I'm currently working on a cover for a book about a girl and a horse. This was one of the rough ideas I delivered to the client.
The client liked it, but wanted to go in a softer, more nostalgic direction. So I decided to finish this as a personal piece - hence the title "Second Chance." I like to imagine that it's a middle-grade chapter novel about a racehorse who survives the sinking of the Titanic. But then he has PTSD and gets paralyzed around big crowds, so he is unable to race. Then he finds a 12-year-old girl who believes in him, who gives him a...wait for it...waaaait...a second chance. I know, I know, it's brilliant.
This was my first serious attempt at digitally painting a horse. You guys, horses are hard. They're so lean; all muscle and bone; their legs have at least thirty joints. They're not like bunnies that have a nice padding of fat and fur to soften all their edges. I looked at a LOT of horse photos, trying to get the anatomy correct without copying from one single photograph.
I found this one image of a horse that appeared to have a heart shape on it's head. How cute is that?! What preteen girl wouldn't want a horse with a heart shape on his head? I immediately gave Second Chance a heart shape too.
As you can see I also changed the number on the horse's saddle from a 5 to a 2, because 2 made more sense with the title.
I've been wanting to get a horse illustration into my portfolio for a while now, so I'm happy that this turned out well. Here is the version with a blank banner: