I really thought my kids had exhausted all the horses of Greek Mythology so that I was spared having to draw another horse but I forgot all about Centaurs. At least a centaur is only a half horse so that was something of a blessing.
Centaurs have the hindquarters and legs of a horse but the torso and head of a human. In the myths, they are renowned for their warring ways. In their most famous conflict, they gate-crashed the wedding of a cousin and attempted to abduct the bride and all the female guests. In that instance, they were defeated by the hero Theseus.
As a consequence of their brutish and brutal behavior, Centaurs are usually depicted as being macho and muscular. I, of course, decided to do something different in order to put my own spin on things. When pondering centaurs, I could not rid myself of the image of a pantomime horse and that made me think of something that looked a little goofy and ungainly. That then sparked an idea in my head: what if there was a runt of the herd? What if there was a centaur among them who did not want to go off raping and pillaging but instead wanted to read books and discuss philosophy? And that then led me to ponder what a nerdy centaur might look like.
I struggled a bit with the sketch as I decided to depict the centaur front facing rather than in profile. Trying to get the shape of the horse body and legs right gave me some difficulty but finally I came up with a composition I was content with. I gave my centaur prominent teeth in order to suggest that a little bit of horse made it above the waistline too – and I was thinking of the daft grins on those pantomime horses again – and funnily enough it makes him look like he could be a relative of Wallace from the ‘Wallace and Gromit’ series. Since I also drew the Golden Fleece looking like Shaun the Sheep, I must have to count the animation of Nick Park among my influences.
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