• He Disappeared For a While, But His Adorable Style is Back! - Artist Spotlight and Interview with Bugplayer

    Way back around 2013, a new artist hit the pony scene and very rapidly improved from basic flat vectory art to one of the most adorable and recognizable styles in the fandom! Bugplayer has been pumping out ponies for most of this pony thing's life, decking them out in cute sweaters and fluffy socks every chancce he had. It was a glorious time for pony!

    Unfortunately a few years ago he disappeared and many were left wondering where he went. The good news is he's back and better than ever with a bit of professional art school under his belt and more drawings for us to check out from his pony hiatus!

    Today, we interview him, and celebrate his return with an artist spotlight. A post series I've wanted to revive for a while now. Head on down below to check it all out!

    The Interview 

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

    If I remember correctly it was back when the first season was just about to end, or maybe it was when the second season was just starting. Nonetheless it was back in 2011. It was super weird at first, but I wasn’t the kind of person to judge something by its cover so I gave it a big shot and then it got under my skin (in a good way) before I knew it.
    I tried sharing it with my friends but oh boy it wasn’t their kind of thing. My first contact with the community was mainly our region’s Facebook group, Quebec Bronies. I got to meet a lot of wonderful people, from online chatting to meetups. The best of all is that the people I cherish the most today almost all come from that group. We’ve all moved on from the community and the show since then, but without it I probably would have never met them!



    Q:) You have been gone for a while, what have you been up to?

    Even though I stopped giving almost any signs of life since 2019, I still kept drawing every now and then on my own. It was mostly anatomy study and stuff I never got to finish. I even went to art school a bit, and discovered how little I actually knew about art (but doesn’t this always happen when you go to school to learn more about your hobbies?) I got to learn a lot about perspective, draw live models and try a bunch of different mediums when it comes to art.

    I don’t go to school anymore though, it was pretty expensive and even though I liked the professionalism, I don’t feel like I learned much more than I would have by being more focused at home instead and checking stuff online instead.

    I won’t get into much details about all the reasons why I stopped posting my stuff, but I guess it was partly being unsatisfied with my art, I didn’t really get the same feeling of satisfaction anymore. I’m sure there’s tons of artists who also go through that phase when it comes to their content in general, which is a shame really. And even though ponies were always fun to draw, I want to try new things, characters and universes from now on. 


    Q:) How are you liking Generation 5 so far?

    Unfortunately I didn’t watch it or think I will, I already have so much backlogged stuff to watch and I’m not really that interested anyway. From the clips I’ve seen there and here, even though it doesn’t necessarily have the same old charm that we had with G4, I’m sure it’s an opportunity to start fresh and spark some new ideas and adventures instead of being tied to the previous generation of characters. I’m the kind of person who prefers 2D animation due to its simplicity and charm, but I’m sure there’s a lot of people who are digging the new aspect of 3D.


    Q:) What is your absolute favorite piece of art that you have drawn?

    It’s a tough choice. There’s a few I really like but I’d say it’s this one here. I never was a big fan of drawing backgrounds due to being terrible at them (and believe me I still am). Instead I always prefer focusing more on the character itself. I often spend too much time on shading and it often doesn’t turn out better than using only a few hues and simpler shadows, and this one is a good exemple I like to remember. I also just adore the irony of Flutter listening to Death Metal and it’s one of the funniest and adorable thing in the world for me. 


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

    I use Photoshop CS6 and Paint Tool Sai. Back in the day I would use Photoshop CS6 exclusively, but I found out that Sai was much less heavy of a program and also way less bloated with features you don’t need for drawing alone. The blending and stabilizer options of Sai are pretty practical too, however I still use Photoshop for finishing effects.

    When thinking of something new now-days, it can be a character from a show/video game I played/watched recently, or a character I just love in general (looking at you Midna)
    Otherwise, I draw what randomly does through my head. ‘’I feel like drawing a pony drinking coffee’’ for exemple.


    Q:) How long does your typical pony drawing take to make from sketch to completion?

    My drawing process is a bit all over the place to be perfectly honest with you so it’s in no way an effective way to do things. Personally I tend to spread out a sketch on a couple of days, so I can have a fresh eye on it the day after, and I usually don’t start the lineart until I’m fully satisfied with it. Then the boring process of line art follows, once it’s done I lay out the base colors, separate layers for skin, hair, clothes and accessories. Then I try to put down a first layer of shading to define the main shadows and work my way from there. And sometimes, through blood and tears I end up with something I like and look somewhat decent. Overall a drawing can end up taking 7-8 hours spread out on a few days. I’m pretty slow, so praise these Let’s Plays on YouTube.


    Q:) Do you still use references for your art? Or have you gotten to a point where you can draw from memory?

    I always use references. It can simply be a couple of pictures from the first results on Google of the character I’m drawing, where I can see all the main features and colors clearly, or anatomy references like hands, expressions. etc. Even on characters I’ve drawn a dozen times I would still have one of their classic poses on the side, just to have something to rely my brain on.


    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?

    Back in 2011, the community didn’t appeal much to me at first, or rather I wasn’t even aware there was an active one until a few months after I got into the show. The content creators were at full throttle already even though the show was so fresh, whether it was music, animations, artworks and whatnot. All this work people were putting out got me interested into creating my own stuff. So I got myself a very basic Wacom Bamboo tablet and started drawing to try it out. I definitely was completely and utterly terrible at first, as everybody is. But I was having fun so I just kept going and after stumbling my way through tutorials, speedpaints and failures I eventually got somewhat decent at it through the years


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

    Right now it’s definitely a side thing that I do when I feel like it. Maybe one day I’ll end up drawing enough to be my full time job but not for the moment.


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

    Based on my previous work it’s pretty easy to guess. Flutter and Twi were my go to when I wanted to draw something. I would draw other characters every now and then but I would never get tired of these two.



    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?

    The main challenge when drawing a new character is to get their unique feature just right. If you draw a character that has a bunch of accessories like daggers, belts, jewelry, it’s easy to miss some details. And while it’s not the end of the world and you can often draw them with some core features missing, it’s something you gotta pay attention to. I swear I definitely never drew unicorns without their horns.



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

    I always loved drawing ponies in sweaters, they always seemed so warm and cozy in them. But my favorite was giving them earbuds and MP3 players and having them listen to different genres. From Progressive Rock to Death Metal, you don’t know what ponies could be listening to in their spare time. They also all seemed to enjoy drinking coffee oddly enough. I do too.


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

    I know it may sound like an unsatisfactory answer but the characters themselves are what kept me going. Near the end I was still drawing even though I wasn’t watching the show anymore. Their personalities alone were all that I needed to activate the good neurons. It’s one of these things that even if you don’t follow the series, the characters are still stuck in your head. And of course, sharing what I created with people was a big part of what kept me going. When I was selling my own stuff at Bronycon 2018, meeting all these people saying how they liked my stuff probably was the most fulfilling weekend of my entire life c:


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

    I’d say the most important thing is to have fun and not set the bar too high. Check out some tutorials or speedpaints on YouTube and take your time to not rush the fundamentals. Learn at your own pace and start simple. Try to get the proportions down and don’t go overboard with the details at first. Remember to praise the beans! Even though they’re delicious, they make fantastic shapes when you’re drawing your sketch. 

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

    To me, G4 managed to shine compared to its predecessors due to its unique and well fleshed out characters. With the combination of smooth animations and charming universe, the characters really felt like they were ‘’alive’’ in a sense and had lives on their own. They all had their virtues and flaws, and with the fantastic work of their voice actors added on top and the wonderful work of Daniel Ingram, it all mixed up into a delicious rainbow milkshake.

    And I mentioned it earlier as well, but the amount of quality content people were putting out is mainly what kept me interested in the community. I’ve also met wonderful amazing people in my journey and made memories I won’t forget too.

    And to close things up, I started posting again on Devianart and Twitter, so if you want to see where I’ll be heading from now come pay me a visit! I won’t necessarily be posting everyday, but I will be posting more suggestive stuff than I did in the past so just giving you a heads up on that just in case.

    Mini Gallery! 

    [1] Source
    Bird Bath by Bugplayer on Deviantart

    [3] Source
    Flutter Shutter by Bugplayer on Deviantart

    [4] Source
    Octavarium by Bugplayer on Deviantart

    [5] Source
    Comfort Winter by Bugplayer on Deviantart

    [6] Source
    Hug life by Bugplayer on Deviantart

    [7] Source
    Changeling wrath by Bugplayer on Deviantart

    [8] Source
    The book head corner by Bugplayer on Deviantart

    [9] Source
    Fluttery Day by Bugplayer on Deviantart

    [10] Source
    Thank you by Bugplayer on Deviantart

    For more art, check out Bugplayer over on Deviant Art here, or Twitter here!