Time to bring back an old series we haven't touched in over a year! Quite a few awesome artists have come to the forefront in the past few years, and we want to dive in and see how they do it, while celebrating some of their best pieces.
We start it off with one that many of you have probably seen me header things with or spam my Twitter feed with. Someone who has taken the overwhelming adorableness of ponies and ramped it up to MAX!
Q:) How did you stumble upon My Little Pony? What was your "origin" story if you will?
I had a friend in high school that would found ponies through bronies react. He started watching it and would tell me about it a bit. I decided I couldn't judge him until I started watching now I'm here with pony all over me.
Q:) What is the process you usually go through when drawing something new? What tools and programs do you use?
I usually have hundreds of ideas floating through my head. But one will usually catch my attention and I'll pretty much obsessively work on it until it's done. I usually draw with just a pencil and paper or digitally with a tablet and Photoshop
Q:) Do you draw professionally? Or is this a side thing to another career or job?
No, I picked up drawing as a hobby. I would draw something, some people would like it, I would draw some more, more people would like it. And it grew until I could start selling my art to people at conventions.
Q: ) Let’s get the usual required question out of the way: Who is your favorite pony? And if it's different, who is your favorite pony to draw?
Lol, okay so I never really could figure this one out for the longest time.
But I would say AJ, mainly because she's that type of friend who's simple, but has got her life together.
But as for favorite pony to Draw, I would say, Lyra, Epona, and my own OC (as egotistical as that sounds) but I designed my OC so that she would be a fun relaxing pony for me to doodle in my sketch book if I ever just need a stress reliever.
Q:) What kind of challenges do you usually run into when drawing a character for the first time? Has there ever been an image concept that completely stumped you?
Oh I always get stumped when drawing something new. I'm mostly self taught, so a lot of times I have to learn how to go about drawing something. Like a new hair style or backgrounds.
But drawing a new character for the first time can be a bit difficult if you don't understand their personality. That's what can really brings your picture to life.
Q:) Your style is probably one of the cutest out there and completely different from the show. How did you go about developing it? Was there anyone that inspired you? Or did you simply just mold into it over time?
It started out trying to be like the show, probably like how most people start. I'm a self taught artist, with some advice from other artists and friends, but I've been learning this as I go.
I do have influence from artists I really admire, I think every artists has other artists they aspire to be more like. I have A LOT of artists I admire a lot, but I'll list a few that come to mind.
Q:) Socks, sweaters, silly hats, suggestive swimwear, full body armor, ponies have worn it all. What is your favorite accessory to draw ponies in?
I still have yet to draw a few of those, but I think I really enjoyed drawing ponies in an outfit from something else. Like my anime cosplay set.
It was SOOOoooooo many frustrating hours trying to figure out how to get ponies to wear human clothing, but in the end it was pretty rewarding
Q:) What do you like most about Friendship is Magic? What keeps you drawing so many awesome ponies?
I mostly enjoy Friendship is Magic for it's community. We wouldn't be a community if it was just creators. We need people to enjoy and support our work to drive the community.So I have to hand it to all the normal bronies that just enjoy content.
If it wasn't for my fans urging me on, I would have given up a long time ago out of frustration at not knowing what I'm doing half the time and stumbling through it all. So thank you
Q:) Do you have any tips for newbie artists looking to improve?
lol, Oh I could ramble about this subject for awhile.
Anatomy is a big one many newer artists study at first, wish I had focused on it earlier. Learning bone structure, joints, how they twist and the proportions of your character.
Start small, don't bite off more then you can chew at first. Many artists try too many things or invest a bunch of money at once and get frustrated. A simple pencil and paper is all you need to learn the basics. If feel like a challenge go for it and try some new concepts.
Find a friend you can trust to criticize your work when you need good constructive criticism. Look at what you feel isn't right, and focus on improving it. Find elements in other artists you really enjoy. Maybe one has a style of drawing eyes you really wanna do, and then another draws manes in a way you enjoy. Mash it all together to develop your own unique style
Lastly, don't take everything an artists you feel is better then you as "the rules" every artists does things differently, everyone has their style, their preferences what they enjoy to draw the most.
So take advice as a suggestion. If you feel like it may help you go for it. Do what you feel like is how you want to express yourself as an artist.
Q:) Why do you think My little Pony Generation 4 has been so successful? What keeps you here involved in the community?
I could only really guess at that. I would think it's mostly because the community drives it on.
As much as the internet labels MLP to be a pretty trashy community it's got a more inclusive environment at conventions and online.
Ponies can included almost any other fandom into it's community. It's why I enjoy drawing crossovers, because we all have our other interests. Even if we disagree in one regard we can still come back to our mutual interest in MLP.
I've been to one local comic con and it felt far more separated then MLP cons do. Everyone is split off into their own groups and would glare at me in the game of thrones cosplay I had if it didn't fit their group.
At mlp cons you can just wander around and be a nerd "oh dude you like star trek? I LOVE that show!" "hey nice steven merchandise" "where did you get that pokemon backpack"
It's why I can still enjoy my time behind my booth at conventions because the fans act like decent people.
I feel like that's our fandom's strongest point. We can just all be nerds and decent people to eachother and we shouldn't ever lose sight of that.
Gallery of Some of the Best Ardail Art!
Ardail has one of the fluffiest and most comfy styles in the fandom, with smooth line work and an incredibly soft use of shading to really bring out the form of his ponies.
Doesn't that make you want to just turn on some Rainy Mood, put your feet up, and read a good book?
Even zee sketches are adorable!
He also delves into the crossover scene as mentioned in the interview, with several drawings covering everything from TRON to Zelda as you probably picked up from the images above.
Epony here is actually a purchasable body pillow from him at conventions. They sell out pretty quick whenever I bother him about it. You can probably see why.
Dem feels. Poor Applejack ;_;
And of course, some Spitfire.
Follow Ardail on Deviant Art over here!