Tuca & Bertie writer Lisa Hanawalt on attaining her horse lady desires

The Horse Lady Canon is Polygon’s birthday party and exploration of the books, movies, TV, toys, and video games that experience turn out to be crucial to the cross-generational “Horse Lady” existence.

In 2019, Lisa Hanawalt created the universally lauded, award-winning animated sequence Tuca & Bertie. Then she purchased her personal horse, Juniper, checking off two lifelong bucket listing pieces in fast succession.

“I used to be afraid that if I in reality were given a horse, I’d don’t have anything left to attempt for,” she wrote on Instagram on the time. A speech bubble hovered over a picture of Hanawalt’s bird-headed stand-in as she cradled the nostril of a just lately bought horse and chirped, “I’m able for demise now!”

Hanawalt was once no longer in reality able for demise; the comedian may be about how making Tuca & Bertie and purchasing a horse was once anything else however the finish of her ambitions for her occupation or non-public existence. However between Hanawalt’s revel in as a Horse Lady and Tuca & Bertie’s exploration of the Grownup Lady, she was once any person I needed to communicate to for Polygon’s Horse Lady Canon.

Her horse-loving bonafides may not be at the vanguard of Tuca & Bertie, but it surely’s threaded thru a lot of her different paintings. Hanawalt’s collections of humor comics, just like the just lately republished I Need You, are laced with appearances from animal-headed other people — lots of them horses. Her graphic novel, Coyote Doggirl, follows the adventures of a canine-headed cowgirl and her cherished horse. After which, after all, there’s Netflix hit Bojack Horseman, the place Hanawalt stocks manufacturer and manufacturing clothier credit, and its now-iconic horse-headed superstar.

Hanawalt and I sat all the way down to a Zoom chat about the most efficient horse tales, the most efficient horse video video games, and what it’s love to in any case succeed in each and every horse-loving child’s dream.

This interview has been edited for readability and construction.

On filling the Horse Lady void and not using a horse

Hanawalt: For years I couldn’t trip. I rode when I used to be younger. I used to be for sure a Horse Lady prior to I took my first using lesson, and that simply made it a complete on obsession.

I labored a summer time at a condo barn in order that I may just pay for a half-lease on certainly one of their condo ponies. It was once roughly other from the entire ladies who had their very own ponies. You probably did what you’ll want to.

However then I stored quitting, as a result of I used to be too scared. And I had injuries after which I simply can be too scared to trip. After which I surrender for a very long time, I surrender for like 17 years, between highschool, school, you realize, and I didn’t get started up once more till about 5 years in the past. So within the period in-between, yeah, [I watched] horse motion pictures.

Horse video video games had been a large one. I used to be actually taking part in Crimson Useless Redemption 2, and I used to be about midway thru it after I in any case were given my horse. After which I instantly misplaced all pastime in taking part in the sport. For the reason that portions of the sport that I preferred had been the pony portions, the place you’re simply using thru this panorama and also you’re getting your horse to head sooner and also you’re caring for the pony, brushing it. It’s identical to, “Neatly, why do I want to do that just about? I’m selecting reside, actual manure out of my horse’s actual hooves. What extra may just I would like?” That media in point of fact did roughly satisfy that want.

Once I’m using, my teacher will fake she’s in Recreation of Thrones and I’ll fake like I’m in a Western.

On her favourite horse tales

Shadow of the Colossus has a horse in it — even supposing I’m very choosy about the way in which the horses are animated. In Shadow of the Colossus the way in which its legs paintings are a bit of bit dog-like and that turns me off. Crimson Useless Redemption is the most efficient horse animation I’ve noticed. And the most efficient number of horses, even supposing it’s very humorous that you’ll teach them to do like, top degree dressage [laughs] when you’re doing Western using, I in finding this in point of fact a laugh. I really like those in Skyrim. I like horses in video games. It’s nice.

Crimson Useless is up there. It’s humorous as a result of I don’t like the sport that a lot. I don’t just like the cutscenes. I’m identical to, “Bleeeeaaahhh, who cares?” [laugh] Identical with Breath of the Wild. I like the pony phase; don’t care concerning the sport, the puzzle fixing. I’m no longer an excellent online game participant.

Comic book illustration of a cowboy on a horse in Red Dead Redemption. “OK, I’m holding the square button, do a leg-yield!” says the cowboy. “Dressage? With fresh kill on my back?” the horse protests.

An unique preview of certainly one of Hanawalt’s upcoming diary comics.
Art work: Copyright Lisa Hanawalt

I’m looking to assume, what are my… That is corny, however I in point of fact preferred Dances with Wolves as a horse film? For the reason that horse in it’s in point of fact nice. And Kevin Costner purchased the pony after the film. I like that there’s a small style of flicks the place the rider likes the pony such a lot that they purchase them when they trip them within the film. What’s his identify? There’s like an entire bunch of them. Who’s that actor who was once in The Mummy? Brendan Fraser. He additionally purchased a horse after he rode it, like in a TV display.

I’ve an entire ongoing psychological listing of well-known actors who’re additionally horse other people. I don’t know why I care, however I believe like you’ll see within the motion pictures when the riders in reality in point of fact like horses. John Wayne hated horses, and so I don’t like looking at John Wayne motion pictures.

I really like The Horse Whisperer, that was once amusing. That was once a guide I learn when I used to be too younger, and I used to be like, “Oh, there’s horny portions. Horses AND intercourse, my two favourite issues.” At one level I made an entire legend for which horse motion pictures there are, and which of them have Mickey Rooney in them, which of them have a wild or unruly horse, which of them have a competition or a race or a contest. Which of them have the colour of the pony within the name. Numerous them practice a an identical trail and in truth, maximum of them don’t seem to be excellent, which is simply too dangerous.

On drawing horses

I’ve been drawing [horses] since I used to be like, six years previous. I had my My Little Ponies, so I might draw them. And I did draw comics of a horse-man, dressed in a sweater, dwelling along with his mule-man roommate. And that was once when I used to be like, seven years previous. So, my paintings hasn’t modified very a lot.

When I used to be designing for Bojack, they’d attempted a couple of other designers. They usually had been just right, however they only couldn’t get the pony face having a look proper. I believe drawing horses with expression of their faces is a selected factor that perhaps provided that you in point of fact love horses you can do? I don’t know.

bojack in front of a white board with the words “professor bojack” written on it

Symbol: Tornante Tv/Netflix

I don’t know [why artists find horses difficult to draw]. As a result of they’re no longer that tricky for me to attract. I believe their legs are a bit of difficult. Simply understanding their anatomy, I imply, it’s very particular. I don’t — I draw them at all times. So I don’t in finding it tricky. [Laughs] To not flex. I in finding people a lot more tricky.

On her horse comics

“Better get a move on,” the girl says as she saddles up her horse. “We are a team! We are family. This is a symbiotic thing,” she says as they ride off.

In Coyote Doggirl, a red coyote lady rides the variability along with her cherished horse.
Symbol: Lisa Hanawalt/Drawn & Quarterly

TOP CAUSES OF FREEWAY ACCIDENTS. Avoid these common drivingn hazards: 1. Rubbernecking to observe horses in freeway-adjacent pastures (pretty pretty so pretty) 2. passing trailers while looking to see if they contain horses (tires screeching).

I Need You is a selection of artwork and quick comics from Hanawalt’s early occupation, together with this treatise on seeing horses whilst using.
Symbol: Lisa Hanawalt/Drawn & Quarterly

[Coyote Doggirl] got here from looking at Westerns, which I most commonly wait for the horses, and maximum of them don’t recognize the horses sufficient. They simply use them as modes of shipping. So I sought after one the place it in point of fact was once extra concerning the horses. And I had long gone on a holiday in upstate New York with my boyfriend and we went on a bit of quick pony trip and it simply rekindled this love of horses and using for me. So, drawing that comedian was once a part of my means of pleasurable that want.

Maximum of my characters are … numerous them have sides of myself in them, or other people I do know, or I’m with reference to. Horses, I believe, may also be very insecure and concerned. In order that’s one thing I relate to. You recognize, they’re identical to, “What’s that?!” They’re prey animals, so that they don’t believe issues. [laugh] I relate to that. Yeah.

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