• Equestria Daily Interview Series: Tony Fleecs, “He’s not too worried about it.”


    We come now to the next installment of the comic interviews with The Illustrous Q, all about these comics that you definitely should be reading by now.  Today's focuses on Tony Fleecs, whom you may recognize from some of the amazing covers and art he has done for the series.  just look at those space ponies. He's definitely top dog when it comes to show style yet still maintains his own quirks to separate him from the pack. 

    Anyway, head on down below the break for all of it! Enjoy!




    This first question is a two for one deal, Tony.

    Okay.


    Because I’m sure everyone in Equestria Daily is dying to know, who is your favorite Pony to draw and is that Pony the same as your personal favorite?

    Well, I think my favorite Pony is Applejack and I really like drawing her especially once I figured her out. She was on the very first issue I did and it was tough getting my head around her hat and how that all worked because in Ponies there’s always just a couple of angles that they show you in the animation so it’s up to you to figure out how they tie together. I definitely like drawing her.

    I think I liked drawing the princesses better just because they’re taller and you can make them more regal and interesting. I like doing taller ponies. I did the Flim Flam brothers in this last issue and I liked drawing them a lot even though they’re weirdly shaped.


    Speaking of weirdly shaped ponies, there was that hulk parody Hulk cover that you did. That had to have been a lot of fun to draw.

    Yeah, it was. Anytime I get to do something out of the box, it’s fun just because I could spend months of my life, only drawing the same shapes over and over again with the ponies depending on what I’m assigned. When I get something, like that Bulk Biceps cover, anything that’s outside of the norm, I always jump at it with great aplomb.



    It definitely showed in the Phantom Variant so congrats.

    Thank you.


    All right, so how did you get started with art?

    Well, I’ve always drawn. I had a cousin when I was younger, a second cousin who was … You know, every school has a Best Artist in the school. He was Best Artist in school, and he was a lot older than me. He’s probably 10 years older than me or more. We’d go to visit him and his family and my parents would hang out with his parents and his brothers and sisters and I would just hang out with him and draw out of Mad Magazines and Sunday Funnies and we’d sit there and draw cartoons off the TV.

    I remember he had this illustrated The Hobbit book—which I recently found listed on eBay for $200—but it’s basically just the story of The Hobbit and then the art from the Rankin and Bass Hobbit cartoon. It’s really beautiful and I remember just sitting there, pouring over that with him and drawing dragons and hobbits and stuff like that. We sat around, drew a lot, and then when I’d go home, I’d draw a lot, at school or my parents would take me to church and I’d draw there and not pay attention.

    Eventually, I was Best Artist in my school, depending on what size of the school. If the school got big, there always somebody would come along who’d be better than me. If I was in a small class, I could usually be the best artist in class. I always had, whenever I feel insecure, I always had that thing where if I get in a small enough group—that’s not comic book artists—I’m usually the best artist.

    It always made me feel good. It was encouraging to have that thing you do because when you’re a kid, you’ve got to have something that sets you apart, otherwise you just fade into the background, and I was the kid who drew. And so I always drew and eventually I went to Art School. Then from there I got a job as a Graphic Designer and from there I became a Comic Book Artist and from there I started drawing Ponies.


    Yeah, that’s a nice little path from A to B to Z.

    Yeah, it’s just that simple. Uncomplicated.


    Oh, yeah, definitely, definitely. Now before we get too far into your work with My Little Pony, what can you tell us about, from what I can find from my research online, your first published work In My Lifetime?

    I was 25, 26 years old and I was really into Independent comics and comics that felt real. I still am, but I think I had just discovered that. I’ve read a lot of superhero comics, and I read some black and white stuff. I read Strangers in Paradise, Always, and Stray Bullets, of course all Dark Horse and that kind of stuff but I hadn’t really dipped my toe into stuff like Harvey Pekar and the guys at Drawn and Quarterly, Fantagraphics, like the sort of cool, smart, autobiographical cartoonists. I just discovered that stuff, and I liked it, but I also thought a lot of times it was dry. I just figured maybe these guys aren’t that funny or maybe they just don’t want to tell the stories of the parts of their lives that are funny.


    I decided to do a comic book and have it be an autobiographical comic book that was also like a comedy. So I felt I was filling a hole that didn’t exist, and then it turned out that there were a ton of other funny autobiographical comics out there. I just hadn’t found them yet! But, I did that and it felt really good to get something, get a publisher, finish a book, and get it out there. The response from it was really great and that was what led me into doing comic books full time, foolishly, because I think it sold 800 copies or something in the direct market, but I, in my mind, was just “Well, there it is, that’s my new job.”


    Well, we all have to start somewhere.

    Yeah. It’s a book that I definitely want to go back to because I like the idea of having every few years … I guess that this will end up being every 10 years, check in with what’s happened in my life in between now and then, that one I was a single guy, I lived in the Mid-West. The next time I do one I’ll be a married guy who lives in California.


    It will also be a good way to show how far your art has improved over the years.

    Yeah, for sure, it’ll definitely look a lot better.


    Now after you did In My Lifetime, you ended up doing quite a bit of work for Indie Comic companies—

    Yeah.


    —as a letterer, colorist or whatever job that you could get. Was there any real big difference between working with smaller Indie companies and a big publisher like IDW?

    Yeah. I mean, it goes for clients that are comic book companies as well as clients that are just businesses. The smaller the operation, generally the more passionate they are. Which is great except for that, if you’re the artist, it ends up just being very difficult on you because the less money there is the more of their heart they’re putting into something, and so then everything’s the most important thing.

    With IDW, I can do an issue and oftentimes there’ll be no notes or few notes but all this stuff where it’s less money and it’s put together on a shoestring and we’re putting on a show, then it’s always we need to change this, we need to change this, everything’s the most important … Every page is the most important page of comics ever. It’s nice to get to the place now where everybody’s just too busy to care what I’ve done and everybody just moves on with their day. *laughs*


    Wow, well, that’s definitely one way of looking at it, that’s for sure.

    The nice thing that IDW has that the smaller companies had was that I’d still end up working with my friends a lot of the time. So it still seems like a smaller thing. I know everybody that I worked with for the most part. The issue I just finished last night, the lady who wrote it, I was in her wedding. It still seemed like sort of a nice close knit family situation which is the great thing about Independent comics. There’s a great feeling of getting together with your friends and putting out a comic book like you’re putting on a play.

    We’re going to put on a show, and IDW has that same feeling. Just because I’m close with Bobby [Curnow], my editor, and then just by happenstance most of the people that I end up working with are people that I know. So it’s nice to have that camaraderie and that team work aspect to it.


    It definitely shows in the work that you produce, with how much fun you guys are clearly having with it so …

    Oh, thanks, man, I’m real excited for you to see the next two issues, the one that comes out this week is a lot of fun. Me and Jeremy did that one and then the one that I just did with Christina, The Flim Flam Brothers and Granny, has some of my craziest stuff.
    Well, we’ve seen you do crazy before …

    No, this is way … This issue, I’ll never do anything this wacky again. Just super detail, crazy out of control stuff. There’s a two page spread in issue nine of Friends Forever that could be one of those puzzles that’re impossible to put together. Like a Where’s Waldo based …
    *laughs*

    There is just so much stuff on it that people will be staring at it for a little while. Should be cool.


    That could possibly make a good poster.

    Yeah, we’ll see. They [IDW & Hasbro] can do that. They own it now.


    That’s true, that’s true. Also before you started work with IDW, you also did a little bit of charity work for The Hero Initiative.

    Yeah.


    Was there any big difference between working for a charity organization and a for profit company?

    No, I mean, that stuff is also sort of hands off, which is nice. They sort of do all their work when they pick you. They know you’re going to do a good job, so they’re not going to note you around and there’s really no way they could. The stuff for The Hero Initiative is always sketch covers which are more like illustration covers. They’re very detailed, full marker color covers most of the time or sometimes painted but because they’re original art, there’s not a lot of direction or notes that they give you.

    You just get the blank cover and you draw on it and then they print in the book and they auction it off for charity and that’s the thing. I get that through the studio that I work in [Garage Art Studio]. They’re friends with Jim McLauchlin—who runs The Hero Initiative, who used to be the editor of Wizard Magazine—and through them I met him and we hit off and he liked my stuff and … Or just was “Well, they like you so you can draw one of these, too,” and then from there I just have done those books … They do one about every year.

    It’s nice to be able to give back to comics because comics pays all my bills right now. The Hero
    Initiative is a charity that takes care of older comic creators who have sort of fallen on hard times.


    Very cool, very cool, and that in turn brings us to when you were first introduced to the My Little Pony Fandom with your Dr. Who Parody Cover for My Little Pony Friendship is Magic number one.

    Yeah, well, that’s actually the second or third cover that I did as it turned out. That came in because Hot Topic was sort of late to the party jumping on My Little Pony Comics. They were the last people that were like “Oh, we want to do that too,” and so I had already done the covers for issue two. I did Larry’s [of Larry’s Comics] and Jetpack’s connecting covers for issues two and then they said, “Oh, we need this other cover for issue two.”

    They needed the Vinyl Scratch cover and the Dr. Whooves one for #1 also. So at that time, I’d seen the cartoon—at least an episode of it, so I was familiar but I had no idea that it was as big a deal, as popular as it was, or had such a ravenous fan base—so I thought it was cool and that the characters were fun to draw, and that was about as much as I knew when I got the job.




    Obviously that’s changed since then.

    Yeah, I’m a little more familiar. I still am not … I don’t have as encyclopedic a knowledge of the show as some of my friends do. Heather Breckel, who colors the book, just knows who everybody is, all the time for the most part. I can just send her a page of with nothing but the cutie mark drawn in and she’ll color it right because she knows some strange background character, Rose or Carrot Top or some … Some character that’s never said four words on a show.


    Which for most of the ones that she’s colored right haven’t.

    Yeah.


    Basically for the last two years, you’ve lived, breathed, and slept, My Little Pony.

    Yeah, that’s pretty much my whole life.


    How do you keep yourself from getting burnt out from drawing all those pastel colored equines?

    *laughs* I don’t know that have … At this point, I feel pretty burnt out but I think that’s just because I was up so late last night. I mean I do a lot of other stuff as well as the ponies. My life’s just pretty busy in general. So I do a lot of conventions, and I’m doing covers for other books. Most of what I do is ponies but every once in a while, I get to jump off and draw some other thing and that clears the palate. It gets me to shake out the cobwebs so the next time I come back to ponies I’m fresh, and I can attack it from a new angle or try new things that I didn’t see when I was …

    When you’re in the thick of an issue or a series of covers, you can just get tunnel vision. You just draw this one way and you’re just going to do this one thing. And then you step away, and you draw something else, or go out with your girl, or you walk around for a while. Then you come back, you look at it and you sort of get a new perspective. I think even if I get burnt out I can do something else and look back on it and have a new fresh perspective which has sort of been the important thing.


    I suppose that has something to do with your—and there’s no other word for it— astounding improvements of your art on the series.

    Aw, thanks, man, yeah!

    Well, the first issue I drew was only the third issue of a comic that I’d drawn. I had done a lot of work but as far as doing sequential comics, I hadn’t done that much. So it’s one of the first times I’m drawing ponies, and it’s one of the first times that I’m doing a comic book that has a deadline and is a real thing. This is my first sort of real comic book job.


    There’s a lot of learning to do when I first got on the book, and I think the main thing what’s improved with me doing the ponies is that I became less concerned with drawing how the show looks and felt a lot better about just drawing the ponies the way that I would draw the Pony. Which I think makes them look a lot better.

    I mean I’m not going, they don’t look like real horses or something, I’m not going off the deep end, they still look like they’re part of a piece. They look like they should in a world of ponies, but I’m not trying to be so slavish to the show look. I think that went a long way in making my stuff look more alive and fresher.


    It’s your own take on the world, as opposed to a copy paste of what’s already been seen.

    Yeah. I mean, I saw people like Andy [Price] doing his own take, and Amy Mebberson did her own take. Then the guy that really did it for me where I was just “Oh, duh,” that’s the way you’re supposed to do it is when Ben Bates did the Ted Anderson Crusaders issue of the micro series. I was just, “Oh, right, you could just draw this however you want,” and as long as it look awesome, people will like it. I think. Do you people like that issue? I know I loved it.



    Well, I know I loved it too. I’m not sure about everyone else but, from what I remember reading when the issue came out, it looked like everyone absolutely loved and praised that issue.

    Yeah. I think is still the best looking Pony comic that ever came out. It’s crazy. It’s the Watchmen of Pony comics.


    It’s just amazing to look at since when you’re reading it, it gives you the impression that you’re reading the comic through the eyes of a child. It’s astounding.

    Yeah, super energetic and it looks like it’s moving almost.


    Mm-hmm. (affirmative)

    He just did the 2014 Annual. I haven’t seen it yet. I did a cover for it, but I’m super excited for it to come out because it’s going to be 48 pages of Ben Bates. I imagine it’ll be awesome.


    I have a feeling it will be as well. He’s my favorite comic book artist.

    Oh, awesome. Is he … Do you know if he’s going to Comic-Con? I’d like to meet that guy.


    Yeah, I’m not sure if he is but one never knows. You could always check the guest list.

    *laughs* I guess you’re right.


    Actually I do have one more question before we move on to a slightly different topic.

    Yeah.


    When you worked on the My Little Pony Annual Issue, were there any real differences between working on a 48 page comic versus a 20 some page comic?

    Yeah, I remember that one being pretty overwhelming. The difference wasn’t so much the length as it was that you’re going from ponies who don’t have fingers, or clothes, and live in a woodland—I mean they live in a town but for most part they’re standing in front of hills and trees and stuff— to real people who are inside of buildings and have clothes that are specific outfits and stuff like that. It was a lot of work, and then, yeah, it was … I mean I didn’t have to do 48 pages. I just did 40 because Kate [Cook] and Andy [Price] did the first eight but it was a lot more work and, yeah, I mean, there was a difference there. I was certainly happy to be back.

    I went to the Cutie Mark Crusaders right after that and it was nice to just draw Pony again. Even though they were in a 1,000 different scenarios and that one was complicated too! The best was doing that Fluttershy issue that came after because that was just … She was just in the jungle. The background was so simple. It was just drawing animals.

    Yeah, the Equestria Girls are way more complicated, but I hope to get another crack at them and get a chance to do the same thing I did with the Pony art: do my own take and be more comfortable drawing them. If I were to draw them again, I would be excited that I would get to have my own take on it.


    Well I hope you get the chance.

    Yeah.

    Over these past two years, you’ve become one of the most featured artists on the series. Having done, get this, over 80 covers, eight interiors, and a line of three lithographs for IDW Limited that we’ll get to in a moment. How does it feel having your work so prominently featured in the series?

    It’s really great. I mean there’s a saying in professional comics that to be a successful comic book artist you either have to be nice, fast, or good. I definitely think early on I was just nice and fast. They knew they could call me, I would hit my deadlines and if they needed something turned around in a day, I could turn it around in a day. I think that’s how I ended up on so many covers. It was just like nobody expected ponies to be as crazy as it was that first year. I mean I can’t imagine—80 covers sounds out of control. That’s got to include the sketch variants, right?


    It does.

    Okay. Well, yeah, I mean they count. I guess they’re all sitting on my shelf but …


    Sitting on mine too.

    *laughs* There haven’t been 80 issues, there’ve been what? Twenty plus … There have been maybe 30 issues of the comic, right?


    Yup, 39 as of this interview.

    That I’ve done 80 covers means everybody else [combined] has probably done 200 covers. It’s crazy that there’s just been so much work to do and so much of it being out there. Like I said, my first book sold 800 copies, and then the next big thing I worked on sold over a 100,000. So it definitely was a jump in people seeing my work and having eyes on me. We talked about the improvement in my stuff and it was wild to have my formative stages on the main stage like that. How people see when I drew the knees wrong or the eyeballs look weird or whatever that many people see it.

    Yeah, I think having that much work is just about me always saying, “Yes.” I have this fear that I’m going to die poor and alone and so whenever somebody offers me work, I just say, “Yeah, I’ll do that.” I guess I must have said yes 80 times for those covers and, yeah, I just finished my seventh full issue.


    Nice, very nice.

    Amy Mebberson has to have done like a million covers, right? She’s done a cover for every issue.


    Yes, she has at least one cover per issue.

    At least one. She’s out of control. She used to say to me, “Oh, you do the most covers,” and I was like “What are you talking about?” I go months without doing a cover sometimes. My friend Christina [Rice] who wrote the Flim Flam brothers issue—she’s writing the next issue of Friends Forever, too—and she said she turned in the synopsis and then two days later a full color cover came in. It was just, “Oh, hear’s this …”


    Yeah, Amy Mebberson is crazy good.

    Yeah, she’s great too. She’s the … Ben Bates is my favorite but when I saw her draw Pony faces, it sort of really clicked in for me. Oh, that’s the way they should look.

    Nice, very cool. Next big question, how big of a Transformers fan are you?

    I like the movies. I loved the cartoon when I was a kid but my parents had five kids so I never had the toys. We couldn’t afford toys. They probably could afford toys, they just would not buy them for me. They’re very thrifty and so instead GI Joe, I’d have the little rubber headed fake GI Joe’s that you’d get, the 99 Cent Store.


    Blech.

    I never had Transformers. I had a couple of Gobots. I didn’t have the full on fanboy Transformers love, I wasn’t into the comics. So I loved them in theory. I loved the design on them and I actually really love Michael Bay so I think those movies are great. They’re not great movies but I think that they’re great. Time’s going to tell on that, dude. So getting the opportunity to draw Transformers on the Pony covers is always fun.


    For that reason and also for like I said before, it’s nice to just shake off the cobwebs and draw something else for a minute. I feel like I get to do my own hybrid take on the Transformers which is nice too like it’s sort of a in between comic book and cartoon take on what these characters look like.


    Well, I can definitely say this, if there’s ever a cross over between My Little Pony Friendship is Magic and Transformers, be it any, the Generation One, Two, Three, Four, whatever—

    You want me to do it?


    Absolutely. Those covers and lithographs that you’ve done have me saying, “This is the guy to do it.”

    Thanks, man. Well, yeah, I always say that I would love to do that, but I know the minute that thing happened, I would be furious that I said yes! *laughs* Because they’re so much more complicated to draw than Ponies. Doing a lithograph or a cover, I just have to do one good image. I don’t have to move them around or make them act or talk or anything. You just have to figure out one, this is how they look good shape, and doing the comic, I’m sure I would go out of my mind crazy drawing those transformers.

    Livio Ramondelli draws the Transformers and he lives here in LA, I run into him all the time. I never just sat and talked to him about how on earth do you just draw those Transformers over and over again. The Ponies are just circles, they’re circles and tubes! But those Transformers are … It’s like drawing the engine of a car every time you wake up in the morning, I would imagine.


    Wow.

    You’re a big Transformers fan?


    I was when I was a lot younger, but I fell out of it when I stopped getting the toys.

    Yeah. I think that has a lot to do with how big of a fan you are of anything. If you spent your childhood playing with those toys and dreaming about those toys, then that has such a visceral connection in your real life, more so than just watching a show.

    I think [older] people who are into Transformers [now] were the ones that had Transformers toys and sat there and watched the cartoon or did the Toy Story thing where your Transformers and your GI Joes were crossing over or all of a sudden Luke Skywalker’s running around with Transformers. I think that makes are real impression on kids that carry through into older people and what they’re into and what their nostalgia is.


    Makes a lot of sense. Now you have two comics coming out from IDW, namely Friends Forever Number Seven and Number Nine, what can you tell us about those two issues?

    Oh, okay, well, Number Seven is Pinkie Pie and Princess Luna. The premise is basically Princess Celestia every year throws what’s like the White House Correspondents’ Dinner of Equestria where she invites people to the palace. She sort of jokes around and engenders good will to the people and everyone loves her because she’s funny. And then Luna shows up and she is not funny, so this year at the event she wants to be funny. So she goes to Pinkie Pie to learn how to be funny. That’s what that comic’s about.


    It was a lot of fun to draw because like I said, I love drawing the princesses and Pinkie Pie is just like the most fun to draw! We got to bring back a lot of cool cameo stuff. I brought in some cameos from the comics and then also from the TV show, Sir Lincealot and Rocky and all Pinkie’s friends from Party of One come back around in this comic and have speaking parts so that was fun to do and also easy to draw. If I saw a panel that said Sir Lints-a-lot, it was just “Oh, thank god,” I could draw Sir Lints-a-lot in two seconds!

    Yeah, so that issue is next week right before Comic-Con and Bronycon, which is nice because it will give me something new to sign and ... When I do my signings with IDW at Comic-Con, if I haven’t done an issue within a month around there, then oftentimes I’ll just be signing whatever somebody else drew if nobody’s brought stuff specifically for me. So it’ll be nice to have my new issue be the newest thing.


    Wow.

    Then Number Nine is Granny and the Flim Flam brothers and I just finished it last night. Heather’s finishing up the colors tomorrow1—she says, and I have no reason not to believe her because she’s the fastest colorist in the history of time. She doesn’t use a flatter or anything. She just can knock out a bunch of pages and it seems to be no sweat for her! So she is great! But, I finished that and it is Granny and the Apple Family go to an apple convention which is sort of like Comic-Con which is a nightmare to draw.

    [Writer’s Note1: Confirmed by Heather Breckel herself. Yes, she is just that amazing.]

    I mentioned there a big crazy splash page, a two page spread that’s just all of the con and all the Ponies, walking around checking out Apple-Con and Granny goes there and runs into the Flim Flam brothers and they are in an argument.

    They’re not talking anymore and so she, even though she sort of hates them she has to get to the bottom, because she’s inquisitive, she has to get to the bottom of what the problem is with them and see if she can’t patch things up. That’s about and it’s got, like I said, my craziest layouts and some of my craziest artwork in it for sure and that’ll be out, I guess in two months and then after that I’m doing a secretive thing and in between there and now I’m doing, I assume some other covers and stuff.


    Actually, I don’t know if I have any covers assigned right now, which is kind of liberating but whenever I go to Comic-Con I end up sort of trying to shake more work out of them that I don’t need the shake out! I have plenty of stuff to do. I’m doing just fine and I always end up … When I get around Comic-Con, I feel, “Oh, I should get work.” or I try to at least.

    Hey, it works so …

    Yeah, I mean it’s great. It’s definitely a great place. This is my dream. My dream my whole life has been to draw comic books .From the minute I picked up a comic book, I knew I wanted to draw comic books, and to have not only a career but sort of land in this place where I have fans and stuff. I dig that the fans are the fans of My Little Pony more than they’re fans of me, but it’s definitely weird to have gone from zero to 60 in terms of having people know who you are or be familiar with your work and it’s really, really nice.

    Although, like I said, I take on too much work and being engaged and planning my wedding and my fiancée just moved in January and it seems like since she’s moved in, we’ve spent maybe three whole days together! It would be nice to even out my schedule and just do a page a day and now that I’m here and I have the work, it would be nice to sort of get comfortable. We’ll see if that happens.


    Well, as the old saying goes, “there are always possibilities.”

    Yes, yes there is.


    Is there anything else you want to talk about that I didn’t cover?

    Well, I’ll be at Comic-Con next week. I’m at Booth DD12. I don’t know if this will be out before then but I assume it will probably be out before Bronycon which is the week after that which I will also be at! I’m psyched about Bronycon because I’ve never been before and also because it’s in Baltimore which is bringing a full circle. It’s where my cousin who taught me how to draw lives so he’s … I don’t know, he’s fifty some years old now. He’s got to be much older.


    I haven’t seen him in a couple of years, but it’ll be cool to go out there. Me and my fiancée are going out and we’re going to hang out a little while after Bronycon and hang out with those guys, see his kids and hopefully they’re into Ponies, because then I’ll have lots of stuff for them! *laughs*

    Yeah, so I’ve got a couple big conventions these next two weeks. I’m doing covers now for Dynamite Comics. I just finished the Purgatori cover last night in the middle of finishing my Pony issue. She’s like a 90’s bad girl character that they brought back and I do these morbid adorable baby covers for that book.

    Then at Bronycon, I’m not sure what my table number is [Booth 522 – VIP Comic Team] but I imagine I’ll be easy enough to find. I did a cover, three covers for Jetpack Comics: one for Issue 21 and then two for Friends Forever #7. Well, I guess, it’s more like six …There’s lot of covers at Bronycon. You probably saw the space variants that came out last week.


    Well, I was the one who asked you about them on Twitter. *chuckles*

    Oh, yeah. *laughs* Those are for Bronycon and then there’s one that I don’t know if people have seen it yet where it’s Luna and Pinkie Pie and Pinkie Pie’s closing off the line for a convention which looks a lot like the Baltimore Convention Center and it’s just lots and lots of Ponies in line and Luna wants to get in line and the sign says “The line for a convention exclusive variants end here.” Before this last issue, that was the most Ponies I’ve drawn on anything. I think there’s 40 Ponies on that cover, standing in line and then those all have the sketch variants too. There’s a lot of new stuff coming out there.


    At Comic-Con, I’ll be raffling off an original cover which is something I did last year and it was fun, they sort of have a thing that people will keep coming back around for. I like to have a price for every budget so a print for me is $10 and if you want a quick Pony head sketch that’s $20 but if you’ve only got five bucks, well, you can get a raffle ticket and maybe win this piece of art that’s worth $500.


    Sweet.

    I’m doing that. I’m not actually sure which cover I’m raffling off at Comic-Con yet. I just finished my issue so now I get to go through all my artwork and get that ready for the show. I’ve got a whole new sort of booth set up with new signs. I’ve got to get all that ready for the show, and then do Comic-Con for six days and then get home and rest for maybe a day and then run out to Baltimore for Bronycon.


    Sounds like it’s going to be a busy two weeks.

    It’s been a busy several months and the weekend after Bronycon, I’ve got another show in Stockton, California and then I think I’m off for a little bit.


    Then you get to breathe.

    Yeah, I hope so. Today I get to breathe and all I have to do is color a print because I do original—Aside from selling prints like the Pony covers and stuff—11 by 17 prints just for conventions, which was a lot of how I was making my money before Ponies came along. I’d do conventions and make a good chuck of money and that would float me for a little while. So I’ve got to color a print that’s Poison Ivy pulp novel cover today and it seems like a nice light day, whereas last year or two years ago, if I had that to do, it would be like, “Oh, what a nightmare, I’ve got to color this print and now that’s the only thing on my agenda today. It feels like I have nothing to do.


    Amazing to see how much perspective changes when you have work.

    Yeah. Yeah, it’s nice. My girl puts together a schedule for me now. It’s this nice thing where it’s broken down into: this is what you have to do before lunch, this is what you have to do after, and this is what you have to do after dinner. It’s nice because it doesn’t have times, because that’s no good because I’ll end up …

    Like last night I finished up the issue at nine in the morning, this morning or whatever. So if there were hours on my schedule, everything would be ruined, but since it’s just what you have to do in a certain time, like a chunk of your day, it works out really nice. So that’s how I’ve been able to get through doing this issue, and the other random covers, and still getting stuff for myself done.

    I’m working on a book for ONI Press, that I’ve been working on since 2010 and I’m about to finish it off next month, just because we’ve been able to schedule it where I have a chunk of time in between this Pony issue and the next Pony issue. Using scheduling techniques I can finally get stuff done. It’s definitely been a learning experience because being an artist my main thing was just wake up and draw. I just sort of went at it like I’m just pushing the ball up the hill. I just have to do everything and when I get it all done, it’ll all be done. And then it turned out it would never get done.

    Writing everything down and saying this is what I have to do today really has been super helpful.


    Cool.

    It’s a weird thing to have as much work as I have. Coming from six years ago, I sat around and watched the entire Gilmore Girls and didn’t do a thing.


    I’m sure there’s plenty of people who have done that before.

    Straight through all seven seasons


    Wow. Why does it seem like that the more work you have the more work you do, the less work you have, the less work you do?

    Yeah, that sort of thing, motion creates emotion. People like a happening and—as far as employers go or clients—if they see you working, they know you can work. And the more your work, the more your work gets out there, and the more opportunity there is that somebody that can hire you sees your work.



    Very good way of thinking about that.

    Well, I have a lot of time to sit around and think about this stuff because I mostly just have my face over a drawing table.


    Well, have you ever considered moving your face away from a drawing table and work with a computer screen than consider pitching an idea to Bobby [Curnow] for your own My Little Pony comic?

    One that I’d write and draw myself?


    Yes.

    I have thought about it. I imagine I probably will at some point. I like how Katie does the little short back up stories. It’d be cool to get to do that, but I think there’s so much work to be done with Ponies on Bobby’s end that for any new weird thing I throw at him he’ll be just like, “I don’t want to worry about that now. I have so much work to do.”

    I’d like to do short stuff like that eventually and then maybe work up into something like full issues. But, I’m writing my own stuff for other creator owned work, and that takes me as much time as drawing takes me.

    I’m marathoning the whole show right now. I’ve watched a lot of the episodes out of order, and now I’m going through and watching them in order. That sort of gives me ideas as I’m watching it, like “Oh, that’d be a cool thing to do or that’s funny. That’s a funny idea,” which I’m sure clearly happens to all the other fans of the shows too. I think that’s why there’s such a crazy amount of fan art and fan fiction.


    Oh, yeah.

    That’s really daunting, coming onto this property, and knowing that there’s already a million other artists out there who just sit around and do it for free and who are amazing at it.


    Hey, you were at the right place at the right time so …

    Right. I’m not too worried about it.


    All right. Thank you for your time, Tony. It was great talking to you.

    Great, at the end of my interview, I just say “I’m not too worried about it.”


    Well, how would you like to end the interview?

    Can that be the headline? Tony Fleecs, “He’s not too worried about it.”


    Sure.

    I think the first comment would be “Yeah, we know.”

    I think that’s about it. I don’t know if I have anything else to talk about. I’ll be, like I said, I’ll be at Comic-Con and Bronycon, so come out and say “Hi.” Oh, and if you see me, tell me what your name is on the internet, like on Twitter or on The Round Stable or wherever. Because oftentimes I’ll meet people and talk to them, and I’ll get back from a show and they’ll be like, “Oh, hey, I saw you, and we talked,” and I’ll be like, “Oh, I didn’t know that was you.” Tell me what your internet name is.


    Well, I am the Illustrious Q and you will be seeing me at Bronycon.

    Awesome, man. I look forward to it.


    I look forward to it too, Tony.

    It was nice talking to you.


    Nice talking to you too.

    All right.


    Have a great … All right, have a great day.

    Thanks, man, you too.


    Tony Fleecs can be found in person at San Diego Comic Con on July 24th-July 27th at Artist Alley DD12 and in Baltimore at Bronycon at Booth 522 on August 1st-August 3rd.

    You can follow Tony Fleecs on the web on:

    Deviant Art: http://tonyfleecs.deviantart.com/
    Twitter: @TonyFleecs 
    Blogger: http://tonyfleecs.blogspot.com/

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