The All-New Coghill Cartooning Website & Blog

It’s been far overdue, but I’ve finally rolled up my sleeves and merged the portfolio website and the blo, and moved the blog to the main domain.

In actuality, what I did was add a cartoon logo portfolio section to the blog, and created new info pages, migrating all that content from the old portfolio site to the blog. Then I moved the web address of the blog from the old subdirectory location (blog.coghillcartooing.com) to the main directory (coghillcartooning.com), deleting the old portfolio site in the process (and of course redirecting the old pages to the equivalents on this new site).

Thank You, WordPress Portfolio

When I first set up the blog (first post: way back in 2005!), the intention was always to eventually move the portfolio over and make it all WordPress-based. But at the time, and for many years afterwards, there just wasn’t an ideal way to set up a functional portfolio without a lot of custom coding (which was over my head) and a lot of tweaking of the WordPress theme files. Not to mention a massive dependence on third-party plugins.

But WordPress has come a long way, and the built-in support for portfolios as well as this cool portfolio theme I am using have made it pretty much perfect for setting this up the way I’d always intended.

The old WordPress theme I was using for the blog was seriously out of date and no longer being developed or supported.

And the main portfolio site was a hand-coded website which was not only very difficult to maintain and update, but it was not mobile-friendly in the least. It was likely not up to any sort of web standards either. Kind of like living in a shack in your backyard that the building inpsector hasn’t been made aware of yet.

Search Engine Blues

All of this stuff conspired to make both my portfolio and blog very unappealing to Google, and my search result placement for each took a massive nosedive back in 2012. After educating myself on Google algorithm updates, these nosedives took place right around these periods, and my site was the right sort of candidate for the changes they were targeting.

My focus over the past few years has been more and more on my Monsterologist brand, so the portfolio and blog took a back seat. But after some serious search result research for the Monsterologist online store, I realize I needed to put some attention back to the portfolio and blog sites if I was going to keep them online (which I was).

It was something that for years I knew needed to be done, but was always just putting it off. The only other option was to delete the site, and that was not something I had any intention of doing.

WordPress Plugins To The Rescue

I was pleasantly surprised to find the Portfolio feature to be the perfect implementation of what I’d wanted to do with the site all along. I was also glad to find an ideal theme very quickly (I’d been lazily looking for years for something minimalist that focused on the content, not the theme design).

Moving the WordPress installation from the subdomain to the main domain was super easy, with the help of the Duplicator plugin. It essentially did all the work, and I’ve not encountered any issues yet.

The Redirection plugin was also a massive help, as my custom htaccess redirects were for some reason not working (I later confirmed my suspicion that redirects needed to be placed above the WordPress htaccess code). The plugin continues to be a trusty companion as I keep checking to find new overlooked pages and posts.

Cleaning Out The Code Basement

Not only were the WordPress theme and the old hand-coded portfolio site out of date, but I found all sorts of overlooked optimization-killers as I’ve been digging around in the “basement” of my web host directories.

Old htaccess and robots.txt redirects and disallows that I was no longer sure what they were added for in the first place, stagnant and outdated sitemap files that were probably not doing my search result placements any favors.

One thing I fixed here on this site that was also a major bottleneck on the Monsterologist website was the tsunami of tag pages swamping my indexed pages in the Google search index. I learned how to noindex these in one fell swoop, code-wise. To do this on WordPress, I used the Yoast SEO plugin which has been installed for years.

A Fresh Start

I’m pretty pleased with the new site. It looks so much better. It inspired me to spruce up a lot of the content here, as well as re-think my menus and sidebars. I think everything is much more organized and easier to navigate. I’m actually proud of this new site. It’s a far cry from the shame I felt from the old sites, having those dilapidated presentations with my art and name on them.

Regardless of the benefit in the search engine rankings, the psychological benefits from doing this have been alone worth the effort.

I’m also really happy with this theme and the way it showcases the artwork. It really breathes a lot of life back into it all for me.

It also feels great to have a portfolio website that can be updated much, much more easily, and is built with modern code and in an attractive design. I repeatedly put off updating the old portfolio due to the tediousness of the undertaking. It’s so much easier now with everything built upon WordPress, and the addition of the Portfolio feature.

So, same content but a brand-new look, feel and functionality. And with my new-found enthusiasm for this site, who knows — maybe there will finally be new content to pair up with this new paint job.

ArtCast Network

Just a quick post to let all you artists out there know about an up-and-coming new website from the amazing illustrator Dani Jones — the ArtCast Network.

Dani loves to share her extensive illustration technique knowledge via live streaming videocasts on Ustream, and decided there needed to be a website that brought together all the talented atists out there who do live streaming webcasts on Ustream or other similar sites.

I have a Ustream cartooning & illustration channel, but I am just getting started. The ArtCast website has inspired me to do much more of this, so keep an eye out for future live video stream where you can watch me sketch & draw live in Adobe Photoshop, and work on cartoon-style vector art illustrations in Adobe Illustrator. And all videos will be recorded and saved to my Ustream channel for those of you who aren’t able to watch live.

The ArtCast Network is still in the ‘under construction’ phase right now, but head on over at the link above if you are an artist and want to participate.

George Coghill Interview at Design Inspiration

Coghill-portrait-2009-03-Color

Just posted over at Design Interviews is an interview with yours truly. Jeff Andrews—the mastermind behind not only Design Interviews but also illustrator group sketch blog Sugar Frosted Goodness among others—was kind enough to ask me to answer some questions and provide some artwork to feature me as one of the artists on the site.

Head on over and read up!

Cartoonist/illustrator George Coghill interview at Design Inspiration.

Cartooning & Illustration: Recent & Current Work Teaser

current-cartooning-illustration-work-teaser-2009-04

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated my blog with recent work, I have been (gladly) super busy with client projects, deadlines and upcoming work that I need to make time for now. A lot of really great cartooning projects have been recently wrapped up, with lots more good stuff on the digital drawing board right now.

The image above is a quick teaser showcasing some of the recent work — both finished and in progress — including: a cartoon Marines character for a t-shirt design for a Young Marines troop, a cartoon monster character for a self-published children’s book project I was just awarded, a cartoon ogre mascot for a video game portal website, an “inventor Mom” character with her home made robot, a tough security guard/body guard mascot character for an online data storage company, a puppy dog mascot character, a surfer character for a gyro/souvlaki restaurant, a frog version of the Statue of Liberty for the Ohio Canal Corridor’s annual event t-shirt, more avatar portrait illustrations for the Cleveland, Ohio travel & visitors bureau Positively Cleveland, and a fish mascot character and logo for a niche fishing utility product.

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Feedback: Del.ici.ous Link Posts; Blog: Post Frequency Update

Lately work has become quite busy, and updating the blog has become less frequent because of this. I try to, for the most part, make sure the entries are substantial and well-linked, and that takes time. I thought that it would be preferable to slow down rather than add fluff posts just to fill my daily blog quota. Of course the occasional art or artist post will be published when I find something cool.

The automatic del.ici.ous link posts I thought would be a good way to keep the information flowing without having full posts. I am curious how the readers out there feel about the del.ici.ous link posts — should they stay or go?

And while you are posting in the comments, please feel free to offer suggestions for future posts you’d like to see or topics you’d like to see covered. Lately it seems I have been overdosing on the Adobe Illustrator topic, and I would like to get more focused on cartooning and illustration in general. Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees…

I look forward to your thoughts.

Sexy Cartoon School Girl Pin-Up – now avaialble at MyPSPTubes.com

Sexy cartoon schoolgirl pinup illustration

A new sexy cartoon school girl pinup has recently been added to my slowly growing collection over at MyPSPTubes*. This one was fun to work on. I wanted to play on the classic fighter plane nose cone art where the girls were straddling a plane (or a bomb!). I thought the number two pencil was perfect. She was given glasses at one point for that sexy librarian look we all love, but it just didn’t work with the overall design. Continue reading

Wacom Tablet: Scroll Click

Wacom Intuos3 6X11 Pen Tablet

Wacom has just updated their graphics tablet driver software for Macintosh and the release notes PDF tells us that a new feature has been introduced, “Scroll Click” (my nickname for it). This is an awesome new feature that allows the user to set a pen button to the “scroll click”, and then when pressing that button, you can drag the pen on the tablet to activate scrolling. In addition to this being very cool, it’s a feature that I suggested to the tech & PR departments a few weeks ago, I can’t help but assume this was implemented due to that request. I was initially given a not-so-encouraging response, basically because the Intuos line of tablets has the Touch Strips srcoll/zoom hardware touch-sensitive areas. Of course, their other tablets do not have these.

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