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Fan art, and behind-the-scenes access

Hi, everyone! I'm sorry for the delay in this update. LiveJournal had a little hiccup, so I wasn't able to update at midnight as I normally do. This week, we start off with a hilarious piece of fan art I received from Evil Dead Pony.

I love the expressions and coloring! Thanks, EDP! :D Now, I've been receiving a lot of questions from readers about the various ponies I use to make the comic, and how certain shots are achieved. So this week, I'll give you a little tour behind the scenes.

One of the questions I am asked most is whether I'm using multiple ponies to achieve the different poses and expressions with Kimono and Minty. The answer is yes, I have multiples of each. Unlike action figures, which are poseable, My Little Ponies, at most, can only turn their heads, so multiples are required to get any sort of "motion."

Kimono and Minty are both Hasbro characters, and the company has created multiple sculpts for each. There are two Hasbro-issued Kimono variations and three Hasbro-issued basic Minty variations. There are two other Mintys I don't have yet, but they wouldn't blend in with the rest of the Mintys, anyway. The rest of the sculpts you see in KT are created by myself. As you can see, I have a rather large group of Minty:

The current group consists of seven Kimonos and six Mintys, with more in production. There are also multiples of several side characters, such as Sunny Daze and Sparkleworks.

Creating the extra ponies presents a challenge because they must match the Hasbro-issued ponies exactly. Otherwise, the eye would pick up on the difference, and it would pull the reader out of the story. Here is a Minty in-progress.

Kimono is more difficult, since she is an unusual shade of violet. Most of the customized Kimonos I create must be dyed to match, which can cause a lot of frustration. I find creative ways to let off steam when Kimono gets me down.

While I can achieve a large range of motion with the different sculpts of each pony, I am still limited by them. They are all, in essence, stuck standing around. There are not yet any sculpts that allow Kimono and Minty to sit, lie down, or curl up in a ball laughing.

Shots where the characters are in such positions require me to get a little more creative. Usually, these shots are achieved by using loose parts.

Gruesome, isn't it? ~_^ A combination of loose parts and a technique called forced perspective allow me to place the characters in unusual, dynamic poses.

In the next few weeks, I will have loose parts for Minty, as well, which means we will see a much larger range of activity for her. And that concludes our tour! I hope it was as fun for you as it was for me. ^_^

If everything goes as planned, as it sometimes does (ha), we will be back on schedule next week. I thank you all for your patience through this and for sticking with Kimono and Minty on their hiatus. We'll see you next week!


( 43 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 25th, 2007 03:23 pm (UTC)
Love the artwork!

It's good to know that I'm not the only one who takes off her ponies' heads. When I was little, my beloved baby pony Ember's head came off. I told everyone it was because she had magical powers and would spy on all the others in Ponyland with it. ;-D

Very neat to see your many ponies and how you make the comics. Looking forward to more! :-D
Jul. 25th, 2007 03:30 pm (UTC)
Oh, I am notorious for playing with pony heads. Back when I took commissions for custom ponies, I would sometimes put little notes inside them, in case anyone ever popped the head off. Sometimes I wonder how many of my customers found those notes, LOL! I popped off a lot of pony heads as a kid, too. I also pulled out their tails and just, in general, took them apart and put them back together to see how they worked.
Jul. 25th, 2007 07:29 pm (UTC)
Oooh... now that the pony heads aren't glued on and can pop off easily, eliminating the nasty hot water and knife process (with the unfortunate side effect of sometimes cutting through the neck nub and always leaving an ugly-looking join), I might try that! :D Of course, this would mean getting off my tail and working on pony customs again... *eyeroll*
Jul. 25th, 2007 07:37 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the job is definitely made easier now that the heads can turn. They use so much glue on the new ponies! The only drawback to the newer, turning-head ponies is that the sculpts were redone slightly, and some of the features have been softened or obscured. Many of them don't have the defined brows, noses and ears they once had. A few barely have nostrils, and I wonder how they breathe. :P
Jul. 25th, 2007 03:35 pm (UTC)
Ooo, this was interesting. X) I never thought of you using loose parts before, but now it makes all sorts of sense.
Jul. 25th, 2007 03:56 pm (UTC)
Hee! Nice! =)

And I really have to ask, how do you manage to get their heads off? :O I found two really badly treated pony's on fleemarket and in order to save/cunstom them I need to get their heads off mut I've no idea how o.O I'm stupid I know xD
Jul. 25th, 2007 04:21 pm (UTC)
Here are some instructions from an old tutorial I put together years ago. Sometimes, you can just twist the head and it will come off. Sometimes, you have to carefully cut it off with a blade.
Jul. 25th, 2007 05:13 pm (UTC)
Ooh, thanks a bunch! ♥
Jul. 25th, 2007 05:30 pm (UTC)
I want to go out and buy a bunch of ponies now.
Jul. 25th, 2007 05:50 pm (UTC)
Love the artwork, and very cool to be able to see just how you put this together.

It makes me cringe a bit to see Minty and Kimono, admittedly two of my favorite First Years, in... such dishabile.
Jul. 25th, 2007 05:53 pm (UTC)
Yay Eeds! Haven't seen Evil Dead Pony since Quacker County days...great art!
Jul. 25th, 2007 07:06 pm (UTC)
is it....Calbeck? from QC? holy cow! :D
Jul. 25th, 2007 07:13 pm (UTC)
I've gotta second Marzipan's holy cow, here! :D Hiyas!
Jul. 25th, 2007 05:54 pm (UTC)
I love the tower of Kimono. you should incorporate it into a Minty nightmare. lol Thank you for the tour. :D
Jul. 25th, 2007 06:33 pm (UTC)
Do you have any boy My Little Ponies? I remember one of my favorite Ponies was a blue boy with red hair...i'm sure i still have him in my chest, where i keep all my other original Ponies. I'll have to dig him out and take a picture for you! Of course, he's pretty beat up...i was a kid, afterall..and made a lot of dirt castles :P
Jul. 25th, 2007 07:12 pm (UTC)
I have several boys from the original My Little Pony line. The current generation of MLP does not have any boys officially, although I have decided a few of them are male. Brights Brightly is one that I've made male, and he is in a couple KT episodes.
Jul. 27th, 2007 12:34 pm (UTC)
The current generation of MLP does not have any boys officially

And yet they made a lovely bridal gown and set for one of the ponies... who was she marrying? Are these more of those subversive ideas being pandered to our innocent children? ;)
Jul. 26th, 2007 02:26 am (UTC)
The boy pony sounds like Salty, the pirate...
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 28th, 2008 12:23 am (UTC)
I always knew deep down that that pony was a boy... but it still ruins my childhood, because 'she' was always my favourite. :'(
Jul. 25th, 2007 07:04 pm (UTC)
Well done, EDP!! I love it, especially Kimono's eye, LOL.

I love the Kimono tower! This was really fun to read! I'd love more posts like this.
Jul. 25th, 2007 07:40 pm (UTC)

Ha ha just kidding. This is all very nice. I liked how you "broke everything down"...well cept that scene with Kimono and Minty being only heads taped on to paint bottles xD That was kinda scary =P
Jul. 25th, 2007 07:55 pm (UTC)
Yeah, maybe I should have put in some disclaimer that I was "lifting the veil." I know not everyone wants to know how it's done. ;)
Jul. 28th, 2007 01:33 am (UTC)
Ha ha but I really do love how you do all this. This kind of stuff is the first thing I go for when I get new dvds..."Behind the Scenes" whatnot....well after I check out the blooper reel xD

But yeah...very nice ^_~
Jul. 25th, 2007 08:06 pm (UTC)
Excellent entry! That fanart is SO....Evil dead pony-ish.
Jul. 25th, 2007 08:23 pm (UTC)
How do you dye them? That in itself seems really interesting. :) That being asked, I love this strip!!! :D
Jul. 25th, 2007 08:31 pm (UTC)
Dyeing ponies, from my old tutorial. And thanks! :D
Jul. 25th, 2007 08:29 pm (UTC)
Such ingenuity!! ^_^ Well done!
Jul. 25th, 2007 08:49 pm (UTC)
Oh...a behind the scenes tour! I always wondered how you go Kimono laying down and in the bathtub. I was thinking to myself, did she really chop ponies in half to do that?
Jul. 25th, 2007 09:31 pm (UTC)
LOL! Well, the pony was already chopped in half. It's one of those iceskating ponies that twists at the waist. I haven't resorted to chopping up ponies just yet. ;)
Jul. 25th, 2007 09:28 pm (UTC)
This was very interesting! I like little behind the scenes stuff like this sometimes. :)

The Kimono Tower of DOOM is just so cool. lol
Jul. 25th, 2007 10:17 pm (UTC)
I love the behind the scenes!!!! I had a feeling that was what you were doing :-)

I can't get the heads off my G3 ponies though... I don't know whether my batch was superglued or what, but I can't move their heads!!!

The fan art was awesome- I love the expression on Kimono's face!
Jul. 25th, 2007 10:39 pm (UTC)
That fanart is great--I get the impression that Kimono was out for the weekend (going to the ALA convention, perhaps?), and has just returned to find how an unsupervised Minty lives.
Jul. 25th, 2007 10:49 pm (UTC)
Wow, this is so awesome. It takes a lot of work to bring it all to life. I'm really impressed! I didn't even pick up on the multiple sculpts! You work it so seamlessly that it always seems like the same pony!

Great stuff. :)
Jul. 25th, 2007 10:53 pm (UTC)
Awww, it's a shame that MLPs aren't like Breyer horses, where you can reshape them if you heat 'em up enough!

I like what you do a lot. I've been wanting to get into pony customs for awhile, but never knew how!
Jul. 26th, 2007 01:43 am (UTC)
...I wonder if MLPs are made of a similar material to Barbie? Because I've reshaped Barbie limbs by boiling them before.

But of course, being hollow they'd probably look awkward. Hmm...

::plots:: ;D
Jul. 26th, 2007 03:24 am (UTC)
I've tried and failed. MLP's are made of PVC with a good dose of plasticizer. They just spring right back into shape, I'm afraid.
Jul. 26th, 2007 03:59 am (UTC)
I love the tower of Kimonos!
My best friend does customs, so I get to help when she isn't saving hair, or needs a particularly tough tail plug pulled. We have a few shots like that one lying around, though no towers of the same pony.
Its devilishly fun to tear them apart sometimes....
Though, its awesome seeing them put together again, and putting them in weird poses before that step is fun too.
Jul. 26th, 2007 10:11 am (UTC)
*takes notes*

Verrrry interesting. I've used forced perspective to make figures that are out of scale seem closer in size.
Jul. 26th, 2007 04:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Hey, if you ever want to talk shop or need to bat around some ideas, you can email me. davakb (at) gmail (dot) com.
Jul. 26th, 2007 12:31 pm (UTC)
GAH! Headless ponies! (kidding) It's great to see how you make the comics, very efficiently too!
Jul. 26th, 2007 12:41 pm (UTC)
So cool.

You are very clever and dedicated.

Thank you, once again, for sharing all of this with us.
Jul. 28th, 2008 12:27 am (UTC)
It's very interesting to see how you did it. I always suspected the multiple ponies, and well, looking at this gives me my proof.

Anyways, reading your comic makes me want to dig out my BARRELS of G1 Ponies. We were BIG fans in this house. All four little girls collecting them, and they've all been given to me, because I'm the youngest... bwahaha.

Actually, I should take pictures and see just how many of my rare ones aren't... dead. My dogs DID get at a couple of them as a child... we actually have one that sits in a fisher price wheelbarrow... we'd call her "Wheelbarrow Pony" XD She was the resident handicap..
( 43 comments — Leave a comment )

Kimono's Townhouse

Kimono's Townhouse is copyright Dava Butler. My Little Pony and all related characters, including Kimono and Minty, are copyright of Hasbro, Inc. All other characters are copyright of their respective owners. This site has no affiliation with Hasbro, and no infringement of its properties is intended.

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