Sketching Animals: How To Draw a Realistic Horse

Sketching Animals: How To Draw a Realistic Horse

Hi guys and welcome to this week’s video! Today I’ll be showing you some tips forhow to draw a realistic-looking horse alongside some examples of common mistakes that detractfrom a realistic looking outcome.

As always, these opinions are my own and you’refree to draw however you like to.

These are just things that I’ve learnedto pay attention to whilst drawing to ensure a more accurate result.

If you’d like to follow along, a link tothe original reference is in the description box down below, along with a link to the editedversion I used for my drawing.

So starting off with the “what not to do”side, I’m going to begin by putting down an outline.

I’m going to build up the structure of thishorse using some regular-looking geometric shapes and I’ll do very little to mesh themtogether or alter the structure around them.

Here I’m also not carefully consideringthe actual quality of the shape that I’m putting down- I’m not really taking my timeor controlling my line, I’ll put down multiple shapes overlapping and hope that one is workable.

I’ve noticed a lot of beginner artists usegeneric shapes to build up a foundation.

And it’s not necessarily a bad way of doingthings, but you need to watch out and make sure to refine the foundation enough afterwards.

Consider the anatomy of the animal ratherthan rigidly sticking to regular geometric shapes.

It may be helpful to think of this as a scaffoldfor your drawing rather than a foundation.

On this side you see that my outline is veryboxy-looking and angular.

The jaw is far too circular and I’m missingsome nuance in the anatomy in some places, whereas other areas are very exaggerated.

Moving over to the other side now- I’m goingto start off by putting down a grid on my paper.

I like to use a 3×3 grid as it’s quick andeasy but you can use as many squares as you like.

I have an identical grid laid over my referencephoto and this means that I can more easily transfer the image onto my paper.

On this side I’m going to be really payingattention to my reference photo and judge the subject matter by breaking it down intoangles and lines- or curves- as well as shapes and negative shapes.

I want to just make clear here that horsescome in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, so the way that I draw a horse heremight not apply for say for example an Arabian horse or a Shire horse.

It’s important to pay attention to yourspecific reference.

The tips I give here aren’t hard-and-fastrules, but these things that can be helpful to look out for and pay closer attention to.

You can use whatever support you’d likewhen sketching- I’ve made a whole video about different techniques you can use tocheck and improve the accuracy of a drawing, so I’ll leave a link to that in the cardsand description.

I personally like to use a grid as this helpsto break down the subject matter into sections which makes it easier to check distances andlengths.

Today I’m be drawing on the smooth sideof Canson Mi Teintes paper with Prismacolor Col-Erase pencils.

I like to use a couple of different colourswhen sketching as I find that it helps break up the image further.

You can see that I’m taking my time puttingdown individual lines and I'm moving my pencil more slowly and deliberately- compared tothe other side where I rushed to put down just a few overlapping shapes in hopes thatone was ok.

But that isn’t to say that the sketch hasto be perfect from the very beginning- I’ll be refining things the whole way through-but I find that a cleaner sketch is much easier to judge and correct.

As I work, I’ll also blocking in shapesof shadows and highlights to help build up a feel for the anatomy and this is where usingmultiple colours can really help.

I like to use at least a dark and a lightcolour to make a distinction between highlights and shadows.

Unfortunately, my white pencil doesn't showup very well on this paper, so I didn't use this pencil as much as I would've liked to.

You'll also see that I take a lot longer todraw this outline, and that there are many more pauses between pencil strokes.

This shows how much I'm observing the reference.

I've also used a much lighter hand becausethere's no need to reinforce the “correct” lines- I'll just erase away the ones thatare incorrect as I work.

Thick and heavy lines are difficult to eraseand cover over in the colouring stage, so it’s best to avoid them where possible.

Now working on the ears, again rather thanactually study the reference, I’m going to glance at it and just draw what I thinkI see.

So for instance, the ears could be simplydescribed as two pointed ovals, so that’s what I’ll draw.

I won’t actually consider the form or thicknessof the ears, or their direction or placement.

On the other hand, here I’ll break the referencedown into sections.

I’ll judge just how much of the ear is passingover the grid line and where it intersects.

And I’ll also observe how much distancethere is between the ear tip and the edge of the page or image.

Similarly I’ll use the negative shape betweenthe ears to help position them on the paper, along with an indication of the mane.

Back on over the left side of the page, I’llstart working on the eyes.

I’ve noticed that a common mistake whendrawing animals in general is to draw the eyes too large and too far up- and additionallyhere perhaps a little too front-facing.

So that’s what I’m drawing here.

It’s also common to draw eyes to appearmore human-looking- and distinctly almond shaped- perhaps too much white showing andwith a round pupil.

Again, this has to draw what we think we'reseeing rather than we actually see.

It's easy to assume that the eye is just “eye-shaped”,rather than analysing the actual shapes its built up of.

I’m also going to incorrectly draw in thefar eye, not taking into consideration perspective.

On the “good” side I’ll start workingout the correct eye placement.

I'll do this by measuring and mapping in someof the shapes that the shadows cast in the area around the eye, and that helps betterbreak up this large part of the face.

The shape of the eye and the taper of theeyelids it are important in conveying the plane that the eye sits on the head of thehorse.

I’ll do some subtle shading to indicatethe form of the eyeball here- the highlight and where the eyelashes obscure the eyeball.

Horse’s pupils are a horizontal oblong oroval type shape- but often this isn’t clearly apparent because their irises are usuallydark coloured and hidden behind their beautifully long eyelashes.

I ended up adjusting the eye a lot duringthe process of this drawing- I think eyes are the most important part of a drawing andthey need to be just right in order to capture the desired expression.

On the other side of the horse’s head thereis a sliver of the eye and eyelashes visible.

The subtle dips and curves of the anatomyaround this section is crucial as it helps indicate the fact that there is an eye theredespite not being obvious.

Now moving on down to the nose and mouth ofthe horse.

A common mistake that I see is the mouth beingdescribed as either too boxy or too rounded- and here I’ll go for too rounded.

Moreover it’s easy to overlook and simplifythe anatomy of the jaw and mouth- especially how the lower jaw attaches and interacts withthe upper part of the skull- so rather than look at the subtle folds and creases I’mgoing to heavily line this area in.

I’m also placing in the nostrils incorrectly-here I haven’t considered the way the nostril is formed.

Here I've also oriented the nostril in thewrong direction- it appears more horizontal than vertical.

I’ve also drawn the nostrils too far offto the side and given each nostril a very distinct hood.

I’m not considering perspective here, sothe nostril furthest away is too visible.

On the other side of the paper, I’m goingto much more carefully look at the reference photo.

I’ll build up the area by blocking in someshapes and shadows to help describe the form.

I’m also paying attention to all the subtlevariations in the outline- it’s not one singular smooth line.

In the reference photo I’m using, it’shard to see here how the bottom jaw and bottom lip interacts with the rest of the face asthe bridle in the reference is obscuring it.

But I can get a clearer idea by using otherreferences to help make sense of the small visible portions.

Moreover, I’m not going to heavily drawin the difference between the top and bottom lip.

Instead I’ll indicate this with a subtledifference in value.

If I was to draw in a thick line here- likeI did on the left hand side- it wouldn’t help make sense of the anatomy, and the creasesand folds that actually make up the form of the mouth.

Next up I’ll be drawing the bridle.

Although I won’t be showing it so much here,something I see often is the bridle being drawn to much higher contrast and detail comparedto the horse itself.

On a similar note, it can be difficult toget the bridle and horse look like they’re interacting with one another.

Having corresponding light sources will help,along with making sure that the horse has appropriate shadows where the bridle touches.

Here on the “what not to do” side I’mgoing to ignore the thickness of the bridle- especially on the far side of the horse’sface, where the profile of the bridle should stand out against the horse’s silhouette.

I’m also going to be careless and not payattention to how this bridle is formed, and miss out one of the straps that goes up underneaththe eye.

Missing out one of these straps could becomea critical mistake if you’re using the distances from these straps as a form of visual queue-say for example in where to place other shapes and lines in your drawing- and therefore couldhave a knock-on effect for the rest of the image.

I’ll also draw the ring near the mouth soit appears too perfectly circular, which alters the perspective and makes the ring look toofront-facing.

Building on some of my construction linesI made earlier, I’ll refine the bridle.

I will really take my time here as it’simportant to get consistent thickness along these leather straps- whilst considering theway they move around the form of the horse.

Any inaccuracies here will be more obviousbecause of the straight edges.

It’s also extra important to pay close attentionto the way the straps interact with each other- if this was a commission or a drawing fora horse enthusiast, they’d no doubt notice if there was anything wrong with the bridleas they likely have hours of experience using and handling this tool.

The thick section that crosses the horse’smuzzle- the noseband- has a good thickness and I’ll consider the way that it curvesover the nose.

The parts that cross the horse’s cheek arequite complex and have lots buckles and straps, but I’ll tackle this by breaking thingsdown using negative shapes and measuring the distances between sections.

The cheek piece on the far side of the horseis also slightly visible, and including a suggestion of this is important in describingthe horse’s form.

The bit that goes into the horse’s mouth-the ring- isn’t just a circle and I’ll tackle drawing this shape by using the negativeshapes contained within it.

Usually, I also find it helpful here to drawin the highlights and shadows of metal parts.

Now moving on to the other side of the paperagain to draw in the neck, I’m going to draw it very simply here and give the neckan almost sausage like appearance with no distinction in anatomy.

It’s common to draw the neck in too long,and also not consider how the spine attaches to the top of the skull.

: On the other side I’ll block in some shadowsto help define the difference between the horse’s jaw and neck, and the neck’s form.

The neck tapers and the shoulder of the horseis also visible in the picture.

Something I’d really recommend doing islooking at anatomical pictures of the animal that you want to draw as you’ll very quicklylearn how the animal is built in terms of skeleton and musculature, and you’ll bemore aware of how to describe things in your drawing- especially if the reference photois ambiguous.

Taking a look at the mane now, I’m goingto sketch this in by building up a section of fur by using lots of individual pencilstrokes.

I’ll also not really pay attention to direction,curve, thickness or taper of these lines.

And the result is flat- the entire mane consistsof one single value- and the fur has a rough and stringy quality.

On the “good” side I’ll break down themane into blocks of different value, or individual clusters of hair.

Mapping in the differences in value and gettingthe form correct to help indicate direction, is far more important in a base sketch thantrying to draw in individual hairs.

The texture is something I can focus on laterduring the colouring.

And finally, finishing up the sketch by indicatingsome extra anatomy, like veins and hollows in the face.

And here I’m going to do this very quicklywith just some basic lines.

So moving on to the other side of the page-I don’t want to spend too much time here mapping in details and values, but I wantto give enough structure to my drawing that I’d find useful during the colouring stage.

So, I’ll focus on breaking up the face intodifferent sections using my different pencil colours.

I actually ended up spending a long time refiningthings here because I didn't pay attention to where my hand was sitting on the paper,and I ended up smudging away a lot of the saturated areas and detail that I had obtainedearlier.

I tried using another white pencil to givea better indication of highlights, but that didn’t work out either.

I would make the contrasts and details morevisible, but this is a sketch after all, and if I wanted things to be more polished I'dfocus on that during the colouring stage.

Before we finish up I want to announce a newwinner of the giveaway- so congratulations to Rita Alarcon! Get in contact with me as soon as possibleusing the e-mail in the description box down below, and use the same e-mail that you signedup the competition with.

And again, a new winner will be drawn in thenext video if the winner doesn’t claim their prize! So that just about summarises this video-I’ve already done two similarly formatted videos where I show tips on how to draw acat and another dog.

I’d love to hear what animal you think Ishould make a tutorial on next! And of course, if you have any questions leavethem down below in the comment section and either me or a lovely viewer will respondto your question as soon as possible.

Thank you very much for watching, if you foundthis video helpful please leave it a like! Don’t forget to subscribe if you’d liketo stay up to date with my latest arty videos- tutorials, reviews and art advice.

Hope you have a lovely week and I’ll seeyou in the next video.

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.