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Horace the Circus Tortoise

Digital Illustration of Horace the tortoise on a high wire nervously balancing tea cups on his nose

Early on in our relationship, my partner and I were talking about a painting commission I was working on at the time—”Circus Sisters”—and all the work I was doing to come up with the right characters for the concept. My partner has a fondness for turtles and tortoises and immediately suggested that they should be incorporated into this circus. A hilarious conversation ensued with us trying to imagine how these slow-moving animals could become exciting circus performers.

That night I went home and designed Horace the Circus Tortoise, mostly just as an in-joke for the two of us. When I posted Horace to social media however he became an instant hit with our friends and family. He was also the perfect alter-ego for my partner with his love for turtles and their ability to retreat inside their shells when they needed to.

Fast forward a couple years and Horace now stars alongside Abigail Mouse (my alter-ego) as part of our Horace & Abigail webcomic. While he’s no longer a circus tortoise in the comic, he and Abigail are still juggling all the things that make up their unique lives together.