• Artist Interviews: Alasou

    Just when you thought Rainbow Dash wouldn't look good in a classy dress.

    Good day, mares and gentlecolts! I am Twilight is Magic, the guy responsible for making this artist interview series happen. Previously, Calpain was the one to post them, but this time I've been given the honour of presenting the interview myself.

    Today our guest is an artist whose works many of you will instantly recognize and “hnnng!” at – Alasou! With his remarkable talent for cute and beautiful things of all kinds, there’s no doubt most of you know and love his art. All the more interesting, then, to hear what the man himself has to say about it!

    Catch Alasou’s insights, suits and Rarispiders beyond the break!

    And if you – yes, you there! – want to suggest some artists to be interviewed as part of this series, go ahead and do so in the comments or mention them to me on my dA page.

    - First, a few general questions. How did you start making art? How has your artistic life been going since?

    I was always attracted to everything drawn, but I was also way too shy and awkward to draw myself. But when I dropped out from school in the middle of high school (because of depression, social phobia and other funny things like that), I had nothing to lose and decided that I wanted to be an artist. It was a bold move and my artistic life has been very chaotic for years, until I started posting art online less than two years ago. Since that, it's been great.

    - How did you originally get into pony? What attracted you and what made you stay and make your many fine pony works?

    I first heard about ponies around when the end of the first season was being broadcast. At the time I was watching “Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt” and I was finding more and more ponified versions of “Stocking” (it was in fact Twilight). I thought it was some kind of a meme and did some research. It turned out it was a new cartoon, I tried it and loved it. I fell in love with it at a time where I was feeling very down, so I guess it's why I still love the show now.

    - You make your works in a special style that is already visible in your very first pictures and is still recognizable years down the line. You've further refined it and evolved it well. What drew you to drawing this way, and what do you like the most about it?

    Honestly, I don't have much to say about it. My only goal was to not draw in a style like that in the show. With that in mind I, started drawing the way that was most natural for me and continued that way since. Although now I have more experience and have studied things better.

    - Do you have anything that inspires you that you could tell us about? Are there any artists (pony or otherwise, modern or from previous ages) that you find to be an influence or a source of inspiration to you?

    I don't know if I can tell something is an influence or not. But my two favorites pony artists are Egophiliac and Atryl, and lately, my friend Casy probably influenced me a bit. But what inspires me the most – it's cheesy, I know – are the artists that look up to me. Someone saying I inspire them is the most beautiful thing for me.

    - What programs and other tools do you use to make your art? (Of particular interest to me is how you make that wonderful soft shading.)

    No tricks of any kind, I only use Paint Tool SAI and an Intuos (Wacom) tablet with vanilla settings. As for my soft shading, it’s just the watercolor tool, low density eraser and patience. No trick to it.

    - Is there one character (or several characters at once) in canon or non-canon pony that you can call your favourite, and why? Who’s your favourite character to draw?

    It's hard to choose one so I will go by categories. Favorite main character? Applejack, because she's a strong and independent woman that you can relate to, trust and have fun with. And she has a cool hat. Favorite male character: Big Macintosh. He’s like AJ but more shy (something I can relate to) and more red. Favorite child: Scootaloo. She’s cool looking, a cool friend and got a big potential. Favorite background character: Derpy, of course.

    As for drawing, I would say “out of character Rainbow Dash” and, generally, probably Fluttershy, Twilight and Derpy. Derpy is adorable and I like Twilight’s and Fluttershy's designs.

    - What do you enjoy seeing from other content producers in bronydom? Any medium counts.

    Art and drawing in general. As long as it's not grimdark or grotesque, I can like it. In the past, I was spending hours randomly searching for cool art on various imageboards. Now it's the same, but with more ponies in it. And occasionally, also the music.

    - What is your creative process like? Do you make art in long sittings in one go or in shorter ones and with breaks? Is it spontaneous for you or is it something you plan out ahead?

    I try to draw every day, even if I don't really want to (remember kids, practice is the key), so I'm at my desk all day alternating between drawing and other, more or less important stuff. Sometimes drawing is spontaneous, sometimes I force myself, sometimes it's totally planned out and I draw for hours without taking a break. And sometimes I'm drooling at my desk doing nothing.

    - What do you like the most about drawing ponies (whether pony-form or anthropomorphic)? What is the most difficult part of it for you?

    What I like the most about drawing ponies... I guess it's doing my own version of characters that I like most. I can't specify any one particular thing, I like it overall. But the most difficult thing for me to draw is probably the legs. That and keeping a constant style.

    - Now then, time for something different: You have done quite a bit of commission work over the time I've been following your art. Can you share anything from your experience as a commission artist with us? What do you find easy or hard about it? Which parts of it do you like or dislike? Any advice for people wishing to start doing commissions? I’m sure many would like to hear about it from your perspective.

    Doing commission brings all kind of feelings. Someone is willing to pay for what you love doing – it's a weird feeling, a mix of awesomeness and awkwardness. You are very happy, it's like a dream come true, but also can't help to think the person choose you by mistake. Working on one is stressing, as you want to give the best you can. But the feeling of a job well done compensates for that well.

    Now, as for advice, don't lower your prices too much. If you can, take your time, you don't want to rush it. Don't accept commissions for things you are not okay with, either because of the content or the art level required.

    - Many of your pictures place our ponies in some sort of alternate setting or equip them with various outfits. How do you go about designing them and choosing which idea do you want to go for this time – is it something premeditated or spontaneous?

    Usually the first idea is totally random, appearing while doing random doodles and sketches. But if there is an idea I like, I want to continue doing it with others characters. And then it becomes more premeditated and elaborate. But sometimes I have bigger ideas planned that take a lot more time to work on, time I don't always have.

    - How did your approach to anthropomorphizing the ponies come about? What influenced its evolution?

    I like to have various ways to draw. Anthros are one of them. And it helps me study human anatomy, which is an important step for every artist. And as for influence... My mood, mostly. I like to change things once in a while, with or without any influence.

    - Is there anything you want to try out or experiment with, art-wise?

    Speed paints. I want to speed paint and regularly try. And keep failing at it. But I'll get it eventually.

    - My favourites among your exceptionally cute “ponies dressed in suits” are this and this, for different kinds of suits respectively. What are the entries in those series you are most proud of yourself?

    It's a hard one. What I'm the most proud of is way different from what people like in it. But I guess it's Rainbow Dash in a suit. The whole idea behind the Mane 6 being suited up lead to this particular one. I wanted to draw Rainbow Dash in a classy dress and the others characters were made more as a set up for it. I really like the idea of Rainbow Dash being the only one in a dress. And I was really happy it turned out so well. She is classy, feminine and totally badass.

    - Does spider Rarity have an unlimited supply of silk for dressmaking purposes?

    Of course. And she dresses up at night to fight crime with it. But just wait till you see Twilight Naga or Rainbow Slime (or Harpy Dash)…

    - How can you survive making so much cuteness without contracting adorabetes?

    I'm immune to it and overly adorable things in general. I give my blood to scientists so that they can find and develop a vaccine for adorabetes. And I invest in it. And then draw more cute things. So the vaccine gets sold and I became rich. It’s the perfect plan.

    - Thank you for your interview, Alasou. I enjoy your art a great lot and I’m sure that so does our audience. I hope you’ll continue to enjoy making it and have a wonderful artistic path ahead of you!

    Thank you very much. I really appreciate it and it means a lot to me.