Here is my rough sketch. I don't always do this, but it was very helpful for this piece because the photo reference was so extensive and messy. This allowed me to see everything as a united whole. From here I began to lay out the final sketch and then painting - but I still made some changes to better fit Irving's text. I switched the "athletic" horse with an older, stronger work horse (plow riggings included - a throwback to Disney's version). I also changed the old bridge into the church. I had originally planned to create a evil glow coming from inside the bridge (the Headless Horseman) but Ichabod was moving away from the bridge and in the in the story that is the end of Ichabod's mysterious journey home. The Headless Horseman's power lay between the church's graveyard and the covered bridge... so I went with the church/graveyard. You'll see that soon.
For those who are watching the process of my Sleepy Hollow cover, I apologize for jumping around so much. Does anyone know a way to group blog posts together, instead of grouping everything by date?