• From Newb to Amazing - Artist Interview / Spotlight with VanillaGhosties


    Every year we run the Artist Training Ground event, and VanillaGhosties started it off with some of the simplest ponies out there back in 2014. He has entered and completed every single one since then, with loads of art drawn in between. All of this dedication has paid off tremendously, as his art is now some of the best in the fandom.

    Sounds like a good person to scoop up for an interview! Head on down below the break for an artist spotlight with VanillaGhosties!





    The Interview








    Q:) How did you stumble upon My Little Pony? What was your "origin" story if you will?

    I came across “This Day Aria” on Youtube by chance and absolutely loved it, which led me to seek out more pony music. After some time, I reluctantly allowed myself to watch just one episode, which led to another, and after that I gave up trying to prevent the pony-ism from spreading and watched the whole series from the beginning.



    Q:) What is the process you usually go through when drawing something new? What tools and programs do you use?

    I think about the feeling I’m trying to convey in the picture, thumbnail some poses/compositions, and then try to capture the feeling and movement of the thumbnails in my sketch (I’ll give myself plenty of time to work on this part, as it usually determines how strong the piece will be even before the coloring). Coloring and rendering come next, and finally finishing touches. I do all my work exclusively in Photoshop, though I used SAI back when I started digital artwork.



    Q:) Do you draw professionally? Or is this a side thing to another career or job?

    I’m in school currently and drawing is just a hobby. But I’d love to do it professionally if I ever get good enough!



    Q: ) Who is your favorite pony and favorite princess? And if it's different, who is your favorite pony to draw?

    Sunset Shimmer best pony and Twilight best princess. But Rara is probably the most fun to draw :>



    Q:) What kind of challenges do you usually run into when drawing a character or subject for the first time? Has there ever been an image concept that completely stumped you?

    If the subject is a pony, I typically won’t run into any significant problems. But sketching non-pony characters gives me a lot of trouble, as I wouldn’t consider myself extremely adept at drawing, especially for subjects with challenging anatomy.
    And yes, I had a several month phase when I tried to learn humans, and I couldn’t do it to a satisfactory level. Definitely not something I could teach myself in just a few months, despite my efforts.





    Q:) In four years, you’ve gone from badly proportioned pencil ponies to one of the best artists in the fandom with a super unique and appealing style. How the hell did you manage that much progress in such a short amount of time?

    I don’t think I can consider myself one of the best, but what I have learned mostly boils down to lots of time, effort, and focus into making and practicing art. When I decided that I seriously wanted to get better, I became very conscience of how I was using my time, which meant pushing away the major time-killers (mainly video games) and replacing them with making artwork. Now the majority of my freetime goes into drawing pones/honing my craft.

    Regularly studying and imitating the artists who inspired me was an integral part in developing my style. Not solely pony artists either- a lot of techniques I’ve picked up have been from analyzing various professionals’ artwork, since I know for sure I’m learning from someone who knows their stuff (I’d highly recommend doing this as well). These habits along with always being motivated to improve just helped me to better myself artistically over time. Still got plenty to learn though~



    Q:) And to top that off, you somehow managed to clear the entire Artist Training Ground with art that looks like it would take anyone else weeks. How long does a typical piece take you to complete?

    Typically it can take anywhere from 10 - 20+ hours for a fully rendered, fleshed out piece of artwork. But with Artist Training Grounds placing a heavy emphasis on these being daily prompts, I cut out a lot of the planning time and small details. So those prompts were around 9-10~ hours each, which made it manageable to do them in only a day.



    Q:) Socks, sweaters, silly hats, swimwear, full body armor, ponies have worn it all. What is your favorite accessory to draw ponies in?

    Oh man, pony accessories are my absolute favorite. Typically, I enjoy drawing those frilly, girly type outfits with lots of flair, so probably dresses/skirts (The more extravagant, the better). I'd love to draw more swimsuits too though. And everything else I guess <: br="">
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    Q:) What do you like most about Friendship is Magic? What keeps you drawing so many awesome ponies?

    The characters, music, and humor really drew me into it. And this generation of ponies have such a loveable design that they never become boring to draw for me. More importantly though, having the opportunity to be part of a whole community of talented creators dedicated to making pony content is an amazing experience, and it persistently fuels me to keep going. It's never stopped being amazing, even after all these years.


    Q:) Do you have any tips for newbie artists looking to improve?

    Anyone can be an incredible artist. Understand what motivates you and why you draw, because that's what's gonna let you put in the time and effort it takes to hone your skills- “You get what you put in” is a perfectly accurate statement when it comes to art, and you’ll always be putting in more effort when you’re genuinely striving to reach a goal. And if you’re someone who regularly has a pretty tight schedule but still wants to improve, at least try to practice consistently. Draw everyday, even if it’s just a little bit. Try to comfortably build up the length of your drawing sessions gradually, and just keep practicing! Get motivated, study other artists, save inspiring artwork, watch/read tutorials, watch some speedpaints, study life, and develop some of your own improvement techniques too- find what works best for you. But most importantly, make sure you’re enjoying yourself- if you’re feeling real demotivated, it’s sometimes best to just take a break for a day or two. Have fun with it!

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    Q:) Why do you think My little Pony Generation 4 has been so successful? What keeps you here involved in the community?

    It’s something unique and wholesome, and it’s got so many loveable characters that everyone can enjoy. For me, as time has passed, my pony enjoyment has become more about the fandom rather than the show itself. The whole show is just ripe for fan creations of all kinds, and the aspect of community that it creates, along with how supportive and accepting everyone is, makes it a great experience to be a part of.




    The Gallery!

    [1] Source

    Graduation [ATG 2018 D30] by VanillaGhosties




    [2] Source

    Fashion Assistant by VanillaGhosties




    [3] Source

    Taking A Dip by VanillaGhosties




    [6] Source

    Almost Famous by VanillaGhosties




    [8] Source

    Pink Sunnygirl by VanillaGhosties




    [9] Source

    Hugs For A Friend by VanillaGhosties




    [10] Source

    Walking On Clouds [ATG 2018 D29] by VanillaGhosties




    [11] Source

    Pear Butter by VanillaGhosties















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