Monday, June 16, 2014

Personal Work: Second Chance

I'm on a horse!

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:


  1. Great job! Horses are hard to draw. Its good that you moved his ears forward. Ears back means the horse is angry or irritated. This little girl wants that horse!

  2. Your story line is almost as compelling as your illustration. You could add scenes about how she helps the horse work through his PTSD, perhaps by letting him stomp on toy models of the Titanic, or melting ice sculptures shaped like icebergs by peeing on them.

  3. I love this one! And I really like the "process gif" (or whatever you call it). I think it add to seeing how your vision alters and morphs into the AMAZING finale piece. ^^


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