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  Ponies at Dawn: Guardians (11th Album) [OUT NOW!]

No Replies
03/07/2017 11:59 PM

Hey everypony!

Ponies at Dawn are proud to announce the release of their 11th album – Guardians! It's been months in the making, featuring 65 new tracks from Australian artists such as @ExplodingPonyToast @ThatMusicBrony, @silvernote, @LutariFan, @francisvace and DJT.

You can download the album HERE!
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  Ponies at Dawn: Amity (10th Album) [OUT NOW!]

14/01/2017 09:28 PM

Hey everypony!

Ponies at Dawn are proud to announce the release of their 10th album – Amity! It's been months in the making, featuring 57 new tracks from Australian artists such as @ExplodingPonyToast @ThatMusicBrony, @silvernote, @LutariFan and @replacer (from NZ).

You can download the album HERE!
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  Great Southern Swag #10

14/01/2017 08:35 PM
Posted by Explonova

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Yo! Explonova here for your infrequent dose of homegrown MLP art analysis, however this particular article marks the tenth instalment of Great Southern Swag! To celebrate this milestone we have our very own brsajo as our featured artist, and so I shall take great pleasure in presenting some of his work.

Electro Swing Says "Hi":
[Image: electro_swing_says_hi_by_brsajo_dafbzy2.png]

This digital vector is quite appealing, perhaps due to the harmonic placement of figurative elements. You can see that the subject in this particular work contains a certain amount of rhythm and harmony, specifically when bringing one's attention to all but one leg sharing the same position. This seems to imply that Electro Swing had suddenly skidded to a halt, with only having noticed the viewer as evidenced through the engaging gaze. To counter the implied latent energy indicated by the pose through leg placement, brsajo has craned Electro Swing's neck and had simultaneously swung the head sideward.

When combining the turned neck and the sideward glance, such posing and placement creates dynamism, whilst retaining a level of gracefulness through repetition and rhythm. As highlighted before, Electro Swing's legs almost unanimously point toward the lower left of the picture plane, yet in contrast the pair of ears and horn all seem to project to the upper right corner of the picture plane. This diametrically opposed set of compositional figurative elements create a zig-zag, or lightning bolt rhythm through the subject's structure which is a theme reinforced through Electro Swing's cutie mark.

Hay Pinkie:
[Image: hay_pinkie_by_brsajo_da5xoiv.png]

Hay Pinkie is another digital vector work, but this time with a bit more added complexity. Instead of just a lone figure in a void like the above work, this digital vector has a salmon pink backdrop and a foreground element in the form of a hayburger. The salmon pink backdrop is an interesting tool which bridges the localised colour of Pinkie Pie's figure with that of the greens and browns of the burger. Yet even more complexity is present with the inclusion of text and dialogue in a comic style speech bubble hovering over the hayburger, which cements a connection between the figure and foreground object.

What I enjoy most about this work is the use of colour and line. The combination of the darker magenta outline of Pinkie's mane and tail with a lighter alizarin pink filling is similar to that of the colours used for a show-accurate Pinkie Pie, but the range of thickness between outlines varies much more greatly. In particular, the section of tail outlines which are closest to the right edge of the image provides a lot of richness to the image. Yet brsajo parts ways with the show's style in terms of colour when bringing one's attention to Pinkie's eyes, particularly her eyelashes which share the same hue as her coat outline. The decision to exclude the use of black from the eyelashes persists on through the treatment of the pupil, which seems to be cerulean blue instead of black; and when paired with thick pink eyelashes, the two blocks of colour resonate in a beautiful way.

Aurora Australis:
[Image: aurora_australis_coloured_by_brsajo_d9s6s1p.png]

This final image is a traditional pencil drawing of BAu's very own Aurora Australis. In this work brsajo has introduced black in outlines and eyelashes, but that's not the only thing that has changed. By observing the order of the works which presented here, one may notice an incremental shift of muzzle style. Aurora Australis in this drawing has an extremely pronounced muzzle which is one of the most unique i've ever seen in my few years of observing MLP art. Both nostrils are incredibly far apart, and the width of the nasal ridge takes up the majority of the total face length.

This interesting form of the muzzle is the most apparent stylistic departure from generation 4 MLP design, but apart from the the size of the muzzle, what interests me are the components of the anatomy which the subject is comprised of. From an abstract perspective these formal components are shaped and arranged in a very interesting way. One possible interpretation of isolating these forms could be read by viewing the tip of Aurora Australis' muzzle as the closest point, then by moving one's gaze downward and past the mouth, and through to the eyes in a spiral trajectory, since the rest of the subject's face is set deeper into the picture plane. When additional components are added to the mix by overlapping forms such as the mane or ear, there manifests an interesting relationship between the viewer and perceived depth in the image.

If you're interested in looking at more of brsajo's work you can check his deviantart.

That's it for this issue of Great Southern Swag. If you know of any underrated Australian Brony artists/ craftspeople or happen to be one yourself, send me a private message and we can arrange to write a future article on your chosen artist!

Want to read reviews on new episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic? Make your way to Riku Reviews.

  Great Southern Swag #9

No Replies
20/12/2016 07:33 PM
Posted by Explonova

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Howdy Bronies Australia. It's been a while but i'm here today with another artist to feature on the Great Southern Swag. We're going to have a look at a couple works on paper and a digital painting by the talented gummigator:

inktober day 3: pinkie pie:
[Image: inktober_day_3_pinkie_pie_by_gummigator_dajy6c.jpg]

This ink drawing of Pinkie Pie is wonderfully composed on the page, as it dominates the picture plane without suffocating the space. It was a very clever decision to place Pinkie diagonally which adds drama and excitement to her pose, and it is very fitting for the pink party pony. The viewer's eye is encouraged to stay and explore the space within the confines of the page as there are enough points of interest to engage the viewer without being too busy and overwhelming. A strong rhythmic quality of the figure's pose features a stretched and compressed variety of both front and hind legs respectively, adding much more dynamism and energy.

Despite being a line drawing, there is a surprising amount of depth that is created. One aspect of created depth can be attributed to the use of overlapping forms, for instance the frontal section of Pinkie Pie's mane advances outwards of the space from her main body. In contrast Pinkie's tail is set further into the picture plane, illustrating its place very convincingly, but perhaps less obvious is the bulge of the torso which advances toward us when compared to her legs which are set deeper into pictorial space.

The application of ink as a medium is well very well controlled, and the varying quality of line results in illusory space and volume. Also using the artist's hand as reference the scale of this drawing is quite small, which demands an even steadier hand for the control of varied line in this drawing. In addition to the varying thickness of line, the articulation and graceful curvature of the line is amazingly attractive. In particular the arching negative space between Pinkie's hind legs, and also the curls at the end of her mane and tail invite the viewer to continue to follow their implied path, as these visual devices function as aesthetically pleasing passages.

[Image: rarity_by_gummigator_d87o010.jpg]

Again gummigator shows her great eye for composition by placing Rarity slightly off-centre in this digital artwork, avoiding the all-too-common mistake of centring the image. The volume of Rarity's hair necessitates extra room on the top right section of the picture plane, but is also used as a device to allow for extra breathing space on the lower right side of the image to accompany space with her body. It is this constant balance between form and void, positive and negative space or yin and yang that gummigator has an experienced grasp of.

The naturalistic balance and shift in weight of Rarity's pose really convinces the viewer of her 'realness' despite still being drawn in an exaggerated or heavily stylised manner. Her left shoulder is raised and to compensate her right shoulder is angled downward to match. To compliment this tilt in the shoulders, Rarity's hips are tilted downward to the left which would typically result in a balance of expansion and compression the torso. However, since Rarity is wearing a thick jumper this effect is abstracted or hidden by the clothing, but if it weren't hidden the focal point of Rarity's face would not have the same impact.

What really sells this image is Rarity's gaze which directly engages the viewer through eye contact and her tilted head. From these two main clues its possible to interpret that Rarity has been expecting the viewer, or listening patiently to them in a conversation with a small, yet warm smile. The inclusion of the takeaway paper cup also shows hat this encounter may have been unplanned, or otherwise she would have been seated in a café with a ceramic cup instead. I think that it is pretty fitting for the element of Generosity to take the time to listen to somebody despite being in a rush and ordering a take away coffee.

aria blaze:
[Image: aria_blaze_by_gummigator_d848vqd.jpg]

We return to another traditional ink drawing, this time with coloured copic markers. One may notice the mostly homogeneous blocks of colour for each piece of clothing, which is especially interesting since copic markers are renowned for their blending and mixing capabilities. The rendered treatment of Aria's hair stands a a counterpoint to the flatter colouration of Aria's other components to great effect, with their sharp highlights and deep shadows. This contrast encourages the viewer's gaze to focus on Aria's face as the hair frames around it.

Another interesting feature of the figure here is the execution of the fingers and hands. The length and shape of the fingers are not that varied, and this conformity of finger shape and length gives Aria a chibi/ or child like characteristic. Yet the tapering or narrowing of the individual fingers give them a certain feminine delicateness which adds complexity to an otherwise simplistic style. This tapering motif is also repeated in not just the fingers, but also the negative space between Aria's legs, the spaces between the bangs of her hair and also the star ornamentation on her belt and head.

If you're interested in looking at more of gummigator's work you can check her deviantart or her tumblr.

That's it for this issue of Great Southern Swag. If you know of any underrated Australian Brony artists/ craftspeople or happen to be one yourself, send me a private message and we can arrange to write a future article on your chosen artist!

Want to read reviews on new episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic? Make your way to Riku Reviews.

  Ponies at Dawn: Voyager (9th Album) [OUT NOW!]

27/10/2016 11:36 AM

Hey everypony!

Ponies at Dawn are proud to announce the release of their 9th album – Voyager! It's been months in the making, featuring 58 new tracks from Australian artists such as @ExplodingPonyToast , @ThatMusicBrony, @EnsionD, @francisvace , @reverbrony, @Itchigotchi, @silvernote, @LutariFan and @replacer (from NZ).

You can download the album HERE!
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  Great Southern Swag: Issue #8

No Replies
01/07/2016 06:57 PM
Posted by Explonova

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Greetings Bronies Australia. Apologies for the hiatus, but I’m finally here with another new issue of Great Southern Swag. Today’s artist is Crimson Mane, and I had the pleasure of speaking with her earlier.

Spoiler: Interview with Crimson Mane
[Nova]: Thank you so much Crimson Mane for taking part in this interview and for allowing me to write about your work.

[CM]: You’re welcome!

Thankyou for having me, I really appreciate the support. Smile

[Nova]:You’ve been on DeviantArt since February 14th 2004 with 566 Deviations and 2,285 watchers. Very impressive, indeed. You’re facebook page says that Crimson Mane Creations was established since October 17th in 1982. Could you please tell us about your experience regarding your creative career?

[CM]: I did indeed start on DeviantART in 2004, which seems so long ago now! I’d always loved drawing so it seemed like the perfect website to me, to upload my work and interact with other artists and fans of animation. Finally, a place where I could talk to people who liked the same stuff as me! But over the years I’ve fallen out of love with the place and have moved on. Now I am mostly active on my Facebook page, Instagram and Etsy. I’ve been active on those sites for about 2 – 3 years (not sure why it says my business was established on October 17th in 1982 as that’s my date of birth – I will have to look into that!) My experience so far has been wonderful, but not without its challenges. I started by simply doing commission work but in such an oversaturated marketplace like dA it’s really hard to get noticed, so I moved to a field that was not so crowded but still in demand. It was expensive and stressful, but paid off in the end.

[Nova]: How has the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic impacted on you as a fan, and also as an illustrator and designer?

[CM]: I discovered My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic a little later than most, which was just before season 3 started. I tuned in to see what all the fuss was about and ended up binge watching the entire first season. Having been a HUGE fan of MLP gen 1 as a child I wasn’t too sure about the style at first, but soon enough I was entertained by the plot with its diverse characters and artistically inspired by the style. I’ve always been a fan of cute things, bright colours, fantasy and horses… so the show definitely appealed to me and still does!

[Nova]: Who in your opinion is Best Pony?

[CM]: Fluttershy, but Luna is pretty close.

[Nova]: So apart from ponies, you also have a particular fondness for Corgis. When and how did you fall in love with them, and could you also tell us about how you met your pet, MissJiff?

[CM]: Oh yes, when I’m not fawning over ponies I am usually wandering around Youtube watching corgi videos and I have no regrets! I fell in love with the breed about 4 years ago. My partner and I had our hearts set on getting a puppy and I’d always thought corgis to be cute, so I researched them further and fell in love. I contacted several breeders and eventually found a litter of cardigan corgis, and one of the puppies was MissJiff. We took her home and she’s been our beloved furbaby ever since. She’s nice company during the day as I work from home, and doesn’t complain or make much noise. She just likes to be with me and vice versa. Smile

[Nova]: Could you please tell us about your 3D printing services, cookie cutter designs and glass engraving?

[CM]: My 3D printing services mostly consist of cookie cutters and custom designs. People often approach me wanting their business logo or a certain character made into a cookie cutter, which I always enjoy doing. My favourite customers are MLP fans (always the nicest!) who ask me to make their OC ponies into cookie cutters. My prices vary depending if you can supply the artwork or if you need me to draw it for you, but it’s always fun and I love seeing how creative some people can be with their designs. I can also print entire OC ponies in any pose, and I’ve had some fun painting the “design a pony” range into fun things like my own OC/mascot and Batpony. I also make party cannons that really work, and they’ve always been popular at conventions.

The glass engravings are my own designs and are usually hand engraved with a rotary tool, but I have started doing a lot of simpler designs by sand blasting. I find it gives a smoother finish but I still need to do some work by hand for the more intricate designs. I have a lot of MLP designs that haven’t been uploaded to my page yet so keep an eye out for them, and I can also take custom orders.
On top of all that I also draw/design pop culture themed artwork and print them onto t-shirts. Another service I offer is commission artwork which I can also print onto a t-shirt for you.

[Nova]: Do you have any tips for aspiring artists, illustrators and designers?

[CM]: I would say just have fun and be yourself. If you enjoy your work it will show and being an artist is something that you need to enjoy. You need to stand out from the crowd, so make your work unique. If somebody tells you they love your style, treasure that as one of the best compliments you can ever have. Being unique and having your own style is a true asset. Don’t be afraid to try new things and keep practicing and experimenting. Artists should never stop learning.

[Nova]: Thank you so much Crimson Mane, for taking part in this interview.

[CM]: Very welcome! Thankyou for having me. /)

[Nova]: (\

Let’s take a look at some of Crimson Mane's work:

Mane 6 Cutters
[Image: mane_6_cutters_by_crimson_mane_d8x91g9.png]

It is an established fact that ponies are cute, and some would even go so far as to say that they could just eat them right up. Now you can! Here we have Crimson Mane's designs of cookie cutters for each of the mane six and they're colour coded too. Although each of the girls are quite easily discernible in their cookie cutter representations, the colour coding is a well considered feature, just in case a cookie chef hasn't the time to organise the rest of their horde of adorable cookie cutters. One can imagine it to be very helpful when fumbling over utensils with a very real case of butter fingers.

Speaking of butter, the characters and corresponding colours of the Mane 6 Cutters could give ideas for ingredients used for different cookie recipes. Apple and Oats for Applejack, Marshmallow for Rarity, Banana Chocolate Chip for Fluttershy, Skittles for Rainbow Dash, Strawberry for Pinkie Pie and Magical Popping Candy for Twilight perhaps. Each of the mane six are depicted in a fashion which is accurate to how they are depicted in the show, both in terms of the art style and their poses effectively encapsulating their character.

Sweet Apple Acres Cider Glasses
[Image: sweet_apple_acres_cider_glasses_by_crimson_mane.png]

If the Apple family business ever decides to go big and export their famous cider, this would be a convincing example of what their branding would look like. The design on these glasses effectively allude to the rich history of Sweet Apple Acres and the Apple family tradition. Of course this is literally inscribed as the logo's text, but the inclusion of a scroll or ribbon as a surface for the text gives a historical and nostalgic feel. A ribbon could be interpreted as a sign of success through a prize-winning product, and a scroll could act as a symbol of experience and stability over a long period of time. In addition the use of a scroll on imagery can be traced back to medieval times with heraldry, where family legacy is also of great importance.

A hint of the landscape is also featured on the design as it is important as a reinforcement of the notion of longstanding tradition. If you're familiar with the history of Ponyville you'd probably aware of the fact that Ponyville was founded by the ancestors of the Apple Family through commerce and farming prospects. By including a depiction of Sweet Apple Acres, not only does the consumer get an idea of where the ingredients are sourced, but a local consumer would piece together the significant relationship between the Apple Family, the product and their town.

Alicorn Princess Glass Set
[Image: mlp_fim_alicorn_princess_glass_set_by_crimson_ma.png]

Now there's an excuse to drink all day from dawn 'til dusk, simply by giving a toast to your favourite pony princesses with these Alicorn Princess Glasses. Alternatively, if it's too hardcore to start celebratory toasts in the morning, i'm sure it would be acceptable to praise the sun with a ceremonial glass of freshly squeezed orange juice instead. Or if the schedule of your beverage consumption is not consistent, perhaps a drink with a loved one using the Cadence design will grant you both truth, goodness and beauty in the rest of your time together.

It is worthy to note that all the Princesses have a slightly bowed head facing in the same direction with both eyes shut. What could possibly cause these princesses to bow to the common folk? Perhaps their humble and peaceful appearance ought to be reflected as it is on the glass. Could it be that this serves as a didactic element in which to remind the consumer to drink with reverence? Or perhaps the Princesses are pleading with us to drink responsibility as they are concerned for our well-being?

If you're interested in Crimson Mane's Cookie Cutters, or are interested in anything else, have a look at her Etsy Store or send her a message on her facebook page.

That's it for this issue of Great Southern Swag. If you know of any underrated Australian Brony artists/ craftspeople or happen to be one yourself, send me a private message and we can arrange to write a future article on your chosen artist!

Want to read reviews on new episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic? Make your way to Riku Reviews.

  Great Southern Swag 07 - New Music, VIVCAST, and IBAIP Turns One

No Replies
13/05/2016 03:53 PM
Posted by Tee Kay

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G'day! TK here with a roundup of selected new/new-ish Australian brony fan music and videos in this issue Cheer

First up, a note on what's happening with this Great Southern Swag column. As you may notice @Explonova wrote the last two issues and he'll be writing more in-depth art articles or interviews, with myself or @WonderingWolf reporting on new fan music and videos. We're aiming to make this a weekly column, 'cause there's a lot of homegrown talent out there that deserves more love, and we want to put more under spotlight.

Also check out reviews of new episodes by @Riku006 in the appropriately-titled Riku Reviews

But for now let's dig into this issue!

New videos from Immatoonlink

So Immatoonlink aka @Viva has been quite active. His current ongoing thing is VIVCAST, a sort of regular vlog he's been doing on various stuff for about the past couple of months, mostly on miscellaneous non-pony nerdy topics. For pony stuff, there's VIVCAST RED, commentaries on Season 6 episodes as they come out.

Finally, A Serpent's Tale. This was done back in late March, it's a mini-episode done in collaboration with a whole bunch of people, click the link. It's wonderfully silly.

New songs from Reverbrony

@reverbrony from Western Australia releases something every couple of weeks or so, and he's quite a versatile musician. His music ranges from piano instrumentals to rock to heavy metal, so whatever your taste, his channel probably has something you'd love.

His latest song is a collab with BriLizyT, telling the tale of a brooding changling queen. Enjoy!

New songs from ExplodingPonyToast

Time for an electronic music interlude; here's the opening track from the new Ponies At Dawn album, Awakening, now available here, from @ExplodingPonyToast, a collab with @LutariFan and @ThatMusicBrony.

New songs from Francis Vace and Itchigotchi

Here's a Twilicious song also from the new Ponies At Dawn album by @Itchigotchi and @francisvace

Francis Vace's channel is quite active and there's not just pony music on there. Lately he's released a few Steven Universe fan music, like this one, also featuring Itchigotchi.

And because ska and Zootopia are two of my favourite things, I have to put this here.

I'm Brony and I'm Proud

This show has recently celebrated its one year anniversary. For those who are not aware, IBAIP is a podcast based in Melbourne and hosted by Lucky Knight (who also contributes to Australian Bronies React). There's a new episode roughly every month featuring an interview with a special guest, usually a prominent brony creator. Past guests include FritzyBeat, Aviators, and Shadyvox. The latest episode was released last week, with special guest Mr Rottson aka Deadninja21, a young budding artist from the States.

And that's it from me for this issue. Got any artist or musician or creator you want us to showcase here, send a PM or comment below.

Until next time, TK signing out Cheer

  Ponies at Dawn: Awakening (8th Album) & Snowfall (7th Album) [OUT NOW!]

30/04/2016 01:21 PM

Hey everypony!

Ponies at Dawn are proud to announce the release of our 8th album – Awakening! It's been months in the making, featuring 54 new tracks from Australian artists such as @ExplodingPonyToast, @ThatMusicBrony, @EnsionD, @francisvace, @reverbrony, @Itchigotchi, @silvernote, Dragonal and @replacer (from NZ). It also features tracks of many others!

You can download the album HERE!

[Image: a1633788472_16.jpg]

Ponies at Dawn are also proud to announce the release of our 7th album – Snowfall! Which came out December 2015, missed this one sorry.

It features 34 new tracks from Australian artists such as @ExplodingPonyToast, @Itchigotchi, @francisvace and @replacer (from NZ).

You can download the album HERE!

[Image: a3451687585_10.jpg]

The albums are available from their bandcamp for whatever price you'd like to pay (including $0). Please consider donating something to the albums as proceeds go towards the musicians who make these amazing songs.

Follow on SoundCloud:
Follow on Twitter:

Many Thanks,
On behalf of EPT & The Ponies at Dawn Team

  Great Southern Swag: Issue #6

No Replies
24/04/2016 10:59 PM
Posted by Explonova

[Image: DP8_NAl_O.png]

Hello everypony! In this issue of Great Southern Swag we have another fantastic artist who I have the pleasure of writing about today. She is the artist who produced the fantastic banner for the BAu website, and is an active contributor to the art forums. It is none other than Inkblu.

Inkblu is currently working on an original webcomic, which draws inspiration from My Little Pony amongst other things. Here is a little more about it from her:

Spoiler: Interview with Inkblu on her new comic called, Nerio
[Nova]: When did you get the idea for creating a story in a web comic format?

[Inky]: So the webcomic is actually being done as a school project with very little parameters! I toyed with the idea of a children's storybook (with a different plot and cast entirely, aimed at around 5 year olds which I still might finish), but then realized I didn't want to deal with publishers. So, this is a fun way of getting my work out there, creating something fun, and all the while (hopefully) getting some good grades!

[Nova]: So your web comic takes place in Reef City, an underwater metropolis. Would you please give us a little insight into the atmosphere and ethos of Reef City?

[Inky]: Reef City is the biggest coral reef construction in the known seas, home to a variety of colourful creatures. It's basically the 'New York' of the oceans- very busy and bustling, always something going on. I wanted to create a very alien looking city- so the city is divided into tiers, and instead of spreading out horizontal like land cities, it's more of a big tower with spars that have coral resting on them. A lot of inspiration for the individual buildings was based on a lot of concept art for Zootopia. The city itself has 'levels'- the ones nearer the surface are more expensive, which leads to a lot of the poorer population living in the darker shadows of the Spire... the shadier areas of the city are literally the 'shadier' areas of the city. Wink

[Nova]: The main protagonist is a merperson called Nerio. Could you tell us about Nerio's personality, and how Nerio fits into the world of Reef City?

[Inky]: Here's the bio I have currently for our little protagonist, which will be put up on the website ion the coming weeks:

"Nerio is a child born of two very different cultures. They are very shy, and scared of deep water even though their physiology means they are more comfortable living there. They had a reasonably good childhood, living with their father in Reef City's third tier (meaning their family is middle-class), but were unable to make friends due to their deep-sea physiology. During their Primary Education, they were bullied severely and this permanently damaged their self-esteem issues. They have a healthy relationship with their father Tomas, but are often at odds due to Tomas' insistent nature, even though he only wants the best for his child. Nerio's Secondary Education years were less turbulent: softly spoken, they would calmly do the minimum amount of work while never contributing to the conversation. Nerio is scared of the dark in general, and has no idea how to use their bioluminescent patches... if they even work, that is. "

So Nerio is a character I've always really wanted include in something- the shy and socially awkward forced to rise beyond their low self-esteem for the better. They're very much based on my own life experiences, which helps me to write the character better and hopefully this will make them a much more realistic character to the reader. However, they are in no way a self-insert; there's a difference between basing a character on someone and actually being them, mind you. Wink

The story begins with somewhat of a graduation ceremony for not only Nerio, but their whole class. Each student applies for a job, almost like an apprenticeship for when they leave Secondary Education and venture out into the world. Nerio, whose grades have always been quite average and with no inclinations to any particular field, is unwittingly signed up for every single one. As such, they are forced into a not-so-common job; the job of Guardian. Guardians are expected to take care of any hands-on emergencies that may happen, not so much a cop but more of a rescue worker. Through the first arc we see more of the shenanigans that happen with this job and how this has big repercussions later on.

[Nova]: What can you tell us about other characters? Is Reef City primarily populated by merpeople, or are there other creatures who are friends of Nerio?

[Inky]: The City itself is populated by both merpeople and smaller creatures- it is, primarily, a working reef and as such needs fish and organisms to live it in to survive. Other larger animals, such as whales, live away from the City and visit while passing through in their pods on migration. Sharks still hold a stigma of being ferocious predators, but are accepted into society nonetheless, so long as they do their feeding away from everything else. One of these sharks, Alma, is a old wanderer, Nerio's friend, and a conduit of news from outside the City, feeding Nerio's want for adventure with stories of other reefs and incredible sights.

[Nova]: So there is an imminent threat lurking in the depths after a time of post-war peace. Is it possible that you could tease us by hinting at the villain(s) is behind this?

[Inky]: Well, that would be giving things away, wouldn't it! Happy3
Let's just say, that you should keep your friends close, and your enemies far away from you... very, very far away. I won't say any more because hopefully it will be a big surprise!

[Nova]: Where can our viewers go to find out more about Nerio?

[Inky]: is where the webcomic will be hosted, as of now it's under construction! Please give me a couple more weeks before pages start to be added.

On behalf of BAU I'd like to thank Inkblu for graciously taking the time to talk about her webcomic, Nerio and for allowing me to feature her artwork. Here are some examples of her pony work:

[Image: caldera_cone_is_a_pone_by_inkblu_d9pm36f.png]
Caldera Cone is a Pone

This is a lovely full body portrait of Inkblu's original character named Caldera Cone, who is a vulcanologist, as one might surmise from her cutie mark. It is a potentially dangerous line of work that, contrary to popular belief, is not actually the study of Spock's species from Star Trek, but rather involves the study of volcanic activity. The use of colour in this work is simultaneously well grounded and explosive, which is relevant to Caldera's area of interest. This is evident in the inclusion of warm reds and oranges resembling lava or magma, working in tandem with earth tones like umbers for the coat with ochre highlights for the earth's crust. In using these colours Inkblu establishes Caldera's relationship and fascination with nature with a synthesis between two seemingly unrelated colour schemes. This may possibly allude to the process of the formation of igneous rocks, where the cooling of hot liquid lava eventually results in the formation of a cold and solid igneous rock.

Even the shape of her manestyle resembles an inverted tongue of flame and her tail slowly and gracefully flows downward, just as lava would slowly seep down the side of a volcano. Not only is the shape of her hair well considered, but the application of colour in her mane and tail is also quite apt. The split between the two colours of the orange and the red could very well reference the layers of the earth, separating the mantle and the outer core. This colouration of Caldera's mane and tail are very similar to diagrams featuring cross-sections of the earth in science textbooks, which may hint that she isn't limited to being a scientist but also a populariser and communicator of science not unlike like Carl Sagan or Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Caldera's pose resembles an equine variant of the contropostos, which was a pose typically used in Classical Greek sculpture to suggest potential movement and influences under natural forces such as gravity. This suggestion of potential movement in her posing is due to the distribution of weight, as alternating legs are weight-bearing and raised legs respectively. Caldera's lifestyle and line of work is quite active, which is reflected here in her gung-ho body language; and it is also gives of a light, playful mood, particularly in her front left hoof raised to gesture something to the viewer. This engagement with a playful gesture is reinforced by her bright gaze and warm smile, perhaps in greeting, or maybe beckoning the viewer to follow her on a hike up a dormant volcano.

[Image: twibright_bubble_by_inkblu_d9i2ds6.png]
Twibright Bubble

Twibright Bubble is a particularly interesting work, which is another full body portrait. However this time the figure appears to be floating among bubbles, providing this figure a totally different environment and context to the previous work. Twilight's semi-extended limbs don't appear to be bearing any weight at all, and by taking into account the lack of shadows or consistent ground, it explains the effect of suspension. One might think that the bubbles surrounding Twilight would indicate that she is submerged under water, but the hair strands of her mane and tail don't seem to separate under the influence of any water currents, remaining quite neat and tidy.

This is brings to mind the concept of what's called a figure-ground relationship. The word 'figure' in this usage doesn't necessarily mean a human or animal figure, as this term could also include inanimate objects too. So long as the 'figure' is the visually most dominant element in the artwork we are looking at, we may call it the 'figure'. Similarly the word 'ground' in the term figure-ground does not necessarily mean a surface or floor in which the figure stands on (although that sometimes is the case), but rather the 'ground' is meant here as 'foreground' or 'background'. In other words the 'ground' is the pictorial space around the 'figure'. In this work, Inkblu has made good use of the figure-ground relationship in tandem with posing to give the impression of floating.

In terms of technique Twibright Bubble is also different to the first artwork. Caldera Cone is a Pone has a mostly linear approach with some colour blending to seamlessly vary tone through a gradual gradient, however in this work Inkblu has used blobs of homogeneous colour which tie in with the surrounding bubbles nicely. This technique mimics the effect of a screen print or cell-shaded aesthetic to add an element of abstraction. This semi-abstract quality still manages to represent the figure clearly enough, but seeing as Twilight appears to be comprised of smaller coloured shapes with a consistent outline acting as a structural membrane; it gives an other worldly and supernatural feel. Perhaps this suggests that this is some kind of magical event transpiring, but Twilight's cheeky sideward glance seems to reveal that this phenomenon is of her doing.

[Image: her_freckles_are_like_stars_by_inkblu_d9pm3uo.png]
Her Freckles Are Like Stars

I was fortunate enough to attend one of Inkblu's livestreams where I had the pleasure of being able to witness the evolution of this artwork. The sheer speed of how this image was constructed is quite remarkable, especially considering how complex this work is. The numerous blades of grass were almost entirely executed in single brush strokes, with some areas smoothed out through blending; however the illusion of depth in the ground was created by use of tonal layering and transparency settings. This digital painting process actually resembles a hybrid combination of two traditional painting approaches known as alla prima (wet-on-wet) and glazing (transparent layering of wet paint onto an already existing dry layer of paint) respectively.

This artwork of course references the implied fate of Applejack's parents during episode 8 of season 3 in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, where on two separate occasions two shooting stars simultaneously fell from the sky.

Spoiler: Scene from Apple Family Reunion: E08 S03.

However the event in the show was so brief and subtle, in addition, Applejack didn't seem to react very strongly to the cosmic event, and it seems that her following expression was more in response to the words of Granny Smith. This symbolism was necessarily subtle considering the fragile nature of some of the younger audiences, but here Inkblu bravely explores Applejack's psyche in Her Freckles are Like Stars. We can see a star in each of Applejack's eyes which again act as symbols of her parents who have passed away; however now we are gazing at Applejack, who in turn is gazing at the sky. The only way we can see those stars in this image is by literally and metaphorically seeing the world through Applejack's eyes. Her eyes act not only as a window to her turbulent soul upon reflection of her parents, but she is also mentally reflecting on her parents just as her mirror-like eyes are reflecting those symbolic shooting stars.

Want to see more work from Inkblu? She posts some of her work right here on BAu in the Artist Gallery subforum in Appleloosa, so check her out. In addition you can watch Inkblu on her Deviant Art or follow her on tumblr. Also don't forget to view her new web comic, Nerio.

Though it pains me, this is the end of this issue of Great Southern Swag. If you know of any underrated Australian Brony artists/ craftspeople or happen to be one yourself, send me a private message and we can arrange to write a future article on your chosen artist!

If you'd like to read reviews on new episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, make your way to the BAu Forums under Ponyville, and find the thread titled: Riku Reviews in the Episode Discussion subforum.

  Great Southern Swag: Issue #5

07/04/2016 11:54 PM
Posted by Explonova

[Image: DP8_NAl_O.png]

Greetings Bronies of Australia! It's art and craft week on Great Southern Swag, and I have a very special treat in store for you all in this issue. My guest today is Plushie artist and maker, SnuggleFactory! She was kind enough to give time out of her busy schedule for an interview.

Spoiler: Interview with Snuggle
[Nova]: Thank you so much Snuggle for taking the time to take part in this interview, and for allowing me to write about your work. You’ve been on DeviantArt since September 2nd in 2013, but you've always been a creative person. Could you please share with us how you specialized into plushie making in particular, as well as how you gained your skills and knowledge on your craft?

[Snug]: I've always like crafting, I've tried lots of things here and there, though not with any particular focus or talent on my behalf. I hadn't even considered making plushies until I went to my first convention in 2013, Ponycon Au. There was a very limited amount of plushies at that con, so the few plushies left by the end of the con were entered into the Auction and sold for an amazing amount, which I of course could not afford. It was at that convention where I thought to myself, well if I can't afford to buy one, maybe I could make myself one, it couldn't be that hard right?

Oh boy was I wrong! It was the hardest crafting challenge I'd ever set for myself, and I had no idea what I was doing, so I bought a pony pattern, and made my first ever 3d plush, Derpy, who I still have to this day. Derpy definitely isn't perfect, but I love her, and I keep her to remind me just how far I've come since my first plushie. I don't know why I liked this form of crafting over others but I wanted to keep making ponies, and I've been making plushies every since.

My skills and knowledge of plush making beyond that first pattern, are completely self taught. To understand shapes of plushies better, I purchased toy bears and stuffed animals purely just to pull apart and to see what the flat pieces of fabric were to create that 3d shape. Over time I've made many small tweaks to that original pattern I started with, but it's only recently that I've had the confidence to start making my own patterns.

[Nova]: How has "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" influenced you as a fan, and also as a plushie artist and maker?

[Snug]: "My little Pony: Friendship is Magic" is what got me into plush artistry, as a fan of the show and a plush artist, I would watch episodes and really want to make that new character, or the main characters in those awesome costumes. There are still versions of the ponies that I'd like to create into plushies, like Rarity as Princess Platinum, or Twilight as Starswirl the Bearded, although I've just never really had the time to make plushies that I've wanted to make, since up until this point I was just making commissioned pieces.

[Nova]: Who in your opinion is "Best Pony"?

[Snug]: Best pony is a difficult question, since the Main 6 are specifically different personalities, which in a way represent all the little pieces of yourself. I've found that my favourite pony choice has shifted over the years. When I first started watching My Little Pony, Rainbow Dash was definitely my favourite, however these days as a Plush artist, I identify a lot with Rarity, although I think I would have to say that Twilight is my favourite overall. But I love all the ponies for different reasons!

[Nova]: I’m really impressed that you have a focus on sharing your knowledge and skills on plushie creation. What gives you the drive to help foster creative skills in the artisan community?

[Snug]: Plush artistry is kind of a niche skill, and those of us who can do it currently are most likely are self taught artists. I think that because a lot of people spent years developing their skills, it makes them apprehensive about sharing their knowledge with others. However rather than each artist struggling on their own, I think that a shared distribution of knowledge helps to encourage growth in the Plush community where existing artists learn a new technique or two, and budding artists learn where to start.

[Nova]: You mention that it is your wish to encourage a "new generation of makers". Is this possibly a counter-movement to challenge the tendencies of many people who choose a passive or spectator role? Or perhaps do you feel that traditional disciplines, such as sewing, are slowly being lost in contemporary culture?

[Snug]: It is I guess a bit of a counter-movement against store bought plushies, where you buy them for $20 or so at your local store, where that company is still making at least a %50 profit on the item, then there was the cost of materials, so how much did that maker get paid for the hours of work they put into that toy you bought. So in that regard, I'm all for fair trade, and as a artist myself, I know the amount of work that goes into a plush. So I'd like to encourage people to try plush making to understand that you're buying more than just a toy.

But it goes beyond that, with mass manufacturing coming around, there is a lack of skills for a lot of people these days, and not just in the younger generation, this is something quite common across most of our society. With pricing on items these days, it is cheaper to buy clothing and toys than to buy the materials and make your own. Regardless of this fact, I do feel that people are really enthusiastic about learning how to make plushies, but often people just don't know where to start or they've convinced themselves that they could never create anything as good as artists who have been practising for years, so they never try. When people say that to me, I really like to encourage people just to try, knowing their first piece will not be amazing like the artists they look up to because they're comparing that artists years of experience to their lack of experience. What I like to encourage people to do, is to go back through an artists gallery and find their old or first works and compare it to the newest thing they've created, and you'll be amazed how far that artist has come.

[Nova]: What exactly do you study at University? Do you find it hard to balance time between being a professional independent plushie maker as well as a student?

[Snug]: I'm currently studying a Double Major with Mechanical Engineering and Materials Engineering. I've always had a curiosity for how things work and what things are made of. Engineering is definitely one of those degrees that you need to focus a lot of time and effort into to succeed. I have more than a normal load this semester, so while I'm not struggling yet, towards the end of semester I might struggle to find time to balance Plush work and Uni work, though next semester I plan to have a smaller load which should give me half the week for Plush work and half the week for uni.

[Nova]: Do you have any starting advice or words of encouragement for our readers who may be considering making their own plushies?

[Snug]: Don't be afraid to fail, my first plushies were terrible, and so were every other plush artist, they just might not care to admit that. If you're not convinced, check out their first Plushies and see how much they've grown. With patience and perseverance you will get better!

[Nova]: Again, thank you Snuggle for your commitment to the artisan community, and for being a great guest.

[Snug]: Thank you for having me!

Here are some examples of her work:

[Image: aj_by_snugglefactory_d9nz8tq.png]
Applejack Custom Plush

Although this adorable plush is quite a convincing three dimensional translation of Applejack's two-dimensional counterpart, there are some proportional details which set the two styles apart. One of the most apparent of those details is the plump and stubby form of this plush's limbs. This strong and stocky legged structure gives the figure a more rounded and infantile quality, much like how differently standard ponies appear in comparison to the body types of Princess Cadence, Luna or Celestia.

These legs give a sense of added stability, both visually and structurally. Notice in the frontal view how the outside of her front legs are situated wider apart than her ears, yet there remains only a small amount of negative space between the two front legs. Not only is there an apparent cuteness, but also strength in these legs; which very much suits the applebucking prowess of Applejack.

Standing on the cutting mat situated underneath her, this plush stands at approximately 35 cm's in height. Even without it's exact dimensions disclosed to the viewer, one can still make out a general understanding of the scale; especially when taking into account the measured markings on the green cutting mat. This centimeter grid of the cutting mat being used as a measuring device, is reminiscent of Eadweard Muybridge's work on animal locomotion, especially with shots taken at different angles of the plush in a series of photographs. This subtle inclusion of a measuring device doesn't take away from the visual impact of the figure, yet grants the viewer a greater sense of spacing, scale and proportion. Really putting an emphasis on the little in My Little Pony.

[Image: il_570xn_869739620_nc1i_by_snugglefactory_d9w0g7.jpg]
Sugar Cube

This is a simple and playful plushie design, taking Applejack's frequent utterance of endearment to whole new level. For not only is this work very cubic, but it is also undeniably sweet as sugar. This compressed and compacted form can be interpreted as a more developed and further exaggerated expression of the previous plush's stocky stature. This geometric depiction of the pony form brings to mind the Analytical Cubist works of Picasso and the Post-Impressionist works of Cézanne before him. Although this plush is a three dimensional work, sporting all of the sides or faces of any other cube; only one face is dominant. The face of the cube which bares a face.

The eye style of this cute face seems consistent with the depiction of newborn foals on the official television show. In addition this same eye style also shares a similarity to the "cut-out" style featured on the episode titled: Canterlot Wedding - Part 1; where it featured during the sequence of the hit number Big Brother Best Friend Forever. The gaze of these eyes is quite engaging, despite lacking complexity, beckoning the attention of a B.B.B.F. It's of little wonder why this series of cubed pony plushies were dubbed Companion Cubes, aside from the reference to Portal the video game.

[Image: rarity_floppy_custom_plushie_by_snugglefactory_d.jpg]
Rarity Floppy Custom Plushie

The form of this gorgeous plushie this time serves as an antithesis to the previous designs, in terms of style. It is interesting how the distance between the base of the neck to the dock is a lot shorter than a standard pony structure from Friendship is Magic. Yet Rarity's limbs and other projections like the tail, are comparatively elongated in contrast to the compressed torso, which exudes elegance. This from of organic abstraction shares a lot in common with the Mannerist style seen in art during the late Medieval to Early Renaissance period, particularly with Parmigianino's depiction of the equine figure in his painting, The Conversion of St Paul.

This use of stretch and pull as a technique of distortion gives the effect of being affected under a weight, by substituting volume for length. Combined with Rarity's exasperated or tired expression, this plushie successfully alludes to a state of rest.

If you're interested in Snuggle's work be sure to watch her on DeviantArt, subscribe to her Youtube channel, like her Facebook page and follow her on Etsy. You can also be a patron for Snuggle on Patreon, which is a fantastic idea particularly for anybody out there who would like to learn more about the art of plushie making. In addition, Patreon supporters have access to certain perks depending on the amount pledged, and can also be eligible to receive some giveaway prizes! Find out more by checking out her Patreon.

That concludes this issue of Great Southern Swag. If you know of any underrated Australian Brony artists/ craftspeople or happen to be one yourself, send me a private message and we can arrange to write a future article on your chosen artist!

If you'd like to read reviews on new episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, make your way to the thread titled: Riku Reviews in the Episode Discussion section.

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