Dear Lauren Faust,
What does FiM mean to me? For me, it's more than a rebranding of My Little Pony, and an amazing cartoon. It's the reason I rediscovered a passion for art, and it has helped me make some amazing friends. Before Friendship is Magic even started, I was going nowhere in my life. I had no passion, no desire, no hope. I felt empty and incomplete. And then in October 2010, I discovered the magic of FiM thanks to 4chan of all places! I did not think any of the discussion going on was real. This is 4chan after all! After I watched my first episode of Friendship is Magic, for whatever reason, I felt a smile creep across my face.
I wanted to contribute something to the growing fandom, but I had no ability to draw, nor did I have any desire to pick it up back then. The most I could do was trace some low resolution screengrabs and use Paintshop Pro to try and turn them into desktop wallpapers. I found myself happy to be contributing something, but it was probably not the best contribution I could have made. However, there were a lot of people who wanted these wallpapers that I suddenly started trying to churn them out. Eventually I discovered a small community on IRC dedicated to Friendship is Magic, and had I not gone there, I wouldn't have been met the people I call my friends today. I don't know what was happening, but I liked it. If I had to describe it, it felt like putting the pieces of my life back together. But things eventually got to the point where I started to feel all sorts of pain.
As my arm hurt, I felt myself slipping back into a state of depression. I told myself that if I had ever stopped making these wallpapers, would anybody be paying attention to me? Would everybody think I was dead? Was there any reason to continue living? With how bad things were in the real world, I had a mental breakdown. Had I not met those friends in the IRC, I probably would have lost my passion for what I was doing, and slipped back into my slump.
As season 2 went on into 2012, a great thing happened to me. I told myself no more vectors, I wanted to draw. I picked up a sketchbook and pencils and tried to draw, but every attempt looked like garbage. I figured if I've been vectoring ponies for so long, drawing them should be easy as pie. It wasn't. I had actually just put my stuff down after that, almost giving up, but I had my friends there to encourage me. It wasn't until my birthday when I decided to take my art digital. About a week or so after my birthday, I purchased a Wacom Intuos 5 medium. Something I never would have seen myself purchasing a long time ago. I made a promise to myself that I would draw a pony a day to try and improve. My first ponies were an absolute nightmare, but I had plenty of people to help me with some constructive criticism.
Then an event on Equestria Daily called The Artist Training Grounds happened. I was excited to enter it, and I was prepared for anything. When I look back at the stuff I've drawn for the ATG, I not only see a noticeable improvement, but I see that as time went on with those improvements, it was clear I had a passion for drawing, and while I am still learning, I continue to improve.
What does Friendship is Magic mean to me? A lot. It helped me rediscover my passion for art, it has helped me make some great friends, and more importantly, it made me smile. I feel like thanks to you and this show, I have a great reason to be alive. As of today, I am going to school to pursue my associate's degree in graphic design. From the bottom of my heart Lauren Faust, all I can say is thank you for everything. If it weren't for you, and Friendship is Magic, I don't know where I'd be today.
Anthony A. aka Shelltoon