• Beautiful Lighting and Adorable Pony Style - DraconidsMXZ Artist Spolight and Interview!

    I secretly started these posts just to steal ALL the secrets. So far I've failed horribly at that, but when I study lighting, DraconidsMXZ is one of my first picks. He nails pretty much every form of it, from the bright sunny valleys, to the beautiful sunset up above.

    And to top it off, his pony style is adorable.

    Below the break, check out an interview and gallery all about his process and how he got to where he is artistically today!

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

    Back in 2015 when I was a freshman in my university, I studied very hard in order to obtain a good grade. However, the results turned out very bad. Under tons of pressure, I started my sophomore year, along with lots of responsibilities from the students' union falling on my shoulders. I felt frustrated and hopeless and I could barely keep up.

    Everything changed during the first week of October. By then I wanted to watch some TV show so that I could temporarily escape from real life problems. Then suddenly, those colorful ponies that I had seen many times on DeviantArt came to my mind. I decided to give it a try – and then I just got addicted to them. I finished watching all the available episodes then (seasons 1-5) in two weeks.

    Since then, every time I thought about them, I'd feel warm inside. Ponies taught me to be optimistic, gave me strength and helped me get through the most difficult part of my university life. At the end of sophomore year, I got incredibly good grades. Without ponies, I don’t think I could have made it happen. That was how ponies became part of my life.

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

    I will look for references. References are extremely important to me.

    I just keep in mind with a lot of artists whose art styles may inspire me in certain ways. For example, Huussii for sceneries, NowISee for colors, Imalou for rendering, etc. And of course, besides pony artists, there are lots and lots of good artists on the internet who also inspired me, and I keep them in mind too.

    My tablet is a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. I used to sketch a lot with Paint Tool SAI, but now I prefer doing it with my iPad. Coloring is done in Photoshop.

    Q:) How did you learn to draw? What age did you start and what path did you take to get to where you are today?

    I've loved art and graphic designing since I was young, but I barely had time for practicing. Since I entered the community, I always wanted to express my feelings about ponies. I had seen many beautiful artworks and I was like: Oh my gosh, I wish I could draw something like those one day! So, I simply began to draw at the end of 2015. I started by emulating the artworks I liked, and gradually moved on to doing it in my original style. I posted my very first artwork on DeviantArt in January 2016 and people liked it! Such feelings of accomplishment and enthusiasm are what motivated me to keep drawing till this day.

    I didn't have time for art school, so I spent my free time to teach myself: looking for tutorials of drawing, watching artists' time-lapse videos, drawing, asking for critics and drawing more! ^ ^

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

    It’s just a hobby. And unfortunately, what I major in university right now has nothing to do with it :<

    Drawing is for entertaining myself, like playing video games. Sometimes I may sit down and draw for a whole day, forgetting about eating altogether.

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

    Starlight. She is very capable and sometimes a little bit “evil”. I wish I could see more episodes of her being a villain. And I really like her personality (and her voice too). However, I prefer Rainbow Dash when it comes to drawing: I really love her color scheme, especially the combination of red, orange and yellow on her head!

    As for the princesses, I don’t have any preference. But if I must pick one, I will probably choose... Princess Luna?

    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?

    For me, I would say it's the coloring. I’m not very good at it. Ponies are colorful, and so to make them naturally fitted in an artwork has always posed a great challenge to me. Every time when I’m looking for references, most of the time is spent on finding the appropriate colors. Things could get even trickier if two ponies' color patterns are not very compatible (for instance, red & black vs. white and blue). However, I've always tried my best to make the final work comfortable-looking.

    Q:) Your style is so smooth. Did someone influence the direction your abilities went? Or did this just develop naturally?

    Thanks, and yes, there have been so many role models for me. And depending on the different stages of my learning process, I've learned from different artists.

    From the very beginning, when I was learning the basic stuff, like shading or how to make my ponies look real, I'd usually go to watch Tsitra360 or AssasinMonkey’s livestreams, and I'd learned quite a lot from them! This helped me build my basic drawing style. But at that stage, my understanding of pony anatomy was still superficial – I could only imagine it as the combination of some basic geometric shapes. So in order to improve that, I turned to learn from Hioshiru's and Yakovlev-vad's artworks. My pony anatomy and proportions have then gradually become what it’s like right now.

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

    In most of my artworks, they are naked. And I do prefer this form because I really like to show the beautiful body curves of ponies.

    If I have to choose some accessories, I would say goggles and headphones. Because they are cool!

    Q:) What do you like most about Friendship is Magic? What keeps you drawing so many awesome ponies?

    Ponies are cute and charming. That’s enough reason for me to begin with.

    As for what keeps me drawing, one reason is that I really like drawing and I want to become a good artist. Moreover, receiving positive feedback really makes my heart flutter. However, people get lazy sometimes, especially for me who just takes drawing as a hobby. Fortunately, I have friends who are also awesome artists. Seeing their new artworks, knowing that they have made more improvement really stimulates me to overcome my laziness. Kind of like peer pressure, I guess?

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

    Just keep drawing! Know what your weaknesses are, and try to make some improvement. On one hand, it's way too normal to feel frustrated during the drawing process, because it means you are tackling something new or that you are not good at, and eventually you will make some progress! On the other hand, if everything goes too well, you may need to stay cautious because it’s possible that you have already trapped yourself in your comfort zone.

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

    The show brought me into the community, and the community itself kept me being involved.

    The show is great and I love it. However, this passion could never have lasted this long without the community. Thanks to this show, I have met lots of new friends from all over the world, and I have done lots of things for the very first time: drawing, paper cutting, translating, making PMVs, vending at conventions… These are the things I could never have imagined I'd be doing 3 years ago. There have been so many wonderful experiences for me, and there will be more to come in the future – there's just no way that I'm gonna let these slip by! ;)

    Since this is the final question. I would like to thank Equestria Daily for giving me this chance to be here and also TNBi Pwny for proofreading my answers.

    And most importantly, thank YOU for reading this! ^ ^

    The Gallery!

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    With Starlight by DraconidsMXZ

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    Insects awaken by DraconidsMXZ

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    Derpy's Sunday Afternoon by DraconidsMXZ

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    Prance And Party Convention Guide Book Cover by DraconidsMXZ

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    Request: Sunset by DraconidsMXZ

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    I'm pancake by DraconidsMXZ

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    Night by DraconidsMXZ

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    Request by DraconidsMXZ

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