A boy and his horse
Two things happened that led me to make this illustration. One of them was that I have recently collaborated with a society specialized in Equine-Assisted Therapies. It was great to be in contact again with horses (I used to horseback riding when I was 12). I enjoyed it a lot, and that makes me look forward to drawing horses!
The second thing was that I see the Princess Mononoke film again. I love that film, and I am fascinated by both the gorgeous animation and the environments. Every time I see it, I get stunned in the very beginning, when we first see the main character. He is riding an elk among some trees, and the sunlit through the leaves cast shadows on them as they move forward. I wanted to draw something similar, with that kind of wonderful lighting!
So I started to sketch in Photoshop some horses, and when I add a human figure, everything quickly fit. I decided to leave the line and to work in it at the same time as the colors, for a whole paint-liked appearance. The colors were easy at the beginning since I decided to go with a green and orange-red palette. But the problems came with the illumination. It took me a lot of tries, references, and multiples layers to figure out the global colors, the sunlight, and the ambient light. It was a good idea to add the branches and to blur them in different ways to add depth. Also, I had to struggle a little bit with saturation, which is higher than I used to work with, but I think it worth the effort.
Now, I am fairly happy with the shadows and the ambient. The colors are bright and saturated, and everything leaves the impression of a warm afternoon in a quiet green place. Perfect for summer!
I hope you enjoy it!