Learn How to Draw a Horse, Step by Step

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Learn How to Draw a Horse Step by Step

draw a horse - step one
Starting the drawing with easy shapes. H South, licensed to About.com, Inc.

This tutorial shows you how to draw a horse. This lesson is designed so that beginners can follow along without being daunted by too much detail. If you've already mastered the basics, you might like to try one of the more advanced horse drawing lessons.

Let's get started! To begin, we are going to make some guidelines to help us get everything in proportion. First, draw a rectangle, as big as you want the back of the horse to be. This will help to get the legs and body in the right place. Make sure you leave room on the left of your paper for the horse's head and neck. Make the rectangle a little wider for a short-legged pony, taller for a leggy thoroughbred, or square in the middle.

Next draw two ovals like these. Notice how they fit closely together in the top half of the square. One oval is quite flat, for the barrel of the horse's chest. On the right a sloping oval for the horse's hindquarters.

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Continuing the Horse Drawing

drawing the structure of the horse, adding neck, legs
H South, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The next step in drawing the horse or pony is to sketch in the basic shapes of the head, neck, and legs. This will help to get the basic proportions right and give some key points before you draw the outline or contour.

Draw a triangle for the horse's neck, a circle for the cheek and a square for the muzzle. That's all you need for now - we'll add the contours later.

Next draw two straight lines, for the forelegs, two bent ones for the back legs, with balls at the joints as shown. Draw short sloping lines for the horse's fetlocks (ankles) and triangles for the hooves.

If you'd like to learn more about how to look for shapes so you can draw any horse you like, try this lesson on how to draw horses.

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Draw the Outline of the Horse

draw a horse step three - outlines
H South, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Next, draw the outline or 'contour' onto the basic framework that we've sketched in. Now your drawing will start to look like a horse!

The horse's legs: first add lines to fill out the legs, with a big inverted triangle for the upper part of the back leg, all the rest pretty straight.

Head and neck: join the square at the nose to the cheek-circle to form the horse's head. Add the ear(s). Draw a curvy line joining the cheek to the neck, making the bottom of the neck-triangle a little fatter too. Draw a curved, arching crest over the neck.

The body: square off the horse's chest at the top of the foreleg. Join the chest and hindquarters on top and underneath with lines that curve in slightly.

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Adding details to your horse drawing

Adding details to your horse drawing
H South, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Now add some details to finish your horse or pony drawing.

First, finish drawing the horse's face. Draw the eye - basically a circle with a right-angled roof over it. Add the mouth - almost a straight line, with a little downturn at the end. The nostril is a simple curved line.

Finish the hooves by drawing a line to 'cut off' the back corner of the triangles. Draw a line near the top of each triangle to form the top of each hoof.

Lastly, draw the mane and tail. You can make the mane and tail long and sweeping, or make them neatly trimmed for a thoroughbred or show pony.

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Finishing Your Horse Drawing

the finished horse drawing
H South, licensed to About.com, Inc.

To finish your horse drawing, erase the construction lines, and make any corrections you feel are needed. Now you have a basic outline of a horse, ready to shade or color in.

In this lesson, we used simple steps to make the process very easy to follow. A horse drawn in this way is never going to be quite realistic because we are drawing the basic 'idea' of a horse, not a real horse. Horses vary as much as humans do. Have you ever tried drawing a generic 'human'? It ends up looking a bit strange and unreal. The trick to drawing a realistic horse is to draw just one horse, and to observe it carefully