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Assignment: Horse Calendar

~This is part 1 in a series. For part 2, click here

About a year ago I got contacted out of the blue to do a calendar for a horse association. Sure! I said, not really knowing what I was getting myself into.

Carla Miller Design horse cartoon

I imagined drawing lots of cute horsies


“Have you estimated how long this is going to take you?” Even Henry had reservations. He knew I'd often jumped into projects without getting all the specifics. “Um, a couple of hours per cartoon I think.” (My math turned out to be so off, I'd need a whole other post to discuss it.)

It turns out, this project was going to be for a pretty serious group of horse folk. These weren't people who took their pony out for a trail ride through the woods on the weekend. These people competed at the world level in something called Eventing


and another group that did carriage driving.

Carriage Driving

Before I started this project, my horse drawing skills had been limited to cartoons I'd done for personal projects.

Horse cartoon Carla Miller Art

And there was no way I was going to get away with drawing horses like that for this horse audience.

So, I started doing my homework:

I looked up lots of images online,

and started sketching away.

horse sketches carla miller art

Even went to a horse show to see them in person.

I really needed to get my drawing accurate, because gauging from some of what I'd learned about the horse world, they were a picky bunch.

I imagined a group of them looking at my cartoons, exclaiming in horror, “She drew a breeching strap instead of a trace!”

carriage harness

What strap goes where?!?!

This was a whole new world, and I had a lot to learn. Whatever I did, I had to do it fast, because there was a lot of work ahead!

Next post I'll talk about starting the first of 12 horse cartoons.

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1 comment

  • Hi Carla,
    What an interesting project!
    Can’t wait for the next installment!

    • Ginny Beckett