So this one was a long time coming. Sometime in mid July while I was working on the Jungle Cruise picture in this series I knew I had to include the Mansion somehow - the ride is one of the most important creative influences in my life, as has been since I was five. Since I decided to portray Disneyland attractions in this series, I knew that I could not convincingly render the exterior of the attraction (it's very elaborate: [link]
) using the media and paper size I had available, I knew I had to elect to draw an interior view.
I knew I wanted to draw the antagonists of MLP, and I wanted to draw them as if they were working at the attraction instead of just visiting it as the other ponies were. I may or may not have done this as an excuse to draw Chrysalis in a maid outfit. I also knew I would have to group a lot of them in a close framing with a distinctive background; so doing a depth composition like the Peoplemover picture was out of the question. I chose the conservatory scene on-ride because I had learned how to render foliage in watercolor convincingly and most of the detail in that scene is just dead plants.
I'd like to reiterate that I did all of this in an attempt to make things easier on myself than I had in my Jungle Cruise and Peoplemover pictures. I sort of failed.
Although I had excused myself from drawing yet another tricky Disneyland ride vehicle in perspective (which caused me no end of pain with the Matterhorn bobsleds and Peoplemover), I hadn't counted on the extreme amount of detail inside the Haunted Mansion tripping me up. When it came time to render the coffin itself, a few reference photos reminded me of how incredibly complex the coffin onride is as a piece of sculpture (seriously, it's a masterpiece). I ended up pulling up the 1969 schematic blueprints just to be able to draw it faithfully.
From there it wasn't too hard to draw in the MLP characters on top. Of course I paid even less attention to the integration of these characters with the background than I usually do. In case you haven't noticed, I like to draw, color, and finish my characters on one sheet of paper - usually computer paper, which absorbs ink slowly and allows me to get a very smooth effect with markers - then cut out that sheet of paper and lay it over a watercolor background prepared separately. This gives me a nice, animation cell look and keeps things manageable so I don't have to worry about, say, watercolor ruining marker work. Generally I pose characters to reduce minor gaps and the possibility of tears. I didn't do that here. This was a nightmare to cut out.
All told it took me around eight hours to finish this piece, which is a new record for me. But! I did create a piece which accurately reflected the attraction and my original vision! So it was time well spent.
This is the final entry in my "Ponies at Disneyland" series. Happy Halloween!
((I worked at the Florida Haunted Mansion. The "bat hats" the Maids wear are hand-made. When you get your "bat" it's traditional to name it. I still have mine. Drawing these costumes was particularly important to me.))
(((This is where I usually link to a video of the Haunted Mansion, but I have never seen a video that does justice to the ride, especially since it's full of illusions and takes place mostly in darkness. You're going to have to pay your admission ticket and see it for yourself.)))