Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Crayon Horses

One of my earliest memories is an art related one: It's a sunny morning, nearly midday, and I'm watching my mum draw horses for me in crayon. I remember being amazed at how a simple outline with a dot for an eye suddenly transformed into a horse. I could draw stick figure humans, I had probably doodled many teenage mutant ninja turtles at this point, but horses I just could not do.

They were like alien beings I've seen on TV, so familiar and yet unachievable. As I got older, I mostly avoided horses in my drawings, because I didn't understand them. At least not as well as people. (it helps if you're exposed to what you're drawing every day)
As an illustrator I made myself study horse anatomy, copy references and my horses slowly started to look less like dogs or dragons. Still, one might get easily lost in all the knobby limbs and gentle dark eyes, you manage to pull the details off, but the whole is a mess. There's still something that makes a thing look like a horse and you can achieve it with a few lines. Strangely, my drawings of dogs improved a ton since I got a dog. Obviously, the correlation is there, I should buy a horse.
(just kidding)

I think my horses are alright now. Not great, there's room for improvement, but they'll do.
Even before I started my illustration career, my mother had been one of the few people who actively supported me. If she had any doubt, she was convincing enough to fool me. When I did start working freelance, I knew I could always count on her support and it helped me a lot through all kinds of dark times. Even saying simple "That's nice, dear. What is it?" meant someone cared what I was doing with my life.

The human brain is pretty tricky, we're entirely capable of making up memories, or recycling and reinventing them. Even if it's slightly different every time I recall it, I will keep that sunny morning and the crayon horses. I'll keep it safe.

1961 - 2014


  1. Nothing we can say will make things any better, but, I'm so sorry for your loss Jan.
    Yes, keep that beautiful memory somewhere safe.

  2. Janku, I just read it - may deepest condolences - Pacem Aeternam!