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How to Draw a Horse Step by Step

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What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial I will show you how to draw a realistic horse step by step, without any reference. You'll learn how to build its body out of simple shapes, and how to add all the details. And most importantly, I will show you how to achieve the right proportions for a horse's body.

1. How to Draw a Horse's Body

Step 1

Draw an oval for the chest. Sketch it lightly, without pressing too hard. This is supposed to be a sketch, not a part of the final picture.

horse drawing chest ovalhorse drawing chest ovalhorse drawing chest oval

Step 2

Draw a big, fat "6" in front of the chest. This will be the shoulder area.

horse drawing forequartershorse drawing forequartershorse drawing forequarters

Step 3

Gently sketch some space behind the chest to define the "waist"—the gap between the chest and hips. It's very small in horses.

horse drawing waisthorse drawing waisthorse drawing waist

Step 4

Draw an even fatter, reversed "6" to create the thickness of a thigh at once.

horse drawing hindquartershorse drawing hindquartershorse drawing hindquarters

Step 5

Draw a circle on top to define the edge of the hip.

horse drawing hipshorse drawing hipshorse drawing hips

Step 6

Connect both parts with a curve.

horse drawing back curvehorse drawing back curvehorse drawing back curve

Step 7

Outline the belly now.

horse drawing bellyhorse drawing bellyhorse drawing belly

Step 8

The main body is done! Let's add the head. Draw another curve for the neck. Make it slightly shorter than the curve of the back.

horse drawing neck lengthhorse drawing neck lengthhorse drawing neck length

Step 9

Connect the curve to the body with a straight line. Leave some space right at the tip.

horse drawing neckhorse drawing neckhorse drawing neck

Step 10

Draw the curve of the head. Make it roughly as long as the shoulder.

horse drawing head lengthhorse drawing head lengthhorse drawing head length

Step 11

Build the main shape of the head with a teardrop and a circle.

horse drawing head shapeshorse drawing head shapeshorse drawing head shapes

Step 12

Close the shape of the head.

horse drawing head outlinehorse drawing head outlinehorse drawing head outline

Step 13

Finish the curve of the neck.

horse drawing throathorse drawing throathorse drawing throat

2. How to Draw a Horse's Legs

Step 1

First we need to find the distance to the ground. The safest way is to use the height of the chest + some space for the hooves.

horse drawing distance to groundhorse drawing distance to groundhorse drawing distance to ground

Step 2

Sketch the direction of the foreleg.

horse drawing foreleghorse drawing foreleghorse drawing foreleg

Step 3

Mark the middle of the leg.

horse drawing foreleg centerhorse drawing foreleg centerhorse drawing foreleg center

Step 4

Draw the hind legs. The ankles should be placed slightly higher than the wrists.

horse drawing hindlegshorse drawing hindlegshorse drawing hindlegs

Step 5

Draw symbolic hooves.

horse drawing hooves simplehorse drawing hooves simplehorse drawing hooves simple

Step 6

Attach a circle to each hoof. This will give a shape to the joint.

horse drawing hooves advancedhorse drawing hooves advancedhorse drawing hooves advanced

Step 7

Add definition to the other joints as well.

horse drawing joints shapehorse drawing joints shapehorse drawing joints shape

Step 8

Create a basic shape of the forearms and the calves (that's right—the elbow and the knee are higher than you would expect!).

horse drawing foerarm calfhorse drawing foerarm calfhorse drawing foerarm calf

Step 9

Add more details to the shape of the calves.

horse drawing calves detailedhorse drawing calves detailedhorse drawing calves detailed
horse drawing achilles tendonhorse drawing achilles tendonhorse drawing achilles tendon

Step 10

Outline the "hands" and "feet".

horse drawing hand feethorse drawing hand feethorse drawing hand feet

3. How to Draw a Horse's Head

Step 1

Time for the details of the head. Start with a slim ear.

horse drawing ear shapehorse drawing ear shapehorse drawing ear shape
horse drawing ear detailshorse drawing ear detailshorse drawing ear details

Step 2

Draw a line between the ear and the tip of the mouth.

horse drawing head proportionshorse drawing head proportionshorse drawing head proportions

Step 3

Draw the base of the eye socket.

horse drawing eye sockethorse drawing eye sockethorse drawing eye socket

Step 4

Draw a big circle in its lower area.

horse drawing eyeballhorse drawing eyeballhorse drawing eyeball

Step 5

Draw a smaller circle inside.

horse drawing eyehorse drawing eyehorse drawing eye

Step 6

Draw the nose on top of the muzzle.

horse drawing nose shapehorse drawing nose shapehorse drawing nose shape
horse drawing nose detailhorse drawing nose detailhorse drawing nose detail

Step 7

Draw the mouth in the lower part of the muzzle.

horse drawing smilehorse drawing smilehorse drawing smile

Step 8

Add the lips and the chin.

horse drawing lips chinhorse drawing lips chinhorse drawing lips chin

Step 9

There are some interesting muscles between the mouth and the cheek. Draw them as an oval.

horse drawing head muscleshorse drawing head muscleshorse drawing head muscles

Step 10

Draw some more "muscles" between the nose and the eye.

horse drawing forehead muscleshorse drawing forehead muscleshorse drawing forehead muscles

Step 11

There's a bony protrusion over the cheek—a very important element of a horse's head.

horse drawing cheek boneshorse drawing cheek boneshorse drawing cheek bones

Step 12

Finish the shape of the eye.

horse drawing eye shapehorse drawing eye shapehorse drawing eye shape

Step 13

Add more detail here and there.

horse drawing head muscles detailedhorse drawing head muscles detailedhorse drawing head muscles detailed
horse drawing head boneshorse drawing head boneshorse drawing head bones

4. How to Draw the Details of the Horse's Body

Step 1

Draw some small ovals where the elbows and knees should be.

horse drawing knees elbowshorse drawing knees elbowshorse drawing knees elbows

Step 2

The forearm "cuts" very visibly into the arm/shoulder area, and the thigh has a gentle curve on top.

horse drawing arm muscleshorse drawing arm muscleshorse drawing arm muscles
horse drawing thigh detailhorse drawing thigh detailhorse drawing thigh detail

Step 3

To make both limbs look muscular, we need to add special outlines of the muscles. Start with the big elements...

horse drawing simple muscleshorse drawing simple muscleshorse drawing simple muscles

... and slowly add more detail.

horse drawing hip bonehorse drawing hip bonehorse drawing hip bone
horse drawing advanced muscleshorse drawing advanced muscleshorse drawing advanced muscles

Step 4

The torso has special details as well.

horse drawing torso muscleshorse drawing torso muscleshorse drawing torso muscles

Step 5

Draw the shoulder.

horse drawing shoulder bonehorse drawing shoulder bonehorse drawing shoulder bone
horse drawing shoudler bladehorse drawing shoudler bladehorse drawing shoudler blade

Step 6

The neck has many complicated muscles, but we can simplify it:

horse drawing neck muscle longhorse drawing neck muscle longhorse drawing neck muscle long
horse drawing neck muscle advancedhorse drawing neck muscle advancedhorse drawing neck muscle advanced
horse drawing muscular neckhorse drawing muscular neckhorse drawing muscular neck

Step 7

Finally, add the tail. It's not as long as you might expect!

horse drawing tailhorse drawing tailhorse drawing tail

5. How to Draw Details of the Horse's Legs

Step 1

Cut the lower part of the hooves with a slanting line.

horse drawing simple hooveshorse drawing simple hooveshorse drawing simple hooves

Step 2

Cut the back of the hooves to give them a more accurate shape.

horse drawing hooves shapehorse drawing hooves shapehorse drawing hooves shape

Step 3

Add a "cap" to each hoof.

horse drawing hooves caphorse drawing hooves caphorse drawing hooves cap

Step 4

Connect the hooves to the joint with some curves—deeper in the back and gentler in the front.

horse drawing hooves real shapehorse drawing hooves real shapehorse drawing hooves real shape

Step 5

The lower parts of the legs are very bony, with no muscles. So they should have a very clear shape.

horse drawing legs boneshorse drawing legs boneshorse drawing legs bones

Step 6

Add some muscles to the forearm area.

horse drawing forearm muscleshorse drawing forearm muscleshorse drawing forearm muscles

Step 7

Add muscles to the calves, too.

horse drawing calf muscleshorse drawing calf muscleshorse drawing calf muscles

Step 8

Make the joints bonier.

horse drawing bony jointshorse drawing bony jointshorse drawing bony joints

Step 9

Draw the little hollow under the Achilles tendon.

horse drawing tendonshorse drawing tendonshorse drawing tendons

Step 10

Add more details to the lower legs.

horse drawing special detailshorse drawing special detailshorse drawing special details

6. How to Finish the Drawing of a Horse

Step 1

The sketch is done, and we can draw the final drawing now. If you were drawing lightly enough, you should be able to draw the final lines over it. If not, you can either draw the final lines with a thicker, darker tool, or put a new sheet of paper over the sketch.

Let's draw the hair first, in case it covers some details. Sketch its direction gently.

horse drawing hair outlinehorse drawing hair outlinehorse drawing hair outline

Step 2

The outline of the mane and tail should have the shape of rough strands, not single hairs.

horse drawing mane tailhorse drawing mane tailhorse drawing mane tail

Step 3

Finish the hair with the technique described here:

horse drawing mane tail shadinghorse drawing mane tail shadinghorse drawing mane tail shading

Step 4

Outline the details of the head. You don't need to outline every "muscle"—just make a suggestion that something's there.

horse drawing face detailshorse drawing face detailshorse drawing face details

Step 5

Outline the whole body. Keep the outline of the muscles "open"—they're not separate objects, they're covered with skin!

horse drawing body detailshorse drawing body detailshorse drawing body details

Step 6

Finish the drawing by making some of the lines darker and "coloring" the dark parts.

horse drawing main outlinehorse drawing main outlinehorse drawing main outline

Good Job!

Now you know how to draw a horse step by step! If you want to learn more about drawing horses, don't forget to check out our huge tutorial on them—with advanced anatomy and detailed description of all the gaits:

And if you want to draw a magical unicorn, you'll love this tutorial:

how to draw horse step by stephow to draw horse step by stephow to draw horse step by step
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