how to draw horses

how to draw horses


  1. Introduction
  2. Getting the Structure through Simple Forms
  3. Sketch
  4. Clean Art
  5. Flats
  6. Color
  7. Presentation

1. Introduction

Welcome to my new lesson, everyone! Do you have a pet? In this tutorial, I will teach techniques to draw easy and realistic horse drawings in different poses. Despite the love we have for all animals, it is somewhat challenging to draw animals correctly.

Accurate references are the first crucial step, both for this image and for any other. I’ll make a reference board so I may provide the greatest possible graphics. This time, I’ll apply Clip Studio Paint the program for virtual painting. Still, this tutorial content is also applicable for anyone drawing with something like a pencil or other art applications. You must be prepared to learn. Let’s get going!

2. Getting the Structure through Simple Forms

Open a new file in Clip Studio Paint ( File> New> A4, horizontal, white ), and select the pencil tool Rough pencil in blue for the sketch.

Let’s break down the drawing process into layers. The rough draft of our horse drawing will come initially. Use basic shapes like circles, ovals, rectangles, and triangles to begin the first few lines as you move closer and closer to the horse’s anatomy. What forms best represent a horse when seen from the side?

For the horse’s torso, first create two about equal circles that are connected by two horizontal curving lines (1).

Create two more compact circles to complete the horse’s head. Connect these with simple lines to make its skull, then join it to the body with two straight lines for its neck (2).

I now turn my attention to its legs. The front ones are the easiest since just a few rectangles and circles are required for the joints, and they conclude with two diagonal lines that link to an oval to depict the hoof (3).

For the back legs, draw a small circle under the back end of the horse to shape the thigh, and as with the front legs, draw the back legs with lines and circles —only this time, there are two diagonal sections (4). Look at the illustration below:

3. Sketch

Once the structure is set, it is time to define the shape of the horse’s body by joining all the previously drawn lines. Here, important anatomy may be defined using line weight.

We can now admire the legs more. Notice that the sketch lines that were previously straight now have to curve a little inward between the joints (as indicated by the arrows in the following image) and outward at the joints and the hoof.

To better structure the horse head, I added another circle below the largest one (the top of the head) to place the cheek, the most characteristic part of the horse’s head. This significant element lends the drawing reality. I then position the mouth, nose, and eye. Your reference board must be close at reach for this particular stage.

I chose this profile pose for this horse drawing because it is easy, straightforward, and suitable for a tutorial. You don’t have to confine yourself, however. Here are two more drawings of poses to give you some ideas.

4. Clean Art

After completing our figure, we must tidy up our work. To do this, first lower the opacity of the sketch layer so that it does not bother you — around 20-30% will be enough (1). then click the button seen in the picture to add a new layer (2). Giving each layer a distinct color to immediately distinguish them is a helpful organizing tip (3). In order to know where your clean lines will go, right-click and rename the new layer to “clean art” (4).

Continue sketching now. I’ll sketch in the new layer using the sketch as a reference. I begin constructing the final form of my artwork, this time in a deeper hue.

5. Flat coloring

The same as the previous phase, this new one starts. A new layer should be created, renamed, and given a fresh color. I chose yellow in this instance.

Important: In order for your clean line art layer to be on top of the flats we are going to build, drag and drop this layer between the previous two (the sketch and the clean line art).

With the GPen We start coloring the horse design with a tool and a mid-gray hue.

After that, carefully and patiently use the eraser to eliminate any extra color that bled beyond your crisp line art so that just a perfectly defined, clear silhouette remains.

6. Coloring

With this process finished and, before moving on to the next one, I lock the transparent pixels of the color I just created so that any further painting will not go beyond those lines. Painting is now lot simpler and more effective as a result.

The gray layer will also be duplicated (right-click the layer > Duplicate Layer I’ll explain in section 7 why we’ll need it.

Now choose a color for the horse’s fur that you prefer. I chose a light earthy tone, but you can try others based on your previously selected references. Utilize the paint bucket tool to add color.

By choosing the fourth symbol from the right on the horse’s icon bar, you may also alter the color of the animal. Layer Properties palette.

My recommendation when dealing with various color hues is to utilize the Watercolor Brush in a shade that is darker than the base color of the fur for simple shading. View the following pictures:

You can see that I started with the legs and moved on to the nose and mane, which are both darker than the legs.

To shade the horse, I also used a brown hue similar to the one I used for the legs. Take all the time you need to make sure you get the right dark tones for creating volume and depth, especially on the horse head details.

It’s time to add the highlight to your horse drawing after the shadows. Apply some light spots where the light reflects most; for example, in the most prominent muscle areas: Cheeks, neck, side, and upper leg muscles.

Then use the Soothing Watercolor Brush to follow the body’s contours while blending the highlighted parts.

7. Presentation

Let’s now consider how we should exhibit your horse artwork. I start by making another layer and adding it in front of every other layer. Using the Gradient I placed the tool vertically and choose a color that most closely resembles the tones of the horse.

Next, I create the cast shadow, that is, the shadow that the horse projects on the ground to add weight and realism to the image. The copied gray layer from step 6 will come in helpful here. I modify this layer by: Edit > Transform ) and right-click on the selection and choose Flip Vertical (1).

Then I shape it a bit to match the legs (2).

Erase the unnecessary parts (3).

Add a few that are out of place, such the base of the hooves (4).

To complete this little shadow, I’ll quickly add a gradient in the region that’s the farthest away using the Soft Eraser tool at a large size (800px) (5).

You may use this excellent method to drawings of people, things, or animals.

I’m adding a line of light down the horse’s back and head as the last drawing advice in this article on how to draw a realistic horse since it will have a dramatic impact.

To do this, create a new layer above the clean line art layer, and paint a line using a very light warm color along the upper part of the body. I then make a copy of this layer and use a Gaussian blur ( Filter > Gaussian Blur ) to produce a glow that mimics light reflection.

Let me show you some horse poses from other points of view to draw following these guidelines. I urge you to use them without hesitation!

▼Animated GIF

▼Animated GIF

I’m hoping that my tips and the video that is attached to this lesson will make it easier for you to draw horses and create stunning images with accurate dimensions and compelling positions.

It’s time to wrap up this lesson. Please share your best horse drawings using this tutorial with me on Instagram ( @Danipuente_conceptart . I would love to see them!

Daniel Puente Morales may be reached at [email protected] if you have any queries.

It’s been a joy to sketch for you all as always!

– Daniel Puente

Are you curious in concept art or the requirements for becoming a concept artist?
Check out the link below!

Ultimate Beginner's guide to Concept Art

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