• Bronycon Coverage: Official Comic Panel

    Bronycon's over, but we’ve still got a little more exclusive information to cover for you!  Today we’ve got a panel featuring Katie Cook, Andy Price, Heather Breckel, and Tony Fleecs, the folks who bring us the official MLP comic.  Head below the break for the highlights.

    -What projects do you work on outside of pony?
    Tony: Pony takes up most of his time, but he draws covers for other comics, like Purgatory, as well as working on a graphic novel, and a miniseries called American Goth Chick.
    Heather: Works on the Ninja Turtles animated series comic, and her own webcomic.  She also watches anime and pets cats.
    Andy: Other book covers, Littlest Pet Shop and Adventure Time comics.
    Katie Cook: A few projects with Marvel, for Star Wars, some children’s books, and her own webcomic. Also she’s a parent.

    -How do you come up with the details of the setting?
    Tony: Use the real world as influence for environments.
    Andy: Ilustrators file away things they see as part of their normal life as inspiration for later.  It’s like they’re “doing research whenever they’re conscious.”

    -What are the differences in working on derivative work, and what creative freedom do you have?
    Katie: We have editors who often tell us what not to do.
    Andy: There are many steps.  The concept goes to the editor, then to the licensor, and so on. It’s very different than creating an original project.
    Tony: There is some leeway though, especially stylistically in the art.
    Andy: Hasbro’s actually happy with what we’re doing, art-wise, and gives us lots of freedom.

    -How much ability do you have to collaborate with each other?
    Katie: Andy and Katie have the added benefit of having known each other for a very long time.  They collaborate on everything.
    Heather: Doesn’t really collaborate with them until the end. Generally finished pages are just given to her to color after they’re made.

    -How do you avoid clashing with the show’s canon?
    Andy: Hasbro handles making sure they don’t step on the show’s toes or vice versa.

    -How do you apply the lighting and other visual effects in the comics while still making the ponies’ color schemes obvious?
    Heather: Photoshop layers work wonders for that.  Keep them organized.
    Andy: What’s interesting to him is that the concept of drawing with a pencil is alien to so many people.  Some people just can’t grasp that he draws with a pencil.
    Heather: She applied what she knew from traditional art to her digital coloring, and suggested that if you’re used to digital, try picking up a pencil and drawing, and you’ll find you’ll learn a few things you couldn’t get from digital.

    -When you’re introducing something new, what strategies do you have to make the new element still have the Equestrian feel?
    Katie: Talked about new villains introduced in the next issue of Friends Forever. introduce some new villains.  They’re cows called the Cattle Rustlers.
    Andy: It’s a matter of working in personality both written and visual that works with the mood of the show.
    Heather: She looks at the show for coloring ideas.

    -The comic series receives some negative comments about contradictions with canon.  How does the ?
    Katie: Hasbro sends notes, so any contradictions with canon are missed by both Hasbro and the comic staff.  Some things that have been filtered out by Hasbro: a comic plot idea from a year ago was rejected because it was very similar to the plot of the not-yet-released episode Rarity takes Manehattan.  There was also an instance of Scootaloo flying that Hasbro denied.
    Andy: The comic staff works on a drastically different schedule than the show writers, so they work together however they can.  As far as Hasbro is concerned, the comics are to be considered part of canon canon.
    Tony: Added that, on the rare occasion that the show contradicts the comics, then the show’s version of the event is canon.
    Katie: Admitted she would like to see Tibbles (Luna’s pet possum) on the show.
    Andy: A lot of what happens on the show is actually determined by the fans.  Things that catch on in the fandom are examined by Hasbro and the show staff.

    -Do you guys struggle with the motivation to get up and do art, and if you don’t, how do you fix it?
    Andy: Yhe deadline is a great motivator.
    Katie: This is the coolest job in the world and you need to try to put it in perspective of how much worse of a job you could have.
    Andy: Find a time of day or an environment that works for you.

    -What’s your favorite thing that you’ve added to the comics?
    Andy: Tibbles and Good King Sombra.
    Heather: Made Lyra an alicorn once.
    Katie: Hippie ponies from the Rarity micro.