• FIENDship is Magic Interview with IDW MLP Artist Sara Richard

    I'm pretty sure no one was expecting My Little Pony to go full on Dia de los Muertos with their comic covers. I'm also pretty sure that these are some of the best comic covers that Sara Richard has ever produced!

    Just look at them! They're gorgeous!

    Anyways, recently I had a chance to sit down with Sara Richard to talk how these covers came to life, her three page short story in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #25, and her involvement in something truly, truly outrageous.

    As always, you can find it after the break!

    Okay, Sara. 

    Sara Richard: Yeah.

    First, the Dia de los Muertos covers. 

    SR: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

    Were those always intended to be a part of FIENDship is Magic, or were those six covers a separate assignment that was later added to FIENDship?

    SR: It was asked of me to find a theme for the main six to match Amy [Mebberson]'s theme that she had with all the villains and the traditional painting style that she had going. IDW wanted a theme that was all-inclusive for the main six.

    I've always wanted to do sugar skull anything, and I thought it would be cool. I didn't know if IDW would let me do it at first, but they were surprisingly cool with it. I was like, "Yeah, sugar skulls are neat." It all ties them together. I didn't know at the time it was going to be for FIENDship, so it just worked out.

    It was really fun. I loved trying to figure out all the designs, trying to incorporate the cutie marks and the designs into the makeup designs. Plus all the colors, anything that's bright colors and flowers. It was really fun to paint, so yeah, I had a lot of fun.

    Sounds like it.

    SR: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

    If the opportunity were to present itself, could you see yourself painting a theme for the villains?

    SR: Yeah, yeah, that'd be pretty cool. I don't know off the top of my head what I would do. I wonder if maybe it would be like how the main six are nice and they're kind of in spooky makeup. The villains I would have to find something sweet to juxtapose and play off of. That will take some thinking.

    Like King Sombra at a tea party? 

    SR: Yeah! *laughs* Something like that. For sure. Something with sparkles and glitter and kittens maybe.

    And him looking absolutely miserable the whole time.

    SR: Oh, yeah, totally. *laughs*

    How'd you come up with the idea for "To Tame the Beast"?

    SR: My cat is very much like Angel Bunny. That's why I draw him so much. I get having a pet that kind of hates your guts but loves you at the same time. I wanted to do something centered around that for the last page. I also wanted to do something with Zecora and play with all her magic effects. She is a really cool character.

    It was just one of those silly little stories. I asked Bobby [Curnow] if I could do a short story sometime, and that was the first thing that popped into my head. One of my favorite characters and an animal that's like my cat. Everything just kind of worked out.

    It's absolutely adorable to look at. 

    SR: Thanks! The last page with Angel is my favorite, with the chaos and disasters going on around him! I put the ship in there—Hooftanic or something—the Hindenburg. I think I snuck the red comet from Game of Thrones in the background somewhere

    He's such an evil little rabbit.

    SR: He is! *laughs* He is, but he's just very set in his ways. I totally get it.

    I want my dinner now, and it's going to happen now! I don't care what your schedule is. It's now, now, now!

    SR: Exactly! *laughs* He's very much the most cat-like rabbit I have ever seen in any cartoon or comic or anything!

    You've also started to work on something truly outrageous recently.

    SR: YES!

    How does it feel to be working on Jem and the Holograms?

    SR: Oh, my god! It's my dream-come-true project! I have always wanted to do something for Jem. It was my favorite cartoon when I was little, and I still have the toy car. It's been my prized possession since I was little. I re-watched the entire series the other day. It's just awesome!

    Anything with bright colors and fashion and music is the best thing in the world. I used to work at Hasbro sculpting [toy designs]. They would have some of the original Jem paintings—like some of the original gouache concept paintings— down one hallway that was just way out of the way of wherever I had to go. I'd always make sure I'd go down that hallway just to look at them.

    I just love it! I'm so excited for it. Since working on it, I've gotten to meet Samantha Newark, who is amazing and one of the sweetest people I've ever met! She does the speaking voice of Jem! It's crazy. It's just so surreal.

    She sang happy birthday to me on my birthday this year! Never in a million years would I have thought that that would ever happen. I think we sang "Sweet Transvestite" for a little bit, too. *laughs* That was pretty fun. That was also something I never thought would happen.

    It's been great! It's a childhood dream come true kind of thing. And I am having a blast! Yeah!

    Which Jem cover has been your favorite to work on so far? 

    SR: My favorite one so far is one that hasn't been shown yet!

    But, of the covers that have come out, definitely the first one, because I was so excited for this to be happening. I would say number three as well with all the Misfits. It says "Our songs are better!" in the fabric swatches!

    Yeah, I'm having a blast with all of them though! IDW has been super open to whatever I want to do, so I've been super thankful for that. Same thing with My Little Pony. They're really, really open about ideas. That's been great!

    Have you tried pitching a story for Jem?

    SR: Right now, it's very much in Kelly [Tompson], John [Barber], and Sophie [Campbell]'s control, which is awesome! They're doing an amazing job. I'm hoping when they see the response to the series—because it hasn't come out yet, I think IDW’s still kind of waiting to see how it’s received. If it goes well—and everybody Tweets and Facebooks says how much they love it, because it's really great—then hopefully maybe IDW will later on start experimenting with different artists and stories.

    I'm hoping to maybe one day pitch a classic Jem story, because the comic very much updated right now. I've been really happy that the covers IDW has let me and Amy [Mebberson] do a more classic Jem approach. I'm hoping if everything goes well, that they will be open to a classic Jem short story.
    It's kind of like the sky's the limit right now. It's very much however the fans receive it and let IDW know how much they love it! I think that'll be the best way that they can gauge whether or not they can experiment with some other approaches on it.

    Here's hoping that Jem and My Little Pony end up going on for a long, long time with IDW.

    SR: Oh, totally! It'd be awesome to have a crossover at some point, too! Maybe on one of the covers, it might be fun to give Kimber a Rainbow Dash shirt!

    The worst IDW and Hasbro can do is say no. 

    SR: That's true. That is true, and they're usually really open to stuff like that. So even ... They probably would just say, hopefully, yes. Who knows? Who knows. It's very exciting to see what's going to come.

    Who knows? Maybe you could do a My Little Pony/Jem parody cover. *laughs*

    SR: Ooh, there's that! There is that! Yeah, who knows? That's the thing. It's great. It's so open. Everything's kind of a possibility!

    Thank you for your time, Sara. 

    SR: You're totally welcome! Thank you for reaching out, man.