If you’ve been reading my articles here on EmptyEasel (or have ever visited my blog) you probably know horses are one of my favorite subjects. :)
But, while I’ve shared a lot of techniques for creating realistic drawings and paintings, often with horses as the subject matter, I’ve never actually shown you how to draw a horse from start to finish.
A big part of that is because there are so many great horse-drawing tutorials and videos already out there. So, rather than creating my own tutorial and reinventing the wheel yet again, I thought I’d recommend some tutorials that are particularly good at teaching artists how to draw our equine friends.
NOTE: I made sure to include some tutorials and videos covering specific parts of the horse, like the head and the feet, as well as drawing the entire horse. And I picked a range of lessons that would suit everyone—from beginners to more advanced artists.
OK, so let’s start with the written tutorials first, then move on to the videos!
1. How to draw a horse portrait in colored pencil
This excellent step-by-step demonstration is by equine artist Janet Griffin-Scott. The tutorial is presented in eleven steps beginning with a basic drawing, then walking you through the line drawing, initial color, and finishing with the braided mane and bridle.
The images are large and clear to begin with, but if you want a closer look at the details, all you have to do is click on the image and an even bigger version opens.
2. Drawing a horse in black and white
Presented by ArtyFactory.com, this brief step-by-step shows you how to draw a horse in graphite. What makes this tutorial especially cool is that the subject is George Stubb’s famous portrait of Whistlejacket.
Written by artist Sandy Sandy and hosted by Art Instruction Blog, this tutorial explains how to sketch a horse step-by-step. Sandy walks you through the process of drawing beginning with basic shapes and building on that foundation to a finished drawing.
The method she uses is ideal for all kinds of life drawing and sketching, as well as for portrait work. The tutorial concludes with basic shading with watercolor.
5. How to draw the legs and feet of a horse
From my own blog comes this mini clinic on drawing a horse’s legs and feet. As these are often the trickiest part of the horse to draw, I demonstrate it each step of the way. I also show you how to use the grid method, which is the method I prefer for all portrait work and most other complex drawings.
Now, on to some videos!
6. How to draw a horse portrait (28 min. video)
This video shows how to draw the head of a horse using both regular pencil and black colored pencil. It is narrated (one of the things I like about it) and takes you through the entire process step by step, line by line.
While this video is mostly an introduction to creating a line drawing of a horse head, it does include some shading with Prismacolor black as well. Mark Crilley is the artist/instructor for this part real-time, part time-lapse video.
7. Drawing a horse with colored pencils (4 min. video)
Susak uses some interesting light over dark methods in her drawing process, which she accomplishes with Caran D’ache Luminance pencils, combined with Prismacolor. There is no narration.
NOTE: Jasmina has a significant number of videos showing how she draws other subjects as well. Most of them are time-lapse, but there’s still plenty to learn from watching her work.
8. How to draw a horse’s eye (10 min. video)
Art ala Carte presents this informative, real-time video on drawing a horse’s eye. This video is unique in that it’s the only one in this list actually shows the reference photo the artist is working from.
The artist (Valerie Flynn) walks you through the entire drawing process using graphite, but the methods she uses can also be used with colored pencil.
9. Drawing the body of a horse (8 min. video)
This second video from Art ala Carte and Valerie Flynn shows her drawing the trunk, or body of a horse. She uses a method of drawing that I first learned years ago through the Walter Foster How-To Draw Horses book, which help you draw any horse in any position.
Valerie’s videos are especially ideal for the youngster who wants to learn to draw horses. Or any other subject for that matter.
Lastly, I’ll finish up with two of my favorite speed-drawing horse videos. The way these artists use color have helped me learn improve my own color choices, but if I’m being honest, the real reason I’m including them here is that they’re just plain fun to watch!
10. Palomino in pastel by Mary Herbert (4 min. video)
Mary Herbert is a UK artist with a website at www.portra.co.uk. She’s a well known portrait artist and instructor.
She uses Caran d’ache pastel cubes and pastel pencils for this horse drawing video. If you use Caran d’ache Luminance colored pencils, many of Mary’s light over dark methods will work nicely for you.
11. Arabian horse by Roberta Baer (10 min. video)
Roberta “Roby” Baer is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America and works with pastel on a variety of subjects. I’ve been watching her time-lapse videos for a couple of years now, and this one, like all of them, is excellent. Roby uses CarbOthello Pastel pencils for her highly detailed and often small format work.
And that’s it! I hope you enjoy these tutorials as much as I have. :)
If you’re not sure where to start, trust me, every one of them is worth checking out. . . and for those of you looking to really dive into drawing horses, by all means, save this list and go through them all—you won’t be sorry!
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