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I like having story arc threads and then filling in the details along the way (like the tabletop RPG method of playing to find out what happens). It is super basic in the beginning and I have no idea what parts I may throw out or change. With long story-oriented comics you have time for better ideas to come to you. I only get more detailed when it's time to write out the scripts.

 

Here's the first draft for Chapter 6 for example:

Ah, that's quite interesting and makes a lot of sense! It seems like it could somewhat be compared to story-boarding for animation too, in the sense that you start out with the simplistic/basic framework and flesh it out from there. That's probably not too different from the way most people would tackle it... I might just overthink things a bit. Thank you so much for your answer! I'll make a point to remember it.

 

That chapter turned out pretty differently than what you just described, I notice~ It's sort of interesting too that you would put "ZZ" in places where one would expect Firefly's name. Was "ZZ" a placeholder until you decided who to use, a nickname for another character entirely, or something else?

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Awesome!  Speaking as a fan fiction writer myself, given the very long-running, detailed, in-depth in both plot and characterization story you've told, I guess I have to ask where that fondness for storytelling comes from since we don't see it from many artists in this fandom like yourself, and even when they do, certainly not as focused oftentimes as yours?  Do you read MLP fan fiction specifically, or is it simply a general fondness for a good story be it in literature or comic books?

 

My main hobby is tabletop RPGs, both as a player and a DM/GM. The play style I enjoy the most is character-oriented. One starts with a premise and ideas for plot arcs and then plays to fill in the blanks. A good game turns into essentially an improv session, with the details of the story and world being created through play. It helps if the original set-up is interesting with potential for drama and intrigue. It's good if the interesting aspect can contribute to character stories (ex: magic is illegal). It's also helpful if the character has something they want to achieve. From this, you can ask questions: How do they try to achieve their goal? Who is for them? Against them? Do they reach the goal? What are the consequences?

@@SorcerusHorserus,

 

Thanks for coming

 

Admittedly it's been a while since I've read Dash acedemy. I'm way behind. But I'm wondering, how often to events from cannon effect, (comics & show) effect the progression of DA? I mean for example, it was said early on in the show that Dash dropped out of flight school, so did a detail like that predetermine the path things would go for her? Or did you say "Screw it, I'm doing it my way?'

 

Thank you- I'm happy to be here!

 

I don't follow the MLP comics so I can't speak towards that. As for the show, not very much. I think I've only had to tweak a couple lines of dialog. Derpy Hooves was 'Ditzy Doo' in the comic and I changed it to 'Derpy Hooves' after the fandom leaned more towards that. I am mainly using the knowledge from S1 since that's when I wrote the outline. I see the things established in canon as storytelling prompts to build from.

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I'll throw in my question now.  

 

Hi, there!  Do you have anything to say for aspiring artists who want to make comics like yours?

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Alrighty, looks like we're on a new page of the thread (though with plenty of unanswered questions still on the first page).  I still have one question waiting myself, but I just noticed on your Twitter that you're a zoology grad, very interesting!  Do you ever find ways to utilize your art talents in your professional career, or is your fondness for ponies and MLP tied at all to your zoology profession?

 

I do have a fondness for creatures from growing up on a farm. And I've always been interested in art. During the end of my schooling I started working towards becoming a scientific illustrator. For a few years I made traditional art for educational materials and zoology textbooks. Most was anatomy related- helpful stuff to know! The science illustration was the extent of my zoology career since I eventually found it quite dry and my art skills were stagnating. After watching MLP:FiM a light switched on and I threw myself completely into digital art and comics.

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Hello, love your name.

 

I'm just wondering did you learn about the fandom and become really involved with the community?

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Hi, SorcerusHorserus!  :) After seeing your work on DA, I apologize for not knowing about you before. Your work, like Rainbow Dash herself, is awesome!  :wub:

 

I have a couple of questions. First, do you outline everything that will happen in your comics before you start drawing, or are you the "flying by the seat of your pants" type?

 

Second, do you have any tips to share for aspiring artists and/or writers like me?  :blush:  :squee:

 

 

Thank you!

 

I started with a very basic outline of all the chapters and arcs (see an above post for an example of what Ch. 6's first outline looked like). When I get to a chapter I break it down further into strips. Then when I get to the strips I write out more specific scripts. These read like a play, with dialogue and stage direction. Sometimes I go through multiple re-writes of scripts before I ever start the art. The art part takes a while so I want to be confident in the script early on. As for the overall thing, you just have to do the best of your ability at the time. Some things might not work out as planned but you can't fret too much or the comic will never be finished.

 

I think the main thing when you're starting out is don't get discouraged. Art and writing is hard to do. Like the saying goes, you have to make a ton of crappy stuff before you get to the better stuff. Put in the hours and you will see definite progress over time. And if you find that it isn't for you, it's okay to try out other pursuits. It can be hard to do, but don't link your self-esteem to likes/favs/page views. It's nice to have the support of others, but it's not what will sustain your interest. Being genuinely interested in your project is the way to go and will keep you coming back.

 

Best of luck to you with your projects!

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And with that, our time with SorcerusHorserus has come to an end!  On behalf of MLP Forums and the entire Poniverse community, I want to thank her again for taking the time to answer all our questions and hang out on our lovely community.  Best of luck with all of your present and future projects (especially with finishing up Dash Academy), and drop by any time!  We'll keep this thread open for a little while longer so that Sorcerus can answer any questions she hasn't gotten to yet.  Thank you all again, both Sorcerus and everypony who participated, and have a great rest of your day!!!

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Ah, that's quite interesting and makes a lot of sense! It seems like it could somewhat be compared to story-boarding for animation too, in the sense that you start out with the simplistic/basic framework and flesh it out from there. That's probably not too different from the way most people would tackle it... I might just overthink things a bit. Thank you so much for your answer! I'll make a point to remember it.

 

That chapter turned out pretty differently than what you just described, I notice~ It's sort of interesting too that you would put "ZZ" in places where one would expect Firefly's name. Was "ZZ" a placeholder until you decided who to use, a nickname for another character entirely, or something else?

 

You're welcome- I hope you find it useful!

 

Firefly was originally a character called 'Zephne Zephyr' who had a similar color scheme. The name stuck so I still use the nickname 'ZZ' pronounced 'zee zee' for Firefly. Her cutie mark has some resemblance to two Z's. I flip around between using 'FF' and 'ZZ' in my scripts and filenames.

I'll throw in my question now.  

 

Hi, there!  Do you have anything to say for aspiring artists who want to make comics like yours?

 

I recommend checking out Scott McCloud's book 'Making Comics', it's a great resource.

 

If you are making a character-oriented story start with the characters and go into the what-ifs. "What if Gilda and Dash are in a high-school setting together?" "What do they want?" "What is standing in their way?"

 

Keep throwing things at your characters and then give them space to react and change as the story progresses. 

 

Having a time frame for the story helps narrow it down. "This story takes place during Dash's sophomore year until she leaves

school." 

 

Think about story arcs you want to have. "Dash and Fluttershy start off distant and become closer friends." "There is a drama-filled school dance." "Dash wants to join the varsity stormball team."

 

The more interesting the story, the better. Don't fret too much about the art in the beginning. The art can (and will) get better along the way!

Hello, love your name.

 

I'm just wondering did you learn about the fandom and become really involved with the community?

 

Thank you!

 

I saw people posting images of ponies on a forum in late 2010-early 2011. One of the pictures was a recipe for Pinkie's baked bads. I thought the ponies looked cute and I was familiar with MLP from having the G1 toys as a kid. The first episode I watched was 'Bridle Gossip'. I thought it was okay and didn't think too much about it afterwards. Then, a little later in Jan-Feb. 2011 I needed something to watch so I went back and started watching season 1 from the beginning. I binged all the episodes and was hooked! I doodled ponies on paper but didn't post anything online until I made a DeviantArt account to post entries to Equestria Daily's 300 word challenges. After that I made a list of digital pony picture challenges for myself to draw. That led into me wanting to make pony comics as well. I posted my first Dash Academy comic in August 2011.

And with that, our time with SorcerusHorserus has come to an end!  On behalf of MLP Forums and the entire Poniverse community, I want to thank her again for taking the time to answer all our questions and hang out on our lovely community.  Best of luck with all of your present and future projects (especially with finishing up Dash Academy), and drop by any time!  We'll keep this thread open for a little while longer so that Sorcerus can answer any questions she hasn't gotten to yet.  Thank you all again, both Sorcerus and everypony who participated, and have a great rest of your day!!!

 

Thank you again for having me and for all your questions. It's been a pleasure!

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