OOC artist commentary on Vivid ponies and Coatls

This is an OOC post, just as a little insight into my thought process, in case you were curious. there is no tl;dr, you can either read it or not, it doesn’t effect the story.

Folks rarely ask me about why I make things look the way they do. I just post these descriptions because it makes me feel like I’m contributing something more to the blog. MLP does a lovely job of re-envisioning classic mythology in a way that makes it work in their environment. The show tends to stick to Greek roots, but its deviated a few times (the Wendigo being a big one) and it often changes the nature of the legend itself, to allow it to mesh in Equestria. Sometimes the adaptations are small, like with the Hydra being a ‘thing that lives in a swamp’. other times, they completely re-write the myth, like they did with the Wendigo. Even Pegasus ponies are a deviation. Originally, there was only one winged horse, and its name was ‘Pegasus’.

Coatls have never been a ‘race’, traditionally. oh they’ve popped up countless times in more modern renditions, I know MTG uses them as a creature type, i think Ive seen them mentioned in various video games, but much like “Pegasus”, there was only one “Coatl”, and it wasn’t a racial title, it was the second half of his name. Pretty sure there were multiple “winged snakes” in Aztec mythology, they just didn’t have a proper title. But it kinda cuts down on the fun when you’ve only got the one of something, so I decided to branch them out a bit. Serpent bodytypes present a unique challenge when used in a dynamic world; they’re rather specialized toward one specific task. giving them wings grants me a little leeway when it comes to gesticulation, but it also begs the question of how they fly. By all rights, flapping those things would just result in their little tube bodies shaking up and down on the ground. But that gives us a new opportunity for lore.

The coatls in this universe produce lift without flapping. its a magical quality of their wings, which makes their feathers highly prized as a means of making heavy objects lighter. this can provide all sorts of opportunities for story, from barter to piracy to any number of other things, and gives the species an inherent need to be defensive. That feeds into their already edgy nature and gives me some extra dynamics to work with if i need a plothook that’s less dramatic than the Vivid situation.

Speaking of…

Someone is going to get on my case about the Lisa Frank coloring on the vivid ponies, and im going to giggle when it happens. Its quite deliberate, I wanted to make a creature that made your eyes bleed when you looked at it. It should almost be painful to behold, not in a garish sort of way, but in a saturated sort of way. The narrative idea behind a vivid pony is that all the restraints they’ve learned in life have been removed, and theyre left with raw potential. its a saturated, overflowing sort of power that moves like liquid and spills out over everything around it, providing strange and alien results. that takes a strange and alien design, but i still wanted it to be pony enough that it might somehow be recognized as its previous body. the large maw was a combination of trying to factor in some serpent qualities (since the quatl causes the transformation) and to represent the entities tendency to consume and destroy and change indiscriminately. This was a tricky one, and while Im fairly happy with the final outcome, I could see myself redesigning these things a dozen times over in the future. after all, they dont all look the same, its based on the pony’s talent.