[Commentary] Let’s Talk About The Horse

Source: https://youtu.be/NItAmOueHvo | Video, titled: «Animating Horse Walk Cycle»

By: Peggy Sue Wood | @pswediting

They say “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth,” but let’s be real–we’ve all seen the horses I’m talking about. You know the ones that started by haunting the pages of romance manhwa and have since spread out to other genres? It’s hard to ignore them, especially when they look like untouched 3D models with riders drawn atop.

As a fan of webtoons and webcomics, I’ve noticed that many creators use 3D models as the base for their artwork, instead of drawing everything from scratch, which is reasonable given the rapid pace that content is kicked out and expected in today’s world. While I appreciate the convenience and potential benefits of using 3D models, I also can’t help but miss the unique charm and authenticity that comes with hand-drawn artwork or even hand-drawn overlap of the 3D model work. 

Dogs, cats, dragons–all seem to be drawn by the creators to some degree, so I wondered why horses were so different. I decided to look up how difficult it is to draw a horse; to my surprise, it’s not easy. This short comic, “How to Draw A Horse” from Emma Hunsinger, published in the New Yorker, really says it all, and a video I watched, linked here, also explained that it takes a lot of skill and practice to accurately depict a horse, more so than many other animals, let alone the skills needed to try to animate one. So, it’s no wonder creators may turn to 3D models to save time and effort.

As someone who grew up watching a lot of great horses in animated media, I never thought that horses would be so difficult to draw or animate, but it’s good to know now as I’ve been a personal critic of the choice to leave the 3D animated majestic(?) horses in a comic without even attempting to draw over them. In fact, I’ve been screenshotting pictures of horses for a few years now and sending them out for laughs among friends, not even realizing that the 3D model use and poorly drawn animals that I’ve been making fun of are more awesome than I gave them credit for. 

So, if you too are judging the horses or another overused item in animation and comics, maybe consider looking into it. You may be surprised to learn that its design is somewhat revolutionary to the medium!

One thought on “[Commentary] Let’s Talk About The Horse

  1. Horses are super hard to draw! I remember when I was working on my Fine Art degree and I was making a series of pen and ink drawings based off of some of the pictures in Leonardo DaVinci’s sketch book. One of the drawings I made was of what I thought was a very regal looking horse. I carefully mimicked Davinci’s style (and I actually got a great grade on it) and then once I didn’t need the drawing any longer for class I thought I would gift it to my mom. She had been a horse trainer, so I thought she would really like it. But instead of my mom being over joyed, I got an earful of how this muscle was too big and swollen, and that angle was all wrong like the bones underneath the skin were misshapen. So it ended up that the drawing I had made wasn’t a drawing of regal stallion, I had actually created a drawing of an obese, disease ridden, just moments from death, horse. So I learned two lessens that day, 1. Drawing horses is hard, and 2. Never give a horse drawing to a horse expert!

    Liked by 1 person

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