They’re baaa-aaack.   Anyone who has followed this blog for the last several years is familiar with the odyssey that has never made an end: the seasonal carousel horses.

For reasons unexplainable, they’ve avoided the incinerator…  one of those projects that exists to challenge me year after year to at last find a satisfactory resolution.

I won’t bore you with a re-hash of previous incarnations… some were OK, some not… all abandoned after partial completion. I would finish one drawing, and stop. Try something different, only to consign things to the ever-growing reject pile.  Nothing rang my chimes.

Slowly though, I nailed down the technique, size, layout, etc. for the series.  And finally, began tackling the last issue that really can only be addressed by the actual doing of the art:  Consistency.

As a series, the drawings require continuity.  They need to be related and “flow” together not only by subject and layout,  but also by technique. When all 4 are viewed together, one piece must not catch the eye more than any of the others.  (Color, which complicates my ability to make this judgement presently, will be added to the drawings later).  There should be no variation in technique from one drawing to another: the linework (the marks made with the pen) must be consistent.  The shading must be done with the same intensity (the same range of values from light to dark), the amount of detail must be consistent among all the drawings, etc.  (I should mention: this series is intended for print reproduction: notecards possibly?)

This is very challenging for me; my technique tends to ‘morph’ as I draw.  I have a penchant for charging ahead and getting lost in the linework.  I’m guilty of not pausing often enough to assess progress within the context of the entire drawing.  So, when a project calls for consistency… well… you get the idea.

The solution?  Equal levels of completion.  All drawings are completed to a certain level.  Then I start over again with each drawing and complete things to the next level.  The first step was transferring each drawing to illustration board.  The next was inking the basic outlines of each drawing.  Then a certain amount of detail was added to all 4.  Then  a certain amount of shading was added to all 4.  And again.  And again.

seasonal carousel horses in process

Knowing my weakness for going bananas with the pen is making me extremely cautious; I’m taking small steps, completing the levels in small increments.  But…

…even with the aforementioned cautions, and with laying all of the drawing out side by side so they are visible at all times, I have still managed to go too dark on one of the horses in one area.  In an effort to correct something, I went too far and made things worse. Ack!  Sigh.

too dark

I have a choice: bring all the other horses to the same level of dark intensity… which I don’t really want to do because I’m happy with the rest of them overall… or re-draw the offending horse.

I choose the latter.  In re-drawing, I have the opportunity to fix a couple other issues in the drawing I wasn’t happy with but had been willing to let slide.

When the redrawn horse is completed to the same level as the others, I’ll be ready to begin adding color.

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5 Responses to Consistency

  1. Teresa Thompson says:

    OH my, I just finished your Carousel. I did a terrible job of following the pattern at first because I was a new mom with two little boys who loved to distract me. I started it back in 1990. I decided I would see if you had any single horses to go with it and found the four seasonal carousel horses but now am having problems finding them in print. As you are redoing them does this mean you are also going to resend them to the printer so they can be purchased for those of us who have been busy with life and now actually have time to sit down with your lovely patterns and complete them? Thanks

    • Hi Teresa, Apologies for the delay in responding. The images on this blog are just drawings I’m doing (or trying to do!). The cross stitch patterns for 3 of the seasonal carousel horses are available now via The Winter horse will be re-charted and released on POL when I get permission from Leisure Arts to do so. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Deb Bailey says:

    These are great..I have the cross stitch patterns…the colors are beautiful…and so detailed..They are giving me hours of enjoyment….

  3. Val, Thanks for stopping by and for commenting! These horses are for print reproduction… hopefully on notecards or something similar. They are adaptations of the cross stitch horses I designed years ago… 3 of which are currently available via (The 4th should be available sometime yet this year.)

  4. Val says:

    The horses are just amazing, when they are done to your satisfaction I am going to buy all four, and stitch to my hearts content 😀

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