June Brigman: Cartoon Illustrator combines her love of horses with her artist eye!

I am out of town this week, working.

As usual, I bring my pile of equine magazines to try to catch up on my reading while I’m alone in my hotel room at night.  Most of the time, I read about a page and a half and I’m asleep.

But, being a creature of habit, once again, I brought my pile of magazines.

Tonight I started flipping through the September ’13 edition of HORSE AND RIDER.  I stopped at this graphic illustration.

This was the illustration that stopped me tonight.  June Brigman is the artist.

This was the illustration that stopped me tonight. June Brigman is the artist.

I just loved this!

These story illustrations that come monthly in HORSE AND RIDER are my favorites.  The artist (who I searched tonight), June Brigman, tickles me.  She gets it.  She knows about owning horses and about horse personalities – and her humor shines through all of her works.

Take this illustration for example.  The horse’s expression and uneven whiskers just slay me.  Not only does she make me smile with the horse’s intent interest in becoming successful, she has the grooming thing spot on!  I love the insider bit about the owner who clips her horse every so often – .

So, I decided to try to learn about her and share this with you.


The more I looked the more I realized that she is a very famous illustrator in the graphic cartoon world – which I know very little.

If you google her, she has penned several famous cartoons including Brenda Starr and the Power Pack.  I watched an interview of her from a Comic Convention and she said she has worked for Marvel for 30 years.


Brenda Starr ... with a horse!  I'm sure Brigman has something to do with that...

Brenda Starr … with a horse! I’m sure Brigman has something to do with that…

But her real love is horses.

Since she was a very little girl, she always wanted to draw horses.

At age 5, June drew horses that were so realistic, her father put them up in his office.

Confidence builder.

Brigman honed her skill at age 16 by taking a job at Six Flags Over Georgia, painting those pastel cartoon portraits of park visitors.  (I have one from Disneyland… you know what I mean…)

She created over 600 drawings that summer – invaluable experience – and where her humor through caricature bloomed.

Illustrator, June Brigman

Illustrator, June Brigman

This one is about vet bills - also taken from Horse and Rider magazine.

This one is about vet bills – also taken from Horse and Rider magazine.


I found this interview in the Chronicle of the Horse.

Click here for the original article by Donna Ross.

Brigman continued to draw horses but was never able to afford one, until her career took off.

(excerpt from article)

Click image to read the article

Click image to read the article

“I was born horse crazy, it’s part of that phenomena,” she said. “I bought my first horse, an Appaloosa-draft cross, [in 1987] from the royalties I earned on The X-Men.”

She trail rode that horse until he retired six years later. “I’ve been supporting him in the style to which he’s been accustomed for 11 years now,” Brigman said wryly.

When she first started hunting in 1994, Brigman leased a horse. Over the next three years, that mount taught her the basics. She now has worked out a deal where she exercises the guest horses of Rombout MFH Suzie Can-navino in exchange for being able to hunt them. “It’s a nice arrangement. As a freelance artist, my financial situation changes somewhat dramatically, so I haven’t been able to buy another horse,” said Brigman.

But the upside of her profession is the flexible schedule. “It’s great that I get to set my own hours. As long as I meet my deadline, it doesn’t matter when I work. It allows me the freedom to ride during the week, when everyone else might be behind their desk, and hunt on Wednesdays,” she said.

And it’s worth it. “It’s always an adventure when I go hunting,” said Brigman. “Whether we have great sport or a blank day, it’s an opportunity to get on a horse, go riding with friends, and see things you’d never get a chance to see otherwise.”

I’ve always loved children as a subject and hope to be able to draw children with their ponies,” Brigman said.

And she’s started going back to her cartoonist roots in her equine art as well. “I started doing funny cartoons of my friends and their horses, as my friends and their horses are constantly inspiring me,” she said.

But she’d never really poked fun at herself until she met Bella, a big, beautiful, willful bay mare who descends from the influential Thoroughbred stallion Princequillo.

“Bella humiliated me in the hunting field–it was an Auntie Mame moment when this 20-year-old mare just ran away with me. I’m sure she got a big laugh out of it, and I thought it deserved a cartoon,” Brigman said. That cartoon has immortalized the infamous mare.


I guess I’ve always been captivated by those who can draw because I cannot.

Previously, I did write about equine illustrators and included June.  You can read that post here.

I grabbed this from my previous article that had a blurb on June.  I love this one, too.  Cracks me up.


I had no idea this book even existed.  It is the novel, Black Beauty, presented and illustrated like a comic book.

She illustrated the classic BLACK BEAUTY!

She illustrated the classic BLACK BEAUTY!

I went to Amazon to look inside and this is what I saw… pages and pages (the entire novel) illustrated like this!

Wild, eh?!  Click to go to the book on Amazon.

Wild, eh?! Click to go to the book on Amazon.

HORSE AND RIDER MAGAZINE – Now that you know her, look for her work!

So, for all of you who read HORSE AND RIDER, now you can look for her work every month!  I sure hope you enjoyed dancing through the eyes of a humor artist who loves horses.

Thanks for skipping with me…

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!


HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

2 comments have been posted...

  1. dawndi Post author

    Thank you! That was a while ago… I hope you are continuing your wonderful depiction of horses!

  2. June Brigman

    I just came across your blog. Thanks for all the kind words.

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