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Here's a drawing that has been haunting my hard drive since mid summer, at the very least. Since it's been ages since I've uploaded anything I thought I'd finally clear it away by digitally inking and coloring it. A bit of a different look than my usual, but it never hurts to mix things up now and then.

The image itself was really an excuse to draw a bunch of characters I haven't drawn yet. Some came out nicely, some... probably needed more work. Still, I do like the community feel of the piece. Twilight totally needs to start doing story readings in the park. She needs to be a proactive librarian! Nobody ever seems to be in that library looking for a book to read.
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I'm a big fan of airships, and the more literal the "ship" part, the better, so naturally I was thrilled that such things are a part of official MLP canon. (It's also a reason why I'm so enjoying Flight of the Alicorn, which certainly was a huge influence on this image as well.)

So it was inevitable that I'd have to get around to designing such a ship for my own amusement... and who is more deserving of a tall ship and a star to steer her by than the Princess of the Night herself? The Mare Nubium ("Sea of Clouds") looks to be a personal vessel for nighttime cruises with a few steampunk touches. I admit, I'm very tempted to jump back in and design her a warship named "Mare Crisium" next, but I'll hopefully come to my senses when I recall how much of a pain it was to draw this one.

On a side note, I'm not sure there ever is a crescent moon hanging over Equestria... and yet one makes up Luna's Cutie Mark, so it seems like it would have to be possible. Don't ask me how such a thing would work with the whole bizarre rotations of heavenly bodies that the Princesses have going on. That kind of thing hurts to think about for too long.

Oh, and by all means, please click on the image above and look at the big version.
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So apparently Applejack needs more appreciation... and who am I to argue with that? I adore the show's apple farmer and her family, but I do agree that she too often gets shuffled to the back in favor of her more zany cast mates.

They've done a good job of showing how important her family is to her by building each of the Apple clan up into fun supporting characters in their own rights, but I think it's high time that AJ's devotion to her family take center stage in an episode and allows her the spotlight. Maybe it's time to explore what happened to her folks (be they elsewhere or deceased), or show her helping Apple Bloom deal with growing up without them. Sure, it might be some heavy and/or dramatic stuff for the intended audience, but I have the utmost faith that the writing staff can handle such themes with grace and humor, and still give us a touching and weighty episode showing off Applejack to the fullest.

Just... maybe let Derpy sit that one out.

In any event, I was just informed that "Applejack Appreciation Day" is this weekend, so I whipped up an image in the free time I had today. It's a bit rougher than some of my others due to limited time, but hopefully it still shows that I love the apple-flanked farm mare.
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This one is part of a collaboration with the talented :iconprancypants: Ponydora Prancypants (author of the outstanding Flight of the Alicorn) to develop both an image and a story that expands upon it concurrently. If you're at all intrigued by the actions portrayed, please do check out the rousing story that accompanies it:

The Fires of Friendship

It's the tale of ponies growing up together in the same small town, and of friendships lost and rekindled. Not to mention ravenous wolves made out of deadwood... because those are awesome.

Both of our efforts are dedicated to the supremely talented and charming :iconwhitediamondsltd: *WhiteDiamondsLtd who made a rather epic sized splash here at deviantART when she finally opened an account for her tremendously popular Pony artwork. She is also something of a raving fan of Rarity and Applejack especially, although she seems to manage her condition quite well, all things considered. As we are both raving fans of hers, we were all too happy to focus on these two fabulous (and arguably under-appreciated) members of the Mane Six.

Much thanks and affection to you, my dear, for your kindness and camaraderie. I feel quite lucky to be able to count you among my friends.
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Princess Celestia just does not get enough credit. Sure, Luna is easy to love (especially when there are so many variations of her personality to choose from), and Cadance will probably end up selling more toys, but when push comes to shove I have to say Celestia is my favorite Princess. At turns majestic, playful, scheming, and always loving towards her little ponies, she's the full package.

My all-time favorite bit of plotting from FIM is probably the moment a distraught Twilight finds herself bombarded with every Friendship Report she had written in the previous season, making a show element I had taken for granted suddenly seem like a master bit of chess positioning. From that genius move onward, I've never doubted Celestia has known what she's doing... and while others enjoy attributing darker edges to her as a result of such schemes, I have no doubt that she's all sunshine and warmth, myself.
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So many of these start out as such simple drawings...

I admit, I love fair Rarity. Pound for pound, I find her the most entertaining pony (although one shouldn't measure a lady by her pounds.) It's no real secret that my favorite of the characters is Twilight, but I can't deny that Rarity steals most any scene that she deigns to enter... doubly so if she sings. (I am among the many commercial artists won over to the series by her excellent ballad to the headaches of pleasing clients in "Art of the Dress".)

I'm consistently shocked that she meets with more than her share of disapproval from certain fans, as a result. How diminished the show would be without any one of the Mane Six, no doubt... but how truly drab things would be without the pony every pony should know.


Edit: After some complaints that she looked too old, I gave her the ol' Hollywood cheesecloth treatment and did a softer blend on the brushmarks making up her face.
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I've always found the Everfree Forest to be the most interesting part of the show's mythology. I love that they give just the barest of hints as to the backstory of it... Setting a castle that likely belonged to the two Princesses deep within it, making it the most frightening environment to the characters within the show, and then giving it a name as positive and benign as "Everfree". It all just whispers something happened here.

They've tamed their entire world down to a micromanagement of nature itself (the stress of maintaining such a grip on every aspect of it is a likely culprit in the high rates of mental imbalance among the pony set. They're like an entire species made up of frazzled postal workers.) But not that forest. That forest they have just written off... warning ponies to simply never go inside there.

No actual story behind this one... Just an attempt to draw Zecora that spiraled out of control a bit. Seems fitting, considering the subject matter.
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Seriously, the CMC's could not do better. Anyone that gets potioned by her students, comes to on a mattress in the bottom of a pit while wearing bridal attire, and then still shows up for work the next day has some serious dedication to the teaching profession.

Another (comparatively) less-complex pony portrait, this time of oh-so-nice Cheerilee. It's certainly not the most dynamic image, but I hadn't drawn her yet and she proved to be a relaxing subject to sketch. Very good for my frazzled stress levels.

And while she definitely loved the 80's, I promise you that's just chalk dust. That stuff has to taste horrible. One more reason Earth Ponies are the hardest working ponies around.
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The first of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic pictures that I've done with my scraps of free time.

If you're looking to ask me for permission to use this artwork in a not-for-profit way, feel free and make something awesome with it, but know that I neither created nor own the characters. And, of course, please don't take credit for my work. It's just not a nice thing to do.
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After a few images that I hadn't really planned out, here's one that was a little more intentional all the way around. Of course, even on this one I originally just thought "I need to draw something with Smartypants" and it kind of snowballed from there. I hadn't expected it to take form quite so quickly (and had really thought that events in my personal life would keep new fanart from appearing for a while), but here we are...

I truly love the back-story hinted at in the show, and am delighted whenever they add another piece to it. Tales of destiny waiting to be achieved are a dime a dozen in fantasy, of course, but that doesn't kill the appeal for me. Fans have done a great job of exploring the untold parts of the history in art, comics and stories, and these are among my favorite works in the fandom.

There was an idea by Viktor E. Frankl that strikes me as relevant to ponies. In essence, it states that the only way to truly recognize the full potential in another is through loving them, and it is through this love itself that the beloved is enabled to actualize that potential within them. This seems to fit well to Twilight's story, in my opinion. In the end I do think that we hold the keys to helping each other succeed in ways that we ourselves cannot even imagine.

Not that ancient, all-powerful tiaras wouldn't help out now and then.
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