thought I'd post one quick sketch that I did at lunch on the back of a receipt.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Beware Cthulhu the Cutie

Beware of Cthulhu the Cutie!  He'll make your eyeballs coo as he's feasting on your innards.  Or whatever Cthulhu is supposed to do...I don't know.


My brother and I are thinking of a project to do with H P Lovecraft and somewhere in there I thought of doing Cthulhu as a little monster, more cute than dangerous - in looks anyway - I'm sure he could still...um...Like I said, I have no idea what he does.

I've heard of H P Lovecraft quite a lot - from people doing movies inspired by it or writing books that pay homage...but I've never read Lovecraft until yesterday.  I started with the Alchemist.

And I've heard of Cthulhu - I know he's a monster, and I think I've heard that he's over 50 stories tall...and he's quite cranky...but I don't know why or who or what he does.  There's a book called the Call of Cthulhu - so eventually I'll read that and maybe it'll all make sense.  Until then - beware of...something!

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

June Microstock report

It's been a little while since I posted a microstock report.

Shutterstock continues to blow everyone else out of the water.  Deposit Photo seems to have sales every few days - but nothing is as consistent as Shutterstock.  We're still getting close to getting a payout with Shutterstock every month (or so) and haven't uploaded a new illustration since last year!

So it's nice that we continue to make money (even if it's small) without paying much attention.  There was a time I would check Shutterstock every couple of hours to see how much we sold, but these days I pop on every once in a while as it's no longer a focal point of our Illustration business.

The only downside to Shutterstock these days is that they've done a real disservice to people with referrals.  It used to be that if you referred someone to Shutterstock, you got 3 cents for every download they sold...but now they've put a cap on that.  So you get to enjoy it for a couple of years, but then Shutterstock goes back to making money off of them and you get nothing.  It wasn't the biggest deal for us, as our referrals equated to about $15-$20 a month, but still - every bit adds up.  Only now, thanks to their new rule, it doesn't.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Quick Sketch

We play softball on Monday nights against a variety of businesses.  Each one has a unique name that hints at what they do - ours is the Splats.

Last Monday we played against a team called, "the Force."  Turns out they were Market Force Talent - but for a little while we were hoping they were Star Wars related.  Guess the Star Wars people are too busy making money to bother playing softball...

Originally he was going to be raising an x-wing, but then I just made him floaty so I could stop drawing.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Horton hears a Doctor Who

Everyone's favorite little elephant (not named Dumbo) crosses over with Britain's favorite doctor (not named Edward Jenner).

If you could pan out, you'd see that Horton is sitting on a little flower being held by Doctor Who.  Who in turn would be on a flower held by Dr Seuss...

I thought up this illustration as I finished watching the last episode of the latest season of Doctor Who.  The lines were created in Adobe Illustrator and then everything was painted in Adobe Photoshop.

After finishing with that, I decided to add some more elements:

Friday, June 14, 2013

Square Koala

Sometimes you feel like a koala.  Bear in mind this was created completely in Adobe Illustrator.
It's a new character we're welcoming to the Squaremania world! 

Friday, May 31, 2013

Latte Coffee

I've got coffee on the mind these days.

It might have something to do with the short week....after so many days off, all it does is make it harder to come back and sit down for 8 hours.

So coffee helps.
I did this drawing of a coffee cop and a water cooler.  The idea behind it is that it's always time for coffee - and this particular drawing illustrates that in the afternoon it's time for a coffee break.

This drawing was originally "Morning, time for coffee" - but the pose made it seem more of a fast moving happy coffee cup, so I thought of 'coffee on the go' and I had my illustration!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Tea for three

Tea is one of the best things you can ever have the fortune of drinking.  Most people waste it by slogging a tea bag into a cup of water.

The real way to drink tea is getting loose leaf tea.  The cruddy bits in the bags are what's left over from the good stuff.

I did a series of drawings for Happy Pantry based on a little bit of word play.  Only the first one is used...the other two were deemed not Happy Pantry worthy.


Tea He easily led to Tea She.  But then as I was going for the third...trying to think of how to make a tea an it - I remembered Cousin Itt from the Addams Family.  He always wore sunglasses and a bowler hat.  So, if Cousin Itt happened to be a tea cup, it would be a weird little hairy tea cup with a hat.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Not for Happy Pantry consumtion

These are illustrations for our Happy Pantry Facebook page - www.facebook.com/happypantry - fun stuff, but we ended up having better illustrations or felt that we didn't need to talk about pee...

I thought it was particularly funny - but since we're trying to appeal to moms and kids - it was deemed off brand.

This next one was fine, but we have a better illustration in mind so this went in the scrap heap:
Check us out on facebook!  Buy stuff from our store!  Or do none of the above!  Horray!

Happy Pantry sells items now!

It's the thing we've been working on for the last year or so

The Happy Pantry Store is finally open for business!

We currently have a bunch of cute necklaces with a variety of adorable illustrations:

These are just a few of the characters...many more at the store.

We also have a great looking apron and towel:


Friday, March 08, 2013

artwork...

I've been very busy with all the Happy Pantry stuff my wife and I have been working on.  Here's a sample of some of them...



Thursday, January 31, 2013

Microstock report for January 2013

I'm pretty sure I skipped a month, but here's a fully updated microstock breakdown:


Shutterstock let us down last month - every month, if you get more than $100 sold, Shutterstock pays it out.  Sadly, in December, we only sold $91...but it gets added on to the next month and we'll collect February 1st.

We still haven't added any new files - and a lot of the sites are selling less - but they're still selling, and that's why I figured we might as well put out a report.

instead we're working on actual licensing.  We've drawn a series of characters we call Happy Pantry and they even have their own facebook page

Monday, December 10, 2012

Star Wars: Darth Gonzo

Disney recently purchased Star Wars - and a lot of people immediately started photoshopping Princess Leia into pictures with the Disney princesses, or putting Mikey ears on Darth Vader.

I thought it would be awesome if another Disney property was mashed up with Star Wars.  What about a Muppets Star Wars?  Obviously Luke would be Kermit...or would he? - because Miss Piggy should be Leia, but that would mean that Kermit and Piggy would be attracted to each other AND brother and sister.

Oh well...that's for Disney to figure out.  But hopefully sooner than later!

I drew this:

Darth Maul was one of the few good things to come out of the first trilogy.  Too bad his death was such a lame end.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

microstock report for October 2012


This was a pretty decent month.  We've moved on past microstock licensing and are currently working on creating an actual line of characters that we can license for real (or is it called macro licensing?).  Those are over at www.happy-pantry.com and we've even set up a facebook page (now in it's second month!) at www.facebook.com/happypantry.



But it's nice - even though we've not contributed anything to these microstock sites, they continue to produce for us.  If you're interested in even just dipping your toe into the microstock pool - check out shutterstock first.  And once you have a handle on that, look into the other sites.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Microstock report for September 2012

Shutterstock - this was only the second time in the history of licensing illustrations from this site that we didn't make the minimum payout amount for the month (we were off by one dollar!).

We had some high numbers for August - and since we're still not uploading new images, it wasn't going to be too likely that we sustain that amount each month.  Slowly each site is selling less and less, but we have other projects taking up our time, so microstock licensing isn't as important.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Microstock report for August 2012

This is our microstock report for August 2012:

It was a much better month!  In July we saw a sag in all of the sites - none more disappointing than Istockphoto which was at an all time low of $5.38 - but this month many of the sites rallied back with high(er) numbers.

Shutterstock, as always, led the way with.  It helped to have 2 EL sales (that's a $32 download).  And it continues to sell the most on a daily basis.

One big surprise was Istockphoto - we used to have sales of almost $100 a month on this site - and it waned slowly lower and lower, until last month we only had $5 in sales.  Well this month it finally beat Dreamstime (which has been a consistent second place).

Overall it was a nice month - several sites reached their payout amounts and overall we reached $302!  Here's to hoping September continues to treat us kindly.

 
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