How to Draw a Horse – Guide to Perfecting Your Own Drawing of a Horse
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Horses are glorious animals, loved by humans for their elegance, strength, and majesty. They are amongst some of the favorite animals for artists to draw due to their sleek yet muscular build, strong horse legs, and flowy manes. The drawing of a horse can be a tricky experience, however, as they have very unique proportions that need to be portrayed accurately. To help you with this, we have created an easy horse drawing tutorial to simplify the process. Now, you can learn how to draw a horse step by step simply by following this tutorial!
Table of Contents
- 1 Humans and Horses
- 2 Step-by-Step Tutorial on How to Draw a Horse
- 2.1 Step 1: Creating the Main Body of the Horse
- 2.2 Step 2: Creating the Head of the Horse
- 2.3 Step 3: Creating the Muzzle of the Horse
- 2.4 Step 4: Creating the Neck of the Horse
- 2.5 Step 5: Creating Ears for the Horse
- 2.6 Step 6: Creating a Tail for the Horse
- 2.7 Step 7: Creating the First Front Leg of the Horse
- 2.8 Step 8: Creating the Second Front Leg for Your Horse
- 2.9 Step 9: Creating the First Back Leg for the Horse
- 2.10 Step 10: Creating the Final Leg for the Horse
- 2.11 Step 11: Creating the Horse’s Outline
- 2.12 Step 12: Creating the Perception of a Flowing Tail and Mane
- 2.13 Step 13: Adding Final Touches to the Legs of the Horse
- 2.14 Step 14: How to Add Details and Texture to the Horse
- 2.15 Step 15: The Final Details of This Easy Horse Drawing
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
Humans and Horses
The bond between humans and horses has developed over centuries due to the close working environment they shared for much of history. Horses have aided us in agriculture and transport since around 3500 BC. With their strong physiques and distinct movements, a horse needs to be drawn in a manner that conveys a sense of motion to the viewer. When focusing on horse legs drawing in particular, we will see that there are many little joints and bending limbs that may at first seem daunting. But by following our simplified steps, you will soon be on your way to a beautiful yet easy horse drawing.
By following this tutorial on how to draw a horse step by step, you will gain an understanding of how to use basic shapes and shading to add realism to your drawing of a horse. Let’s get started!
Step-by-Step Tutorial on How to Draw a Horse
Although our example has been created using paper and pencil, you are free to use whatever medium you are most comfortable with. You are welcome to use oil paint, watercolors, and even your tablet to create this easy horse drawing. No matter which medium you decide on, the same steps can be applied to your drawing of a horse. So get your supplies ready and let us dive into the nitty-gritty of making the perfect drawing of a horse. We have also a separate tutorial on how to draw a horse head.
Step 1: Creating the Main Body of the Horse
As with our other tutorials on drawing animals, we always start with simple shapes first and then add the details later. This is to help us lay out the various body parts of the animal with the proper proportions. These simple shapes will create the construction lines on which we can add details once we feel the layout looks correct.
To represent the main part of the horse’s body, we are first going to draw an oval, with the widest part being horizontal, creating the look of a slightly squashed ball. Although this step may seem easy, it is important to get the position correct from the beginning.
Other details such as the head and limbs will still need to be added around the oval, so make sure that you place it in the center of the canvas to avoid any of the limbs getting squashed or cut off.
Step 2: Creating the Head of the Horse
The next step in our easy horse drawing is another basic shape, but an important one. For the second step, we are going to create the head of our horse by making a small circle. The circle should be placed above and to the right of the oval that we already made for the body.
It may look a bit weird to have your horse’s head placed such a distance from the body, but we need the space to create the lines that form the long neck of the horse later on.
Step 3: Creating the Muzzle of the Horse
Before we add the neck, we need to give our horse’s head some depth by adding another oval to represent the horse’s muzzle. This oval should be placed at the bottom right of the head, but overlapping it considerably, slanted at a 45-degree angle towards the bottom right part of your canvas. In the following steps, we will create the shape of the head by using the oval we have just added.
Step 4: Creating the Neck of the Horse
In this step, we can finally join the two construction shapes of the head and body. We will start with a line that curves from the top middle of the head’s circle, down to the middle of the body oval, slightly to the right on the top side. Now, we will finish the neck by using another curved line, this one smaller than the last. This line will start just below the middle horizontal line of the head circle and will curve down to the body oval, just above the middle horizontal point.
You might already be starting to see the horse take shape around the construction lines.
Step 5: Creating Ears for the Horse
We have already seen our drawing of a horse start to take shape, but by drawing in the ears, it will start to look even more realistic. For this part, we will need to create two ovals of slightly varying sizes. Start at the point where the head and neck meet. From here, draw a leaf-shaped oval that is slightly pointed at the top. Now draw another slightly fatter oval behind the first one, but do not make this one as pointed on the top. We use different shapes for the ears to create a certain perspective and depth to our drawing of a horse.
Step 6: Creating a Tail for the Horse
Up to this point, all the various parts of the horse have been represented by basic geometric shapes. For this step, however, we are going to create the horse’s tail by using a natural, wavy line. The horse is in motion, so we want to convey the feeling of movement by drawing the tail in a backward flowing direction.
Be patient with this step and do not be afraid to use your eraser to try again to perfect the look of your tail.
Step 7: Creating the First Front Leg of the Horse
The legs are possibly the trickiest part of the horse to get right, so we have sectioned the horse legs drawing steps into smaller steps to make it easier to follow. The first step to horse legs drawing is to draw small circles at the bottom right-hand corner of your page, about a centimeter apart. These will become the two front joints of the leg.
These front joints should be the same distance away from the body, with the top circle in line with where the neck joins the head.
Now, we will draw two lines connecting the joints and the legs. These lines should be the same width as the circular joints. They will extend from the body to the last joint, but not go through the joints. Now, at the bottom of the lowest joint, draw a triangle with the base of the triangle facing the bottom of your page. This will serve as a construction shape for the hoof of your horse.
Step 8: Creating the Second Front Leg for Your Horse
This step will be similar to the step before it, however, because the horse is in motion, it will not be straight out like the other one is. In this step, we will once again draw two circles for the horse’s joints, but they will be positioned slightly differently this time. Using your other circles as guidelines, the first circle should be drawn behind the other two and positioned between them.
Now you can add the lowest circle, which will be positioned about a centimeter behind the top joint of the same leg, but in line with the bottom joint of the other leg. To create a sense of perspective, the front leg should be drawn slightly wider at the top than the other leg, as it is closer to us and therefore would appear bigger to the viewer. The other hoof will be represented by an oval teardrop shape added to the bottom of the lowest joint of this leg.
Step 9: Creating the First Back Leg for the Horse
By now the pattern should be quite apparent to you. For this step, we will be creating the back leg closest to the viewer. This time, the joint circles must be in line with the joints from the first leg we created. The bottom joint should be slightly in front of the top joint. The top of this leg should be slightly wider than the other one we are yet to draw, as it is closest to the viewer. From the bottom joint, draw another triangular-shaped hoof to finish off this leg.
Step 10: Creating the Final Leg for the Horse
For the last horse legs drawing step, we are once again going to start with our construction circles that represent the joints of this leg. They must be positioned slightly higher than all the other joints. Now, from the perspective of the viewer, draw the lines that connect the joints to the body, but leave out what we wouldn’t see from our angle. Add a triangular-shaped hoof on the last joint to finish this final leg.
Step 11: Creating the Horse’s Outline
We have finished the construction phase of this easy horse drawing and can now move on to the final details that will bring your horse to life. Firstly, we will outline the horse with a single outline. Use a dark pencil for this part and outline the horse, going around the construction shapes that you initially created. Start at any point and start outlining your horse, making it unique by adding a few bumps and contours that are more natural to the shape of a horse.
The legs closest to us will still extend further up into the body, as they are visible from the viewer’s side, whereas the furthest legs would be largely hidden by the body. You can accentuate the muscular form of your horse by adding lines around the neck and front legs of your horse. The joints should also bump out slightly to enhance the natural form of the horse’s legs. The head can be outlined by following the construction shapes, but leave out the dent between the forehead and muzzle.
Looking at our example below, add similar features to represent the mouth, eye, and nostrils of the horse. To add a sense of depth, draw in a few curves inside the horse’s ear.
Step 12: Creating the Perception of a Flowing Tail and Mane
Once we have completed the outline stage, we can now move on to creating the tail and mane for our drawing of a horse. We will be adding these elements in a manner that suggests movement to the viewer. Starting from the ears and ending where the neck meets the body, draw many hairs flowing backward to represent the mane.
Using the wavy construction line that we drew to represent the tail, draw several hairs that flow outward from the base of the tail and extend to the back of the page as if moved by the wind of its motion.
Step 13: Adding Final Touches to the Legs of the Horse
Now, we will finish the details of the legs by adding in some lines to represent muscle tone and shading. Working within the construction lines, add some rounded lines around the joint circles. Add a series of smaller lines to represent areas that would be in the shadow. Little strokes can also create the impression of hair where needed. Use a single diagonal line between the lowest joint and hoof to separate the two. Then, add a final shine to the hooves with a few select lines.
Once this step is complete, you can use your eraser and remove all the construction lines that might still be visible.
Step 14: How to Add Details and Texture to the Horse
Applying the technique we learned in the previous step, add more cross-shaded lines throughout the head and body of your horse. Be sure to follow the contours of the horse, and add more shading in certain areas that will help accentuate the muscular tone of your horse. In certain areas, add even more lines to create texture such as in the ears, under the legs, around the horse’s eyes, and on the belly of the horse. It is up to you how much texture you want to add, but if you want to keep your picture looking realistic, then do not overdo it.
Step 15: The Final Details of This Easy Horse Drawing
To help make your final picture look realistic, we will add some final shading to the horse using a black or dark grey color. Around the same places that you added textures lines earlier, add some further light shading around the horse’s body to help define the contours of the horse’s limbs.
Once you are satisfied with the amount of shading you have added, then you can put down your tools and take a step back and admire your finished drawing of a horse! It took patience to learn how to draw the more technical aspects of the horse, but it was worth the effort. Well done, you now know how to draw a horse step by step!
Frequently Asked Questions
Will This Step-by-Step Tutorial Make Horse Legs Drawing Any Easier?
The horse’s legs are probably the hardest part of their anatomy to get right, but if you use the basic construction shapes as shown in this tutorial, and you place them in the appropriate position, then it will come out looking amazing. Just remember that practice makes perfect!
How Long Will It Take Me to Learn How to Draw a Horse Step by Step?
That depends on your level of experience when it comes to drawing animals. There is no rush, though, so rather than set yourself a time limit, have the patience to learn slowly and enjoy the experience of creating art. The more effort you put in, the more rewarding the outcome will be.