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I'm no cartoonist, but I'm pretty sure someone out there is going to appreciate this (I've always wanted to make these things, anyway!). Here I go in depth about the writing and artistic process of making the "Heart's Desire" comic that seemed to be fairly successful. It's a tad long-winded, but if you're interested at all it in the details, here it is.

The artistic process was fairly simple and made easy because I had scaled down the original image. The sketches were actually twice as large, but SAI couldn't handle that size. Reducing it helped me significantly, since it was what made the whole process really fast and done in less than a week.

Heart's Desire - Process by Karzahnii

  1. It starts off with a basic sketch; most of the scenes had already been imagined in my head, with just the ending sequence being sketched out on the whim.
  2. Outlines were refined, as well as black borders. I just filled the entire canvas black and cropped out squares for the panels. Not a really good idea for comic making, but I never needed dynamic panels so it wasn't too bad.
  3. Colour was added. Again, this process was really quick because I scaled everything down. My main regret was not having high resolution images to end off with, but the time saved was well worth it.
  4. Backgrounds.
  5. Small details; the glow of Rarity's magic, eye reflections, etc.
  6. I added a red overlay and some text. I almost always use overlays in warm colours because they help make the colour scheme consistent and give a less hostile feel. The text positions had some minor changes simply due to readability.

Again, amazingly it was all done in a week (being pressed for time helps, even if I didn't make the Valentine's Day deadline). The writing process actually took the longest, which surprised myself. I had immediately picked up the idea of a Rarity-Spike ship comic after Secret of My Excess aired (who didn't love that episode?). After briefly reviewing my choices, I decided to base my comic on three foundations: it had to have the Heart's Desire, it had to have time skips, and it had to be sad. With these ideas put together, I drew a sketch at the end of 2011 for Spike's growth:

And as the years go by by Karzahnii

Notice, though, that Spike had wings. The original ending was very different, and I went through a whole bunch of revisions before I settled down on one. Some of them were actually quite nice, but after much consideration I decided against them. Some alternatives were:

  • Spike uses it from the very beginning. The mountain sequence was originally a result of HIS use of the Heart's Desire. This is really not that much different than the current version, but everyone already knows Spike has been chasing Rarity for a long time. Having to resort to the Heart's Desire kind of cheapened to whole relationship. I was far more comfortable with the reverse happening, especially since Rarity didn't know it would end up being Spike.
  • Spike uses the Heart's Desire to grow wings. Rarity was disabled after many years passed and couldn't walk. The last thing they did together before she died was fly off into the distance. Ditched because: I wasn't too fond of Spike growing wings, and it was a bit odd that I had to introduce the Heart's Desire at the very beginning only to have it used at the end. ALSO, it raises a bunch of other questions: why didn't Rarity or Spike just use the Heart's Desire so her legs would work, or something?
  • This ending is similar to the previous, but instead of wings, Spike uses it to cure Rarity's blindness that is developed as she ages. Rarity grows old and Spike is desperate for them to see each other before she dies. Rarity refuses to take the Heart's Desire, saying she can already see him (she has learned to see with her heart). I actually REALLY liked this one but there was so much I had to convey, and it would have been very difficult to do with narration. I would have to bring in dialogue and a lot of explanation (also, why is Rarity getting so many disabilities?!).
  • They BOTH use the Heart's Desire on each other, without each other's knowledge. It would have been a nice twist, but I felt if they BOTH kept the secret for so long, there was too much insecurity and dishonesty between them. I already felt bad for having just Rarity do it.
  • This one isn't so much of an ending as it is a left out scene of the final version. Spike would have said "And that kind of love lasts forever"...followed by him mourning over Rarity's grave as a much older and larger dragon, and him saying, "...sometimes, I wish it didn't". This was too much of a sad ending in my opinion - dragons live far, far longer than Unicorns. So I stuck with the original ending, since it ends with them sharing the last moment of their lives together. Apparently that was still too sad for a lot of people, hehe.

My main concern was that the Heart's Desire couldn't actually do what it did in the story. I just played with the words in the first few panels so that they would say what they wanted, but also stay true to the Heart's Desire presented in the show.

The rest of the story was more or less predetermined. I pretty much KNEW I would have the whole growing up together sequence from Up (originally this was wordless, but certain ideas later required more information to be conveyed, so I ditched the wordless idea). I worked around a few other scenes along the way; Spike's mountain message was based off of the Futurama episode "Time Keeps Slipping", there were many references to The Little Prince, etc. Pinkie Pie's cameo was one of my favourites, and was added in later in development. It was originally just a normal restaurant, but then I thought, "Hey! why not make it Pinkie Pie with her chimicherries?". Other scenes in the growing up sequence were thought of from the very beginning. It took little time to think of them, but a lot more actually putting them together in a nice little order.

So, what's next? A lot, actually. I plan on doing similar comics with the rest of the mane six (most of them I have already planned extensively). I recently put up a poll asking which comic people would like to most see. Apparently that's Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo...the ONE story I'm least comfortable with! I'm right now in the process of all that editing so that their story will be as seemless and in-character as possible. Expect it in May...but there are no guarantees. Will you bawwww? Hopefully. Only time will tell.
  • Watching: The next episode of MLP, pretty soon.
  • Playing: Fallout: New Vegas
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JoyfulInsanity Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Student Digital Artist
tyruvelp Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2015
rofl @ royal caps lock 

( i get it )
Skull-and-Bone Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2012  Hobbyist
Sorry if it seems a little obvious but I'm a little confused. What does the Heart's Desire DO exactly?
jupotmachine35 Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2012  Student General Artist
....Godly skills... :iconmotherofgawdplz:
BigMacintoshh Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please DO the Grave Version It will be Quite Interesting to see and would be always In debt with you without option to pay Please Do it!!!
Karzahnii Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well, there was a reason it was left out. And I'm still pretty busy with the other comics.
Greenrob Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2012
not bad
Paladin0 Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Hey, can you do that ending scene, because it would be much very interesting!
SurprisinglyNimble Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012
Really interesting, thanks for sharing!

And looking forward to future comics!
grilledcat Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for posting this, storyboard/behind-the-scenes/making-of commentaries and extras on stuff like this are really fun. It's the reason for my multiple copies of Bubblegum Crisis DVDs, I bought them for the commentaries!
Karzahnii Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Extras are always the best! I remember a lot of Pixar production videos, they are incredible.
Sharkwellington Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Absolutely lovely, I definitely enjoy seeing the work behind the art. Ever since getting into it myself, I enjoy imagining what went into a piece as much as I enjoy the end product itself. Thanks for sharing!
Karzahnii Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No problem, doing this kind of thing is really fun :)
MarbleYarns Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Student General Artist
Thanks for posting this making-of! Having a behind-the-scenes look at the thought and work that went into the piece is fascinating, especially since it was so effective. I've been making a brief comic of my own, and Heart's Desire was a definite inspiration. I look forward to seeing what you create in the future!
Karzahnii Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No problem, I look forward just as much to sharing them!
Jiayi Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
"I had scaled down the original image. The sketches were actually twice as large, but SAI couldn't handle that size."

i type this as i am not watching the next mlp episode right now, HAHAHA...later. D:

anyway if you want to get around this, why not try separating your pages into smaller files and then piece them together at the end later? :3
Karzahnii Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Like I said, it was also to get around it taking a long time to work on. I wanted to do it quickly.
Blayaden Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
"Will you bawwww?"
Its so sad, and so sweet... imagining the alternate endings (especially the sadder ones) really tugs at me.
zora-artist Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Simply Awesome!!!
is incredible the great and very sentimental that the comic was!
and you plan in make more? I praise you man!!
Pirill-Poveniy Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012
I love seing the process behind creating art, and boy was Heart's Desire a good piece of work. Really appreciate the effort you went through to get it done, I think this ending was indeed the best out of your options.
RoughSketch897 Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
I didn't get that Rarity was supposed to be in her deathbed in the last panel. QnQ
I miss a lot of things like that. :I
decompressor Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
It's always great to see the process, amount of effort and passion that is put into a comic like this. :)
Even more when the pay-off is so endearing.
I have the nasty habit of only going though sketch, drawing, coloring and (attempted) shading.
But this really helps and cheered me up.
Can't wait to see a Fluttershy episode again. :iconfluttershyyesplz:
Karzahnii Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
At one point I honestly considered just stopping at the lineart.

If you like making comics, trading off detail in art is usually worth it for the comic's plot :)
decompressor Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the advice. :)
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