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HalflingPony

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I got some awesome news several days ago. Unfortunately, this was just as ATG started, so I've been a bit slow to pass it on. Let's fix that, shall we?

A few months ago, :iconlyokoheros: 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: Skarb Spike'a (Spike's Fortune PL) by Lyokoheros

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. ;)
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Hey gang- just a quick note to let you know I've posted a time-compressed video of me doing the drawing for NATG Day 1 over on YouTube. If you like that sort of thing, you can find it here.
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Some of you undoubtedly took note of the presence of a drafting table in the background of my last ATG Alumni submission and possibly noticed my comment to :iconabronyaccount: that I had just set it up that day. An enquiring mind might wonder upon seeing it- just what does a digital artist need with a fancy-schmancy drafting table, anyway? There's no need to spell it out, I suppose. The answer is obvious. How else was I going to set up the shot for that submission?

Behind the Scenes by HalflingPony

j/k

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...

It's time.

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:
C'mere Sugarcube by HalflingPony
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:

Stage 1 by HalflingPony  Stage 2 by HalflingPony

Let me tell you, it's equal parts intimidating and thrilling going from a colour pallet like this:

Digital Pallet by HalflingPony

to one that looks like this:
Watercolour Pallet by HalflingPony

and then trying to manually replicate all the colours you need. I definitely had a few missteps in the beginning.

Stage 3 by HalflingPony

But by the end I think I was really starting to get the hang of it.

Stage 4 by HalflingPony

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.
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Which do you think looks better? http://fav.me/d89j9nf or http://sta.sh/016zhdhv4z55

8 votes
The version with flat shades look better.
The version with highlights looks better.
Neither one is really better than the other.
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I have something I feel I need to get off my chest:

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 Report
When 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  Don't Be a Jerk, Misty by HalflingPony 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.

Almost.

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