My very first project when I began this freelance art business a few years ago was to create a horse design for a patch that would be awarded to the youth hockey player by the coach for being the "work horse" of the team each week. They earned this by putting in the work at practice or being exceptional in a game and so on.
That project led to my connection with author Amy Logan so each year when the project comes up it reminds me how lucky I am to have such great people I get to work with and how connections and doing good work are what matters most.
Below are the previous years designs. I was so proud of that original horse patch (in the circle) and I look back at it now and realize just how far my own work has come. I really enjoyed last years, it was fun and I heard the kids really loved it.
This year the coach is part of a new team once again, the Chicago Hawks. Team colors are red/white/blue. But we still wanted to go with a horse character. Since the age group he coaches increases each year I know the the design for the horse needs to evolve as well. So here is the sketch and color process of this years Work Horse.
After drawing and redrawing and pulling up countless hockey action shot references I finally had an energy I liked.
Then I work on creating clean inked lines for bringing into Adobe Illustrator..
Once I have the outlines created in Illustrator I then work on adding in the solid local colors
Once I have the local colors all worked on, I then go in and start adding shadows or highlighting as desired to really bring this character to life. Files are saved off and sent to the happy client who then has this put onto a black jersey that the weekly workhorse gets to wear to show of his/her accomplishments.