New Drawing - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 01-11-2014, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: A small town in NY
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New Drawing

Two months ago, a horse I was very close to passed away. I drew this as a gift for the staff at the farm where he lived.
I haven't been drawing consistently for very long, maybe in two years I've completed six horse drawings? This is my first attempt at drawing from a photograph and not another drawing.
I know the ears aren't good and are too small - I put them off until the last minute. He does have the split right ear (not sure if you can tell in the photo).

Anyway, even though I don't have the drawing anymore, I would love some tips on how I could have improved it for future reference. Also, resources for horse drawing tutorials etc., especially for details like the ears, eyes, and nostrils would be great!

The drawing is not supposed to be *exactly* like the photo - recognizable as him but not a perfect mirror of the photo.
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File Type: jpg Smokey.JPG (79.4 KB, 65 views)

A horse is a mirror to your soul. And sometimes you may not like what you see. - Buck Brannaman
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post #2 of 7 Old 01-11-2014, 05:27 PM
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The proportions are great. The ears need defined more though, and shading in the rest of his profile much darker will even him out. As it is, the dark muzzle sort of takes over the sketch.

Beautiful job!

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be in your journey, but not all of
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post #3 of 7 Old 01-11-2014, 05:31 PM
Join Date: Jan 2014
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Hi, I also Sign. I find your drawing till present really. However, you could take around the eyes and the bones more color, do it quietly to dark. now it looks pale a little bit. But madly drawn.

Hope you can read my English, unfortunately, be not so well in it.

! ! ! Greetings from Germany.! ! ! : D
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post #4 of 7 Old 01-18-2014, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
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Thank you guys. I'm always afraid to go too dark. I wanted to show that his muzzle was dark and the rest was just shadow and structure, so I didn't want to push them too much.

The lighting for the drawing was kind of crappy - in real life you can see the mane is flipped over his neck (here it you can just barely see it if you squint) and his forelock is a bit more clear.

Anyway, thanks!

A horse is a mirror to your soul. And sometimes you may not like what you see. - Buck Brannaman
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post #5 of 7 Old 01-19-2014, 09:29 PM
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It needs to be SO much darker - depth and contrast is the only way you can get a lifelike, bold and pleasing to the eye portrait.
As you draw, block in the sections that are truely black - rim of the eye, pupil, in the ear, under the jaw, behind the jaw, nostrils etc etc etc.
Then figure out where the highlights are, leave them completely white - highlight in the eye, top of the cheek bone, tips of the ears, rim of the nostrils and shine along the rims of the eyes, and so on.

From there, you can start adding your tones in between.
Think of white as 0 and black as 10, all portrait work needs to have 0 and 10, and everything in between. You need to spread these tones equally, your current drawing shows a lot of 10 and 8-9s around the muzzle, but very little in the lower scale. While the rest of the head/neck is the opposite. Thus the viewers eye is immediately pulled to the muzzle which becomes highly distracting.
I am assuming the horse is grey? There is still an incredible amount of contrast in the white parts of a grey, which you can capture without losing the effect of a darker nose.

I suggest you go back and try to create some more depth in this piece, as the proportions are lovely so it would be a shame not to try and rework it.
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post #6 of 7 Old 01-20-2014, 05:37 AM
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I also hate going darker as i fear I'll make my drawings too dark. What i do is start out by first adding a light shading to the areas that are quite dark, then add i light shading to the slightly lighter areas, if the very dark areas dont look dark enough ill simply darken them up. Cause you can always go darker, but you cant really go lighter. Gorgeous drawing though, the portportions are great and the muzzle looks superb.

If I am not riding I'm thinking about horses, and if I am not thinking about horses I'm riding
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post #7 of 7 Old 01-20-2014, 06:01 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
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The problem with very gradually darkening is that often, you won't go dark enough or it becomes overworked.
Seriously, trust me when I say you should just experiment with trusting yourself to add the genuinely dark bits - your work will improve out of sight!! That realisation was the turning point in my own art, in both graphite AND pastel (yes same principal working in colour) - now I have a 12 deep waiting list on commissions, working out to about $4000.00 worth of work and about to increase my prices as a result.
Trust me when I say going bold is the key to improvement!
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