Author: Robert Cortez

The Subject

After six months of producing my podcast Sketch and Release, I’ve been feeling more like the subject than the artist. Every episode I look at what I’ve learned throughout my career, but it’s also let me reflect on life experiences in general.

With everything I’ve been dealing with since January, the podcast has been a safe space for my state of mind. I’ve discovered more about myself and how much I can handle, including the anxiety of putting myself out there for the whole world. Thank you for listening.

Some behind the scenes stats so far

Most downloaded episode: #8 Mentors – almost three times the listens of every other episode. Shout outs to those I mention in it!

Hardest episode to produce: #12 Freedom – not only because I tried recording with two cameras, but some real emotions were hitting in that one.

Favorite episode sketch: #5 Collaboration – I’ve gone back to that one and starting coloring it out. Maybe I’ll post that one someday soon.

For Challengers Only

Later this summer, I’ll be handing off my Dodge Challenger to my son. Like any young person, I’m sure the day will come when he’ll want a car of his own and he’ll trade it away.

The thought is a little heartbreaking considering how much I’ve enjoyed that car, and I wanted to keep it close to my heart and still represent the last decade that I’ve been rolling with Mopar.

I looked for some cool t-shirts, but but didn’t find much that really fit my taste, so of course I designed some of my own!

I’ve added these to my Threadless shop, available in multiple colors and fits.

Annnnndddd all t-shirts are $15 through June 27th!

If you or someone you know is a Challenger owner, maybe these are just what they’ve been looking for. 

The Binds of Life

This has been life for me lately. The state of the world, the state of my home, the state of my family—all of it seems so chaotic and delicate and imbalanced right now.

I used to believe that, with enough strength and determination, one could handle anything the world threw at them.

This week I had another in a recent series of reminders that, as much as I want to help others and handle things all around me, I can’t forget to take care of my own well-being. 

The past year has been a prolonged exercise in patience and resilience for us all, and just remember it’s okay to take time for yourself whenever possible.

More Green Machine

Here’s a longer trailer for Green Machine that I cut together almost five years ago to the day. This gives a better idea of what we were going for.

This was an exercise in finding the elements like dialogue and shots that could make it all make sense. Add to that finding a way to make it work with the selected music was another lesson establishing tone and energy.

More on the way soon!

My Body is a Cage Once Upon a Time in the West

Finding the right mix of music and film to create something greater than either individual pieces has always fascinated me.

If I had to pinpoint it, the first time I recognized this was the convoy scene in Smokey and the Bandit set to “East Bound and Down”, but clearly that song was meant to go with that film. 

Taking two entirely different pieces from different artists from different times and creating a whole new experience—well that’s even more exciting, isn’t it?

It must’ve been over a decade ago when my friend Scott first showed me this video. At the time, I hadn’t seen Once Upon a Time in the West nor was I familiar with Arcade Fire, but this blend of two completely different works just seemed to come together like magic.

Last week I finally sat down to watch Once Upon a Time in the West. Not only did I find it mesmerizing and intriguing (and shame-inducing that I’d never seen it until now), but understanding the characters and plot made me go find this gem and watch it again. 

Long story short: kudos to JT Helms or whoever first conjured this.

If you haven’t seen this before or seen the film or heard the song, do all three.

Where to find episodes of Sketch and Release podcast

Sketch and Release podcast services

Second episode of the podcast is out!

I talk about how I’ve learned to recognize and overcome limitations and how that can be a valuable tool even outside of creative work.

You can find each episode of Sketch and Release here and on Patreon at

Patrons can watch the full video episode and finished artwork, and use the Patreon app to automatically get notified when new episodes are available.

You can also listen and subscribe to the podcast at:

Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher 

Get your podcasts some other way? Let me know!

Sketch and Release

The last time I recorded a podcast was almost seven years ago. I’ve been wanting to get back to it for a long time but also try something different for Patreon.

I started working on podcasts in 2005 with Podtacular ,which I’m sure must be the longest-running Halo podcast at this point. Through building their website and contributing to the podcast, I learned so much about online communities and met some of the best people I’ve ever had the pleasure of fragging trucks with.

In 2008, I co-hosted the PiQ podcast the best people I ever made a nerdy entertainment magazine with. We got four of those in the can before the whole affair was ripped out of our hands.

We managed to pull the energy back together on our own in 2010 with Sodapop Journal because there just weren’t enough podcasts with people talking about movies! I’m always down to talk about movies and filmmaking, but at the time, the struggle of trying to figure out what now amounts to a simple Zoom call and keeping a regular schedule led to it gradually coming to a quiet end in 2014. (I’m still surprised that Joe Rogan has unknowingly kept the name alive after all this time, but that’s for another time.)

Now in 2021, I’m starting the machine up again. I learned a lot from the past, and in a way, I’m using that to know where I don’t want things to go.

I don’t want it to be complicated.

I don’t want it to be a chore.

I don’t want it to be another job.

So I’m going to do what I do anyway: draw something and let it go.

Sketch. Release.

Check it out here or find it where you get podcasts.

Video feed is available on Patreon.

Here’s to new beginnings!