Long-term, I'm interested in exploring some of my thoughts about natural resource conservation... and doing it through the lens of mythological imagery.
To do this, however, I'm going to have to push myself a bit when it comes to representing the human form. I've always been more drawn (no pun intended) to the inhuman and the animate in the inanimate. There's less room for error with representations of Homo sapiens, however. We're utterly unforgiving when the nuances of shape and expression are a bit off... sucked down into the 'uncanny valley' we are.
Classically, centaurs were creatures caught at the sharp edge between the bestial and the spiritual. In literature, you have your 'noble' centaurs (the stargazers and warrior poets of C.S. Lewis's books and Hercules's mentor Chiron)... while on the other hand, you have the rampaging frat boy centaurs that Theseus subdued on behalf of the Lapiths.
I drew a female centaur (although these are comparatively rare in classic literature... especially before the time of Ovid) since the contest participant gave me a female image to start from.
Here's the best sketch out of the current batch (see below). As with most of my designs, I'm trying to rely on limited, hard lines, hopefully conveying a dynamic feel at the same time.
Because of this, the face is particularly hard. Ideally, it seems to me that centaurs should articulate a sense of tension... wisdom and violence co-mingled, beauty and possibly a touch of brutishness. Not the sort of nuance that can be easily whipped out with three strokes of a carving tool.
On the whole, I'm not displeased... although it's interesting how the carved lines subtly increase the androgyny of the centaur. It wasn't my intention to give her an Adam's apple!
In addition, I goofed a bit on the bow. That thing looks way too much like a long-bow... not like the sort of thing Genghis and the boys would have been toting out on the steppes.
In fact, the bow in the carving looks better suited for ventilating French knights in the Agincourte mud. Still... if anyone would be able to wield a long-bow in motion, it would have to be a centaur.
I'll post further images when I fire and put a head on the thing.