2017: New Beginnings

Hi 🙂 If you’ve been following me for any length of time, I want to thank you for your patience. If you’re new, Welcome! I’m Ben. I’m a cartoonist and this is my blog. It’s been awhile since I’ve properly blogged here and I’d like to take a moment to apologize for the way I’ve handled things thus far.

Where Have You Been?

The short answer to this is dealing with mental disorder. I’ve never really felt comfortable blogging on my own sites as it tends to feel rather news post-y. This sets up an expectation in my head that whatever I write about needs to be newsworthy. It sounds silly and irrational explaining it but that’s anxiety for you. I’ve dealt with anxiety and other issues most of my life, certainly from the time I started my first site. It took me a long time to be ok with the idea of seeking outside help for my problems. I’ve shared some of my journey on my tumblr blog as it felt more casual. Eventually I realized this is something I should be addressing in my own official blog. Not that I haven’t been authentic when I post things but rather there’s parts of myself I never shared due to fear, humiliation, or some other rationalization that my own site wasn’t the place for sharing my experiences.

I have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. I didn’t fit the stereotype growing up as I was a fairly well behaved kid and a good student. Some of that I attribute to family pressure to act “normal” in public and some to how poorly ADHD was diagnosed at the time. I have sensory issues I’m still sorting out. I know I’m light-sensitive and background noise distracts me, especially voices since I can’t tune those out. I probably have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, though I haven’t officially been diagnosed with it yet, as I’ve compared my anxiety to the constant buzzing of fluorescent lights. I’ve been in therapy about a year now learning what all this means for me and coming to terms with it. I’m still on this journey. It’s sometimes scary and confusing. Actually getting medicated and seeking help, however, has been nothing short of life changing for me. Before I would be positively terrified of anybody even suspecting there was something wrong with me, much less the idea of sharing and discussing it with people. Mental health has a stigma surrounding it and as soon as I realized my worries were due to a chemical imbalance I decided I wasn’t going to let them control me ever again. I will never feel shame for getting treatment. I hope my efforts to normalize and open a dialogue about mental health help other people realize they have the right to feel ok with themselves. Every person, no matter who you are or where you are on your journey through life, deserves to feel accepted and loved. I want you to know I appreciate you and I’m very glad you’re here with us.

What Happened to the Podcast?

You may have noticed Season 5 of the NoRights Podcast ended abruptly and transitioned into TNT (Talk, News, and Trivia) with Ian and Frank. I apologize if it seemed jarring. Let me be clear I’m still really good friends with everybody involved. This wasn’t some sort of falling out or anything like that. The fact of the matter is it didn’t feel like the NoRights Podcast to me anymore. It became something I liked attending and participating in but no longer wanted to host. I handed the reigns of that show over because I want the NoRights Podcast, like this blog, to have a more personal direction. I like hanging out with my friends but my own voice was getting lost in the mix.

What’s the Plan Moving Forward?

I’ve taken down the static front page and have pushed the blog to be the main focus. For a time I considered starting a multimedia magazine. It’s a good idea but completing full regular issues alongside growing a readership is too ambitious. Instead I intend to post at least two substantial blog posts a week from here on out, hopefully more. I’d like to document my projects as I work on them, share my thoughts and opinions with you, and try to be more engaging than I have been in the past. It’s not going to be perfect because I’m not perfect. But I will be honest and I will respect you. Once I have enough significant content on a subject or project I’ll put together an ebook for it. I’ll be working this into a Patreon campaign so people who like my work will have a chance to support it while getting some nice extras for themselves. More on that to come.

I’d planned to record and roll out the first episode of Season 6 of the podcast on Tuesday but that didn’t happen obviously. I’d spent two weeks vacationing with my mom in California and returning to a productive schedule has been rough. Refilling my prescriptions became an ordeal with travel, my sleep cycle was all screwed up after staying awake 27 hours and then sleeping through New Year’s Eve, and I got slowed down with some depression. I’m not making excuses, just being realistic as some day’s goals are going to be harder to reach than others. That said, I will do my best to be open with you all and keep you updated from here on out. My twitter is the easiest way to reach me if you’re wondering what’s up or have a question about anything.

I’d like to thank you once again for joining me and I hope you enjoy watching me work. I have projects lined up running the gamut from making music to drawing pin up girls, monsters, and animating shorts. It’s my wish that neither of us grow bored and there’ll always be something interesting ahead of us. May my successes and failures inspire you, friend!

Status of the Blog 10/01/16

It’s the first of the month so I figure this is a good time to post updates and plans.


I’ve started blogging on my tumblr more and to keep it regular I’m going to try and do it every Friday to recap the week and announce plans for the next one. I might post more than that but Friday’s what I’m shooting for. (I meant to start last night but was on a hangout with Ian and Frank until about 2 this morning.) Following what I’m doing right now I’ll try to write up about the month’s progress here.

Animation and New YouTube Channel

The main goal is to launch a new channel in 2017. I want to make it specifically for my cartoons, program a content strategy for it, and see if I can intelligently play the YouTube game. I’m still deciding on a proper name for it. I’ve used NoRights Productions for a long time but it’s ambiguous and having a dedicated name for my animation business is a good move. I’ll probably crosspost to my newgrounds account, too, though I’d like to experiment there. Tom Fulp has posted about YT on NG and he makes excellent points. NG’s audience is smaller but more passionate about animation. As I start producing more content we’ll see how that shakes out. I’d also like to do some freelance work though I’m still building my demo reel.

Multimedia Magazine

I’ve been enamored with the idea of doing a digital magazine that’s a mashup of creative writing, essays, comics, animation, video, audio, basically a bundle of stuff I want to put together in a unique regular package. I’d considered starting with a Halloween issue but don’t want to feel rushed by an arbitrary deadline. I’m actively working on it, collecting my thoughts and outlining them. The animation channel is Project A and the magazine is Project B. Project A is going to have many sub-projects during the week and Project B will be evenings, weekends, and other down time.

Status of the Blog: 07/12/16

  • On July 12, 2016 ·
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Hey everybody! Here’s a site update and plans moving forward.

Web Stuff

I’ve been retooling things, moving content to it’s own custom post types. Still working on it and I’ll probably change how the portfolio displays, too. It’s been a little tricky figuring out what stuff I need to hard code and what I can edit through posts. I want to prioritize things so it’s not overwhelming for new visitors.

The Podcast

I enjoy doing the weekly hangout shows with Frank and Ian but it hasn’t felt like the NoRights Podcast for some time now. I’ve handed the reigns of that show over to them to host. They’ve started calling it TNT – Talk News and Trivia. I’ll have it on the site once I move some other stuff around.

I’ll be rebooting my own podcast once I get some episodes recorded. Expect them to be shorter and more topic-focused.

The YouTube Channel/Newgrounds Page

Animation is going to be my main focus. Most of my projects I plan on posting on my YouTube Channel – Animated shorts, Let’s Plays, game parodies, reviews, tutorials, time lapses, etc.

I also want to experiment with some more adult subjects and techniques so you’ll find these things on my Newgrounds Page as they’ll probably be more NSFW.

Blogs/Tumblr/Social Media

I like having a regular blog space as it helps me track progress. I just have to keep it from becoming an expectation to fail at. To that end, I think the main blog here will be for releasing things, site announcements, news like that.

My Tumblr will be my de facto WIP, yakety smackety, daily thoughts, stream of conscious, rambling blog. Really that’s what I feel tumblr’s good for, anyway. If you have anything bigger than 140 characters, post it on there and link it on twitter.

Speaking of my Twitter, the plan for now is to post screenshots there as I work. That’s a good way to mark a break and I’ll work on something else after progress shots go up to keep from burning out. I’ll amalgamate them on tumblr and maybe post collections of them here.

In Closing

At this point I’m lining things up. I don’t want to make promises or set deadlines. I just want to get in my studio and work.

Status of the Blog 06/04/16

  • On June 4, 2016 ·
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Hey everybody, hope you had a nice Memorial Day weekend. I’ve been busy lately and I think it’s about time I catch everybody up to speed.

How’s Your Health?

I’m doing better than I have been in a long time. The anxiety’s been manageable and the ADHD meds have helped keep me focused. I took a bit of a work vacation that put some things into perspective.

Where Have You Been?

I spent a week in Calgary, Alberta, Canada hanging out at Quickdraw Animation Society participating in the Animation Lockdown event. If you’ve never heard of QAS, they’re a nonprofit artist co-op for animators. During the annual lockdown teams gather over the long weekend to make films in 48 hours. This was a great opportunity to travel, make some friends, and see if I could actually get an animated project done in time.

I present to you, Bottled Spirits:

I had to cut a lot of it to finish on schedule so I’ll be doing a longer, fuller version in the future.

What’s Up with the Site?

Before I left I decided to roll the site back to an earlier theme to make it easier to navigate. Then I realized some of the shortcodes I’d been using were from a plugin for the newer theme so I had to reinstall that. Since I got back home I’ve been trying to deal with errors and considered moving to a different system/host. That’s probably not going to happen given difficulties I’ve had importing the archives. I could really use a webmaster as the site’s held together with little more than duct tape and a prayer.

The front page should be getting cleaned up soon. I want it to be the hub for all my projects without getting confusing on where to go.

Status of the Blog 04/30/16

  • On April 30, 2016 ·
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I’ve been seeing a therapist about my anxiety/frustration and they believe I might have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This could explain why I have trouble focusing in the studio, even when it’s on my own work I care passionately about. I didn’t originally consider it an option since I don’t fit the stereotype of being hyper and I was a good student in school. Looking back on it a number of my problems could have built up as a response and a way to cope. I’m going to be starting medication that could help.

Also in an effort to improve my art and career I’ve signed up for online courses and a 1 on 1 mentorship program with Stephen Silver. I’m excited to have somebody I admire and respect guiding me along. May is shaping up to be a busy month as I’ve got a project I’m going to work on and an event I’m going to attend.

Status of the Blog 02/29/16

  • On February 29, 2016 ·
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Today I want to talk about a few things that are changing and what they mean for the site.

Billy Badass Updates

I love making this comic. However, one page can easily take 2+ days of work to finish and I find myself getting frustrated trying to fit it into my schedule. I don’t want it to go on hiatus but updates are going to be more sporadic, at least until I sort out a better work routine. If you follow the blog on Tumblr you should see pages when they go up.

YouTube Channel

As I announced on the podcast, the NoRights Productions channel is now part of the Leaderboard Network, a new gaming vertical of the Channel Frederator Network. This means my videos will see promotion, I can get guidance on running and growing my channel, and other benefits. The channel is still entirely mine to take in any direction I want and I still own everything I make.

I have goals and projects in mind to work on. I’m trying to move from a deadline-focused mindset into a works-in-progress one. I’ve already started streaming while I’m in the studio. If you’re subscribed you’ll see them when I go live. You can also find broadcasts on the Live page of the blog. I’d like to make a time lapse version for each project when they’re done. The focus of these is to let you look over my shoulder while I work. If there’s enough interest I’ll do some on Twitch where I can turn my mic on and chat but the idea isn’t to be “on”  and talking all the time. Think of it more like Bill Plympton’s Ani-Cam.



A number of opportunities have been opening up for me lately and I’m looking to take full advantage of them. I’m also trying to get better control of my anxiety issues. Part of that is getting enough rest and part of it is allowing myself downtime. I feel so guilty when I try to relax and that’s not healthy.

Status of the Blog 01/23/16

  • On January 23, 2016 ·
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I spent the week testing out the new theme for my site and today I made it live. There’s still some bells and whistles to fine tune. I need to populate the portfolio more, which will be easier as I add new projects, and I’ll add posts to the front page once I sort out how to do it properly. I know I’ll be updating it more frequently than the old portfolio, which was the point. It’s still in that new phase though I’ve gotten the gist of how to post things properly. Things are going to be more image-heavy, as they should be for an art site.

Recorded an early podcast this evening with Frank and Ian. Tomorrow and probably a chunk of Monday are going to be spent working on the next comic. I’m looking forward to drawing again after fussing with WordPress all week. I’m really really looking forward to doing some animating once the comic’s up.

Complete NoRights Curriculum

  • On January 11, 2016 ·
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Today’s the last day to get in on our partner Udemy‘s New Year’s deal. Over 12,000 courses discounted to $10. I ordered a new one myself last night, Become a Game Maker with GameMaker Studio. A 9+ hour course from Benjamin Anderson, otherwise known as HeartBeast, who does excellent tutorials on YouTube. Here’s a list of all the blogs I’ve written up with some potential courses folks might find useful.

NoRights Curriculum: Introduction to Udemy

NoRights Curriculum: Art Fundamentals

NoRights Curriculum: Art and Creative Software

NoRights Curriculum: Website/Portfolio/Ecommerce Building

NoRights Curriculum: Entrepreneur/Business

NoRights Curriculum: Blogging/Copywriting

NoRights Curriculum: Social Media/Self Promotion/Marketing

NoRights Curriculum: Time/Project Management

NoRights Curriculum: Course Review

NoRights Curriculum: Become an Instructor on Udemy

NoRights Curriculum: Become an Instructor on Udemy

Now that you’ve had a look around our partner Udemy‘s New Year’s deal, perhaps you’re interested in becoming an instructor and teaching courses yourself? Check out their guide Create a Udemy Course.

How to Become a Udemy Instructor

How to Gain Students

NoRights Curriculum: Course Review

  • On January 9, 2016 ·
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For this post promoting our partner Udemy‘s New Year’s deal, I’m going to review one of their courses I recently finished.

Choosing a Course

There were a number of subjects I considered taking a course on. Social Media, Email List Buildingicon, and SEO were strong pulls for me. I’d started my searching on the website but decided to try their iOS app to see how I liked the experience. I preferred using the app, personally, because it made navigating easier. The majority of courses have pitch videos similar to Patreon pages. After exploring the pages deeper I saw a number of them offered previews of lectures. I started using this to whittle the potential list down. When you’ve sat through as many whiteboard animations and stock photo images as I have, you just want to see that the actual course material looks like. You can read the curriculum listing for each course but actually watching a preview of a lesson helped me decide.

I narrowed my wishlist down to a few options and ultimately chose Easy SEO for WordPress by Sean Kaye. My logic being Search Engine Optimization is a core thing I could be doing better, I can apply what I learn from it to other ways I promote my site, and particularly because I’m already on WordPress so it’d be more immediately useful than a general SEO course.

Taking the Course

Udemy gave me a coupon code for this review. I redeemed it and was greeted with a confirmation screen and a “start course” link. Once I clicked through the interface was easy enough to understand. Videos would roll on the left side, on the right sidebar I could navigate between lectures, download documents, and post discussion with the instructor and other students.

Course Structure

Instructor Kaye set up the first batch of lectures to be introductions to the course, SEO, and SEO for WordPress. This then moved on to deeper explanations of topics; choosing a webhost, creating and promoting your content with SEO in mind, and the rise of mobile browsing. These were all done with slides and voice over.

The next batch were “over the shoulder” screen recordings as he showed how to install WordPress and options to select for a smoother setup. I’m very familiar with the 5 minute install procedure but it’s good to see a walkthrough and recommendations of it for newcomers and incase there’s some options I’ve missed. He also went through using the Yoast SEO plugin, one I’ve heard recommended for some time but never learned to set up properly.

The last part consisted of an 18 page list of things that could be hurting site rankings, a request for additions we’d like to see added to the course, and a collection of coming lectures.

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed going through the course. I’ve had vague introductions to SEO before and it was nice to see one with clear goals and applicable instructions. It’s very clear Mr. Kaye knows what he’s talking about. If I had any criticisms it’d primarily be with the slides during the lectures. I appreciate seeing things written out but I’d prefer to see shorter bullet points. When each slide is full of text it competes with the voice over for attention. I’d also recommend he mix in a few lectures where we could see him talking, to break up the monotony of text on screen and connect with the audience more. I look forward to getting updates/additions as the course can only grow and improve with revisions. As I’m currently in the process of retooling parts of my own site, revisiting certain lectures will give me plenty to think about.