Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Horse Team for Illustration Friday

Sandra Jessop, Team, watercolor, 5x7"
Illustration Friday

During my initial "idea phase" for this topic I came up with some really boring sketches and then one day brilliance struck!  A team of horses.  At first I was thinking of something like the Budweiser clydesdales, but when I grabbed the nearest writing implement, I sketched only two stylized horses and left it alone.  I figured the details would work themselves overnight.  

Unplanned, I found myself watching a NOVA program entitled, "Building Pharoah's Chariot"- A team uncovers the advanced engineering behind an ancient Egyptian war machine.  I probably wouldn't have chosen it myself, but nevertheless I was fascinated.  

Using hieroglyphics in tombs and other artifacts, historians and horse experts worked with local craftsmen to recreate Egyptian horse carts.  They used current knowledge and ancient pictures to figure out the harness, mechanics of the cart, and experiment to figure out why it was done that way.  By the end of the show they were testing them with horses that had also been chosen and trained for that purpose.  

The experts obtained one pair of horses and a back-up pair, just to be prepared for anything, I guess.  One of the pairs was two stallions, who didn't get along very well.  Honestly I don't remember which team they finished with, as I only saw parts of the end of the program, but I do remember it worked.  The project was a success.

When I went back to work on my drawing, it suddenly had an Egyptian feel, but it wasn't right for me.  I then had to research different horse carts to see which fit best with what I wanted.  I grew up riding and showing horses, and we even had pulling ponies at one point (which is another story altogether), but I had no knowledge of harnesses or structure of carts.  I looked at various "chariots" and after more sketches, found the one I liked for this particular illustration.

At some point I have to make the decision to research or fake it.  I think in general I research, find so much variety, I have to create something all my own anyway. "Team" for Illustration Friday.

If you are interested in the NOVA program, I found a link here: