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Rise and Fall of the Balk by AssasinMonkey Rise and Fall of the Balk by AssasinMonkey
"Amongst the first to rise, not the last."

Unlike usual, I'm keeping this backstory, short, ambiguous, unbiased (even though the image kinda appears biased hah) and with a broader meaning then might appear, for a change.
There's a reason for that, though.

Edit: Additional story information.
"This scene marks a beginning, not for one but for all. It doesn't just mark the future but also the past, the events that led to this point and all that come beyond. Even when such a moment can simply not be pinned to a single point in time. It represents the escalation of contact, the resistance against ideals, and the refusal to give in.
Pride to that what is known and fear for what is not."

With this I'm attempting to reinvigorate my First Contact War universe I had started but last worked on back in April.
That was too long ago, so I thought I'd bring it back big and with both sides. Much like the first piece where this entire universe started 2 years ago. ( )
Going by the time spend, it's amongst the biggest, hitting an approx of 30 hours with only 2 other pieces in my gallery along those lines.

The amount of characters this had, I knew it wasn't a small piece and I kept it to my Saturday Livestream. For those who might have noticed me upload the WIP last week. ( )
So I hope I delivered on the expectations that one brought. It was quite fun to make this, for different reasons.
The scene, the colours, the poses, action, amount of characters (I wanted to do a crowded piece again for a while) and all the puzzling.
Good fun, may it been an enjoyable one to watch being streamed, as well.

I'll be trying to make more FCW stuff in the future building upon the universe.
This piece has quite some things going for that, maybe I'll explain those later in a larger backstory quote.

Approx Time: 30+ hour?
Time Lapse: Pending
(slightly incomplete missing some hours, will have to check on this later)
Rise & Fall of the Balk [WIP] by AssasinMonkey

PS: Me and my title words
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I'll explain what I see as what a normal person will see.

First Thoughts:
I see emotion, fear, hope, and loyalty. It was one of those things that held a classic feel to it that made me go right for the favorite button. The first thing I saw was the front pony standing center. This aloud my attention to go right to her, the way you made her stand out with frond and center, hoofs up and lighting. That was well done. Though I look at her face and can't tell if she is either sad, because the lines are tears, or if she is angry because the lines are scars.

Second Look Thoughts.

I then saw the griffons, I saw them before the ponies. The lack the look of rage, but are more in a hunt. That is what I see at first look. My attention then went to the ponies that the lead looks towards. I see a look of determination in them. It covers any fear or rage they have, and any who looks upon this piece should look at the faces of each individual face. Even the ones in shadow.

Art in Glory:

The detail in the piece is simply divine. From the feathers on the griffons, to the sand on the ground. Each pony and griffon is unique in design and color. AssasinMonkey did a wonderful job on this account. I am unaware of the universe this piece takes place in, but the classic feel in this piece will guide me to finding out more.

Art in the Dirt (Cons)

There is not much I can find to be picky on. Simply because I know I can not do better. There are not many question left in my head that leaves mystery other than wanting to find out more of this universe.

5 stars because I can tell that the artist got down what they wanted to. Giving the onlooker a masterpiece to gaze at.

5 Stars simply due to the fact that you can't find many works with this style and technique, and place such a good emotion to adsorb. In the MLP universe, I heard about the Griffon/Pony war... but never had I seen art to this level to help picture it. I love the fact that there are no weapons in the whole piece.

I'm no master on this topic, but even my eyes know good work done due to educated hands. 5 Stars


Takes a lot for me to hit the Favorite button. Like allot. Though I can't really speak a reason to give 5 stars, I'll cut close and give you 4.5

I'm excited to see what more this artist has to offer.
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
16 out of 17 deviants thought this was fair.

Critique by Magic-Dream-Pony Jul 28, 2014, 12:27:40 AM
First I must say this is a spectacular picture.
Vision is great, pony battle is realy realistic. You've planed every piece of this.
Originality...Pony battle.Yes, I've been seen lots of pony battle drawings,but for amazing picture, high score.
Technique, no word that can describe how awesome it is.
Impact:epic pony battle, anger, fear, battle...
This is an awesome picture and keep going making more!
I see lots of hard work here, and it is so great to see that here.
Just keep going and wat is most important of all things, bee yourself.
And have fun when you are drawing!
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
7 out of 8 deviants thought this was fair.

The Artist has requested Critique on this Artwork

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FrozenAB Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2015
she's crying
pp2700 Featured By Owner Edited Nov 6, 2015
I left a comment... but then I expanded on it and made it a critique which made the comment kind of redundant... Euyup!
Biker-Dash Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2015
All I can say is... FREAKING AMAZING!!! This is some seriously incredible artwork!
xelianthought Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2015
AChickenCupcake Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
This is epic
BledAndZx Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
So. When are you becoming famous world-wide?
PoshPegasus Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2014
Take it easy! Your going to overload everyone on epicness!:happybounce: 
Maldrete Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2014
Usually, in crowded shots like this, all the characters look the same.

What you did, though, was give everyone an identity, giving all a voice! There is struggle. There is sadness. There is rage. And to top it all off, there is the detail to show this to an extraordinary degree!

To this, I say: job masterfully done.
mlpDreamer Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2014
So much detail! I love it!
Ashoof Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2014
whoa.. like WHOA! WOW! GOOD! whoa!
TomFraggle Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2014
This looks amazing!  Well done!
zombie21943 Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Griffons FTW!
K4nK4n Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2014
Truly epic!
midnitedew Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2014
Bearded pony ^^
Nidle Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I've been trying to figure out how to do this type of art style, but never figured out the name or how to do it. any tips?
Here-for-the-ponies Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2014  Student Digital Artist
I haven't been this awe-stricken, or at such a loss for words by any other piece in the fandom in at least a year. I hate picking an absolute favorite among artists, because there are so many different aspects and qualities among different artists, but, man, any more of this quality, and I may have to officially consider you as my favorite in the fandom.
BledAndZx Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
I know for sure you are my #1 favourite artist so far.
Pleaseeeee tell me you have tips for becoming such an awesomazing artist?!
Here-for-the-ponies Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2015  Student Digital Artist
I assume you meant to say this to AssassinMonkey, right?
BledAndZx Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
Oops. Did I not send it in the right place?
Here-for-the-ponies Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2015  Student Digital Artist
hehe you replied to my comment instead of just commenting on the deviation :p
BledAndZx Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
Oops >.<
Should I resend it? In the right place this time? I'm a total noob idea how to do ANYTHING.
Here-for-the-ponies Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Oops I lost this in my inbox :s

Well, assasinmonkey won't see replies to other peoples' comments, so if you want him to see it, yeah :p
BledAndZx Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
Thanks for pointing that out :)
(1 Reply)
AssasinMonkey Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Oh gosh, being considered even close to someone's favourite is quite an honour! Especially since I know how hard it can be too choose, I never manage to choose :XD:

But just hearing things like that, makes me even more not want to abandon anything. I must keep going! :D
Here-for-the-ponies Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014  Student Digital Artist
That's the spirit!
saxumsando Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
me gusta
MudslingerArtist Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2014   Digital Artist
This is just AWESOME!
Wisdom-Thumbs Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Tells a story and does it all in a glance. One can easily picture an Equestria before Celestia and Luna, before there was even a real Equestria, when griffons crossed the sea and met cute little delicious-looking equines. Seems every historical headcanon involves a first contact war with the griffons. Mine saw them lose in short order, with the survivors escaping back across the sea or heading for the Crystal Mountains to hole up and build colonies.

I love your griffons and the clothes/armor the ponies wear here.
AssasinMonkey Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Yea, the history between them seems to fit so well. We know there's Gryphons, they even participated in the games.
They're also so different in nature as far as we can guess. Both halves being carnivorous. How did they meet and all of that.
Changelings didn't really get on the right side wanting love, not meat. The Gryphons, though, maybe they had to go through similar ordeals and indeed escaping or something.
Even here on earth similar things have happened in a way. Such as the early discovery and colonization of the Americas.
It's all still fairly open and headcanon, but that's also what sometimes helps create awesome ideas :D
nasc2 Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014
Why does she have unarmored/unprotected belly ?
AssasinMonkey Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
With actual warhorses it is one of the harder parts to properly cover up being between legs (aside from the belt area perhaps) and since if they're standing normally it's behind all the armor at front. So I focused it there.
It's not exactly full body either :)
Bioshock140 Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014
cajobif Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014
You really know how to make epic pieces.

This is an amazing one you made.
mlpEpilepsy Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014
Awesome :D.
A3Kitsune Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014
I like.                                                                                                         Trotting Icon - Ponyta 
Jose-Ramiro Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Whoa. This is pure coolness.
Smudge-Proof Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
First, it was Balkan.
And then, they Balkan't.
RedCard94 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014
Anyone feel vibes of "Viva La Vida?"
Thornwing76 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014
I love the piece - the only thing I might change is that with having Griffons and Pegasi in it, maybe you could have had something more in the air to see. The clouds are great, but there's a lot of palate going to waste up there. Needs more flying ponies! :)
EquestianRacer Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014
I'll got the meanest 300 vibe right now
RBking Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is amazingly awesome and well done in all aspects.
BrutalityInc Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014
It wasn't always sunshine and rainbows in Equestria...
GingerBaconCookies Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
DarkFlame75 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014  Professional General Artist
geartech Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014  Student Artisan Crafter
WOW! Great ART!
HareTrinity Featured By Owner Edited Jul 27, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Very nice! :D Who's the ponies' leader? She looks like a mix of Rarity and Applejack, it's a nice design!
Razgriz470 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014
Awesome! Can't wait to see more of this universe.
Gromf007 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
You show 'em, ponies! Chain:la: 
NaokoElric2250 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I hate to be so colloquial, but: aw man, this is cool. I love paintings (or art that looks like a paiting), and the details are amazing, particularly on the armour.
SwanLullaby Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Stunning scene full of nice details!
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Submitted on
July 27, 2014
Image Size
8.6 MB


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