Jun Qi - Art & Illustration
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Tortoise and Hare Road Race

July 17, 2022
Children's Books
A digital painting of a tortoise-and-hare road race. Four hares are riding on their tortoise steeds and slowly inching towards the finish line on the left as the sunset casts its yellow glow on them. The second dark red hare in the lead is baiting his tortoise with a carrot, while the leading tortoise gets tempted and is about to swerve in the wrong direction. Her orange-furred rider is tugging at her reins in an attempt to correct her. Behind them, a purple rabbit is worriedly waving a leaf of lettuce to get his tortoise, who had stopped to chew on a clump of grass, back on the right track. In the top right corner, the fourth rider has slipped and is falling off her tortoise's shell, much to the shock of the both of them. A crowded rabbit audience is cheering the racers on from both sides, waving flags and blowing whistles and shouting.
The finished contest piece
A digitally painted character line-up of 3 pairs of hare-and-tortoise characters. The first hare is sleek and lithe with orange fur and a beige underbelly. She is sitting with her chestup and rump and forepaws on the ground, and is looking at her tortoise companion contently and confidently. Her toirtoise companion has blue-gray skin and a pale blue-gray shell, and has his head perked up and also looking at her contentedly. The second hare is larger and scruffier with red fur and a beige underbelly. He is sitting with his front paws folded, head tilted down, and eyes closed with a proud expression on his face. His tortoise companion, who has an angular head, also has his neck extended and head cocked up proudly. The final rabbit is a purplish-gray-blue and is a very short, round and plump fellow. He looks slightly worried as if afraid of the second tortoise. His tortoise companion is looking in the same direction, also worried, and has yellow skin and a dark blue-green shell with ochre patches.
The character design line-up, which really helped me with creating the finished work

This was a piece I created for the SVS Critique Arena Challenge for the month of July, based on the prompt "Rabbit Road Race". I knew that the "tortoise x hare" Aesop fable reference would probably be invoked a lot, so I wanted to create a concept that would turn the whole thing on it's head and be whimsical and out-of-the-world enough to feel like a fresh take on the fable.

As part of working on this piece, I also fleshed out the character designs for each of the racers, as shown in the character lineup (second image). I took the opportunity to use this prompt to work through a character design course, which helped me be more deliberate in employing shape language and proportion in my designs.

Painted in Krita.

Jun Qi - Storytelling & Illustration ©2022