A few months ago, approached me and asked permission to translate one of my earliest popular comics, Spikes Fortune, into Polish.
I'll admit, it's been long enough since I drew it that parts of the art on that comic give me a major cringe fit, but people seem to like it well enough regardless. If a group of translators feel it's worth spending their time to inflict it on their countrymen, I'm certainly not going to tell them "no".
It took a little while, but the translation group K-Archiwa-Canterlotu (I'm told the name means "Royal Canterlot Archives") has finally completed work on the comic. You can find the results of their efforts here:
I'm honored these guys felt that my comic was worth their efforts to translate. That said, I don't read Polish so if you, dear reader, can read it and the translation is actually an elaborate ruse to make me link to a comic insulting your dear mother, feel free to give me a heads up.
No. The real reason I bought the table was, for a very long time, I've wanted to branch out into more traditional media. Until now, I've simply not had any good place to do so. Sure, I could always clear a place on my dining table and work there- but it was extremely uncomfortable and inconvenient. As a result, I simply never took the time to do so.
On top of that, I've always found traditional media, with its moderately expensive and consumable materials to be rather intimidating. I've always hated the idea of "wasting" any kind of supplies. Part of the reason I waited so long to really get into art was the fear of using up a ton of paper, ink, and paint on "worthless" results. Digital art, with its infinite supply of colour and canvas was a great psychological stepping stone in that regard. I was able to develop my artistic eye sufficiently that I no longer feared that what I produced would only be worthy of displaying in a garbage pail. But now...
This is the year that I finally throw caution to the wind and really get my hands dirty with traditional media. The very first piece of art to be signed by me with the new year is also my very first attempt at traditional watercolour.
Well, maybe "throw caution to the wind" is a little strong. I did read a bunch of articles, watched a ton of YouTube videos and experimented with colour blending on a piece of practice paper before I dove into an actual picture. I decided, rather than do something brand new, I'd take an existing, uncoloured piece and simply practice the mechanics of finishing it traditionally. I settled on this one:
It's fairly recent. The shapes don't make me cringe (much) and there's a fair amount of colour variety represented between the two characters. So, I printed it out, traced it onto watercolour paper, pulled out some cheap brushes and paints (I'll get more expensive stuff once I have a better feeling for what I actually need) and prepped the paper for painting:
Let me tell you, it's equal parts intimidating and thrilling going from a colour pallet like this:
to one that looks like this:
and then trying to manually replicate all the colours you need. I definitely had a few missteps in the beginning.
But by the end I think I was really starting to get the hang of it.
So here's the finished product. Hopefully, the first of many. I'm definitely not turning my back on digital art. I absolutely love it. But I can't wait to expand more into traditional media as well.
- Listening to: Canterlot Hill Radio
- Playing: Frozen Synapse: Prime
I have never liked Pokémon.
I know some of you will probably need a moment to recover from such blasphemy, but before you pick up your pitchforks and torches, please take a deep breath and hear me out.
All calm? Ok.
So here's the thing. By most objective standards, I'm a fairly young guy. I've yet to hit middle age, I've only recently begun to wear glasses occasionally, and I can still remember quite clearly how much being a kid stunk at times.
But, in terms of the Brony demographic (as reported by herdcensus.com), I'm way over the hill and nearly at the bottom of the other side:
Source: 2014 State of the Herd ReportWhen the TV show came out I was already in high school and at the awkward age where it was socially unacceptable to be seen liking anything "little kids" liked. In my circle, that included Pokémon.
It wasn't until I was in college I started to genuinely wonder why this stupid little Gameboy game based on a kids show (yes, I know now it was the other way around), had become so popular. So (being the rebellious outlaw I was at the time) I downloaded an emulator and the ROMs for Red and Blue and gave it a spin.
It was booorrrring.
Don't get me wrong, it was a decent enough "JRPG-lite". But I was also playing the newly released Final Fantasy X at the time and, frankly, the comparison was not favourable to Pokémon.
A couple of years ago, I realized how shallow and unfair it was to compare one of Square-Enix's cutting-edge JRPG masterpieces to an extremely outdated version of an all-ages collecting game with simplified RPG elements. I decided I needed to give Pokémon another chance.
So, I picked up HeartGold and played it for about a month, even taking the included pedometer with me to the gym to level up my Pokémon on the treadmill.
It was fun... for the first three or four towns. But, about the time I found myself waiting for more berries to grow on the trees and for my little critters to hurry up and mate with each other, it started feeling tedious. It was still significantly more of a "game" than Farmville, but I couldn't help making the mental comparisons... and I hate Farmville.
So, if I dislike Pokémon so much, why am I drawing fanart of it? Well, I still couldn't shake the feeling I was missing something. There had to be more than simple nostalgia for the old Gameboy games that had driven its popularity for so long and for so many, especially in the Brony community.
When I was browsing through Netflix's suggestions page last night and saw they had recently added the first season of the Pokémon TV series, I decided I needed to watch it.
I've now seen the first five episodes and I. am. hooked. Like a Magikarp fighting a Pidgy in the forest, I'm helpless to escape the grasping talons of its compelling story, interesting characters, and, at times, genuinely hilarious writing. It almost makes me want to go back and play HeartGold again.
- Reading: The Innocence of Father Brown
- Watching: Pokémon
- Playing: Mario & Luigi: Dream Team
"HalflingPony's Art and Musings" is where I post quick and silly sketches, links, occasional late night ramblings and "behind the scenes" previews of more involved work.
Currently I'm running a blow-by-blow journal of the next digital painting I'm working on. The series is titled "From Sketch to Finish" and can be read from the beginning here. Think of it as an art Livestream, just without the audio. Or a video stream. Or the "live" bit.
Ok, so it's nothing at all like a Livestream, but it's as close as I can get with my current equipment!
I'm having a lot of fun with this project and would love to have you along for the ride.
Drawing mannequins are a wonderful artist’s tool. Having trouble figuring out what a given pose would look like from an odd angle? No little brother around to tie up into the pose you want? Just break out the mannequin, set it up and take a good long look at it until you’ve got a firm grasp on the position.
The one I have works great for bipeds or even silly ponies acting like bipeds. It’s not quite as helpful with quadrupedal positions. So, when I found myself running into a brick wall trying to visualize the pose of one of the characters in my next drawing, I was seriously tempted to go on Amazon and shell out $50 for a cheap horse mannequin.
Then I had an epiphany.
A while ago I posted about PonyLumen’s 3D Pony Creator web app. At the time I thought it was a fun little time sucker, but not really much more. Now I realized- that “time sucker” could easily serve as a virtual drawing mannequin.
I went on the site and within 15 minutes had worked up a galloping pose I was reasonably satisfied with:
Then I rotated it around and plugged it into the layout of my drawing to act as a reference.
I think that funny little “time sucker” just saved me about four hours of slamming my head against my desk in frustration.
PonyLumen - If you’re ever visiting Maine, give me a holler. I'm pretty sure I owe you a lobster dinner for this.
- Listening to: The drone of two box fans.
- Watching: My eyelids slowly close after a long day.
- Playing: Shovel Knight
- Listening to: Momentum by Aviators
- Reading: Pony POV Series: Season 5 (yes, still...)
- Playing: Mario and Luigi: Dream Team
- Drinking: Perrier
Ok, maybe that last one isn’t quite so important.
Of course it hasn’t been all losses this season. Rainbow Dash obtained her dream of becoming a Wonderbolt (if only the Reserves), Ponyville got first place in the Equestria Games, and Pinkie Pie got a new rubber chicken named “Boneless”.
That last one helped decide the fate of the world.
It’s been a fun ride and it ended on a bang. I really enjoyed the finale. Since DA doesn't have a good mechanism for hiding spoilers, you can read my whole review here.
- Listening to: Let the Rainbow Remind You
- Reading: Pony POV Series: Season 5
- Eating: Nothing- I should really go get some breakfast....
In all seriousness, thank you thank you thank you to the Sparity groups on DA as well as the other FiM art groups and Tumblr blogs who so kindly promoted my last humble little comic. Thank you, also, to everyone who Favorited or Liked it either here or on Tumblr. You all rock!
I was absolutely floored when I saw the response. The piece that was previously my most popular has, to date, just barely crested over the 100 views mark and gained 22 favorites. (Not to mention that, in doing so, it also doubled the previous record.)
I draw these silly little ponies for the fun of it, not to get attention, but it still means a lot to me when other people confirm that the thing that seemed like a good idea in my head actually has some value in other people's eyes. It tells me I am not completely insane. Or, if I am, at least there's enough other people in the asylum to keep me company. That's a comforting thought.
Of course if I were doing this for popularity, you'd suddenly see all my art feature nothing but shipped pairs holding cute fillies in a misguided attempt to appeal to the ravenous fans of all things buoyant and kuwaii. Really, though, I have nothing against shipping and I can't rule out the possibility of even drawing explicitly romantic content in the future, but it's not one of my primary interests.
What you can probably expect to see is more comic-formatted content, including the continuation of a certain project I've left dormant for far too long.
Oh... and more fillies. (Because they're adorable... and isn't that enough?)
- Listening to: d.notive
- Reading: The Assumption of Applejack -or- Appletheosis
- Eating: Biryani and Naan
- Drinking: Woodchuck Cider
Okay. So here’s the deal:
A little over two weeks ago I started teasing one of the most ambitious projects I’ve ever conceived in my artistic career. I knew this was going to be a big project, I was super excited (and slightly nervous) about it and I knew, despite the amount of work involved, it would be super beneficial to my growth as an artist. I needed to commit to actually doing it. Hence, the tease post.
What I did not anticipate, however was the amount of preparatory work I would need to do to get everything ready for the actual project. Throw in a death in the family followed by preparations for the Thanksgiving holiday and my announcement coming “soon” turned into, well, this.
My most sincere apologies for drawing out the tease as long as I have. I am pleased to say, however, that the train is back on the rails and speeding down the track in an effort to make up for lost time. Almost all the prep work is done and you can expect the actual announcement of what this project is either later today or in the wee hours of tomorrow morning (EST).
Update: The official announcement is now up!
or Why Would a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Fan Love Sea Ponies?
Small, fluffy, dimension-hopping dogs? Check.
(Fifty-bazillion bonus points if you recognize this one.)
- It was clearly in the dark fantasy genre.
- The art style was unmistakably Western, but didn't match the Disney, Rankin/Bass or Don Bluth aesthetics.
- I had to have seen it when I was quite young, probably before the age of seven.
Sweet dreams, kids!
And that's how Equestria was made.