What are the Disadvantages of Drawing?

I don’t spend a lot of time checking blog statistics. Those kinds of numbers can be an addictive habit for me, and not a very productive one.

But I do track things like search engine terms (the words and phrases people use that lead them to the blog), and the places they come from. That information is helpful in developing new content and updating old.

I mention those things only because of the topic for today’s post and this week’s article on EmptyEasel. Namely, repeated inquiries asking the same essential question: what are the disadvantages of drawing.

What are the Disadvantages of Drawing?

Some version of that search term appears regularly on the list of most used search terms. Today (Tuesday, April 11), seventeen of the most frequently used search terms over the last 30 days use the words “advantages” or “disadvantages.” One form of the question is the second most frequently used search term.

Some of the searches are specific. Disadvantages of drawing lines, sketches, or still life drawings, for example.

Others are much more general. It all leads to the same conclusion: A lot of readers wanting to know why they should draw.

So lets take a look at some of the questions being asked.

What are the Disadvantages of Drawing? The Questions

Please keep in mind that the answers I’m about to share are my personal opinion. You may very well see other disadvantages to drawing. Indeed, you may think my answers are pretty flimsy! So be it! Drawing—and all art—is very subjective and personal.

Having said that, let me jump into the fray.

1: Disadvantages of the Drawing Process

This question appeared a couple of times in different forms. The phrase used here was the second-most often used key word phrase over the last few weeks.

I find no easy answer to this question beyond the matter of time. It quite simply takes a long time to do a complex and detailed drawing, even if you use modern shortcuts. Some of the line drawings for my large works have taken a couple of weeks to work out. Do enough revisions of the same subject and it can get tiring.

And frustrating.

Then there’s the shading, usually with further fine tuning.

If your end goal is the drawing itself, that’s one thing. But if the drawing is only the first step in the process, it’s quite another matter.

2: Disadvantages of Line Drawing

There is something almost magical about setting up an easel, putting a canvas or paper on it, and just producing a finished piece without going through all the preliminaries.

What are the Disadvantages of Drawing Line Drawings

For this type of artist, taking time to do a line drawing not only takes valuable time away from painting, but it may even quench the creative fires. By the time they’ve worked through a line drawing—even a simple one—there’s no longer a desire do the “real piece of art.”

I can understand that, though my empathy comes by way of writing. My second love is writing stories, but I’ve discovered that my brain thinks the story has been written when the story summary is finished. I can’t tell you how many fully developed summaries have gone no further.

If you’re that type of artist, then line drawing may indeed be a disadvantage.

3: Disadvantages to Sketching

To my way of thinking, the primary disadvantages to sketching are all personal—the excuses I give myself for not sketching. In my case, they are:

  • I don’t want to take the time
  • There are too many paid and therefore “more important” pieces to work on
  • I don’t know what to draw or don’t want to draw whatever happens to be nearby
  • It doesn’t contribute directly to my current project (whatever that project may be)

I still struggle with those “disadvantages”, but I also try to sketch frequently (I can’t yet say “regularly”.)

4. Advantages and Disadvantages of Drawing

I wrote specifically on this subject for EmptyEasel this week.

You see, once I got started, my thoughts on the subject went in several different directions. For a few more of those ideas, read What are the Advantages (or Disadvantages) of Drawing?

Whether or not I’ve answered the questions posed above I cannot at present say. Since some variation of the term appears regularly on the list of most popular search terms, it’s entirely likely that some of you also have thoughts on the subject. If so, I invite you to share them below. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

So, what are the disadvantages of drawing for you?

Drawing Distance in a Landscape

If you draw landscapes, accurately drawing distance should be high on your list of acquired drawing skils. Especially if the landscapes you prefer to draw feature wide open views and lots of sky.

In today’s post, I’m adding final colors over the far distance and middle distance.

Drawing Distance in a Landscape

As you’ll recall from the previous post, I sealed the under drawing with retouch varnish so bath tissue wouldn’t smear the greens while I added the sky.

I’m still working over the first layer of retouch varnish. I’ve been able to do next to no blending between the under drawing and next color layers, but there isn’t much difference between the way this drawing is shaping up and the way more traditionally drawn landscapes have developed.

Here’s what I’ve done so far.

Drawing Distance in a Landscape

Let’s divide the process into two steps. The far distance and the middle distance (otherwise known as the middle ground.)

The Far Distance

Step 1

I began by finishing the most distant row of trees. Because these trees are so far in the background, they look much more blue than the trees in the middle ground or foreground. That’s due to a phenomenon called aerial perspective.

TIP: Aerial perspective refers to the way air changes the appearance of things. The further away something is, the bluer and paler it appears. The level of visible detail is also reduced with distance.

Because the greens should be lighter, bluer, and somewhat gray, I chose jade green. I used a blunted pencil with light pressure to layer jade green over the distant trees with circular strokes.

Drawing Distance - Adding Jade Green to the Distant Trees

There isn’t much difference afterward, but every layer contributes to the development of the drawing. Don’t be discouraged if your drawings don’t seem to make much progress in the early stages. Drawing with colored pencil is a slow, but steady process.

Drawing Distance - Green Landscape with Jade Green Added

Step 2

Next, I layered limepeel over the distant trees and the patch of flat land in front of them. I used the same pressure—light—but used short horizontal strokes both in the trees and the flat land.

Drawing Distance - Green Landscape with Limepeel Added

Step 3

In order to correctly draw the distance, I need something to compare it to, so I layered olive green into the next nearest row of trees. Again, I used light pressure and circular and horizontal strokes. But rather than cover all of the area, I worked in the shadows and middle values.

I used the side of the pencil to layer olive green into the area beyond those trees.

TIP: When using the side of the pencil, hold the pencil near the back. This will allow you to apply very light pressure to the pencil and will be helpful in laying down an even layer of color with no pencil strokes.

Drawing Distance - Adding Dark Green Colored Pencil to a Green Under Drawing

Step 4

To finish the distance, I layered dark green over the most distant trees with medium pressure, then added slate gray with slightly heavier pressure.

You’ll notice in the detail below that I’ve added very subtle light and dark values to indicate the direction of the light and to add a little form to those trees. It’s not much. Just enough to show that they are trees rather than a solid, green wall.

Drawing Distance - Drawing of Trees in the Distance

Step 5

The grassy meadow in front of them was finished with yellow chartreuse applied with medium pressure in a horizontal stroking pattern. I covered the entire area, then added a few darker areas with dark green, also applied with medium pressure. Limepeel was then applied over most of the meadow.

Finally, I burnished with powder blue to duplicate the look of aerial perspective and softened the line between the bottom of the trees and the meadow by using sticky stuff to lift a little color.

The Middle Distance

Step 6

The trees between the distant meadow and meadow in the foreground were drawn with the same colors, beginning with dark green lightly applied. Next I added a darker layer of dark green applied with medium pressure. To darken the green, I used dark brown in the shadows, then warmed the greens with a layer of yellow chartreuse.

Step 7

My landscape drawings very rarely end up the way they begin. There always seems to be a course correction along the way.

For this drawing, I decided to create a hill in the middle distance.

So I added shadows with slate gray, olive green, a thin layer of dark brown, then dark green. I stroked each color along the contour of the hill until it looked the way I wanted it. I began with medium pressure and increased pressure very slightly with each color.

The sunlit area was drawn with limepeel and yellow chartreuse, then burnished with powder blue along the edge between the top of the hill and the trees. I used a short, up-and-down stroke across the edge to soften it. That wasn’t quite what I wanted so I added cream over the same area and in the same pattern.

Next, I burnished with short vertical strokes of olive green in the shadows, limepeel in the middle values, and cream in the lightest areas.

Drawing Distance - Drawing of the Middle Distance of a Landscape

The complete drawing.

So far!

Drawing Distance - Colored Pencil Landscape with Far and Middle Distance Completed

One thing I should point out is the risk of examining your drawings too closely. I’m not at all happy with the look of the details of the distance or middle distance. I don’t like the way the colors are working, the level of detail, or the gradations.

But those things don’t make much difference to the way the drawing looks when viewed as a whole.

Nor will they be obvious in the finished drawing.

It is important to pay attention to the way you put color on the paper, to the edges, and to the gradations in color and value, but don’t get so obsessed with them that you lose sight of the big picture!

Conclusion

Knowing how to draw distance in a landscape is key to creating a realistic illusion of distance. This isn’t the only way to create that illusion. It may not even be the best way, depending on your working methods and subject.

So I encourage you to experiment until you find the method that works best for you.

More Straight Line Drawing Exercises

A few months back, I published a post featuring a few drawing exercises designed to help artist learn better line control. That post and another featuring curving lines have been so popular, I decided it was a good idea to share a few more straight line drawing exercises.

Some time ago, I started reading How to Draw What You See by Rudy De Reyna. It’s an old art instruction book, originally published By Watson Guptill Publications in 1972. It’s not exactly state-of-the-art, but some things are timeless.

Drawing is one of them.

Each chapter represents a project, with assignments to draw and exercises to practice. It starts, as you might guess, with the most basic drawing element: the line.

The first project was drawing straight lines. Freehand.

I’ve always said I can’t draw a straight line with a straight edge. I have the evidence to back that up. Plenty of it. So I was skeptical when Mr. De Reyna said anyone could learn to draw a straight line.

But I’ve done enough practice with line exercises for straight lines and curving lines, that I decided the line drawing exercises in the book were worth a try. Below is one page of practice for the first exercise.

Freehand Line Drawing 01

I’d like to point out a couple things about these lines. First of all, most of them are fairly straight. They aren’t parallel, but that wasn’t part of the exercise. The exercise was drawing straight lines.

I also paid attention to the direction I was drawing. See the arrows on the ends of some of the lines? That’s the direction the pencil moved across the paper. For the most part, I drew from left to right. That’s no surprise. I’m right-handed and drawing left to right is natural.

I drew the vertical lines and diagonal lines by turning the paper.

What was surprising was that in some cases, it was just as easy to draw right to left. Look at the lines below. I drew every other line left to right. But rather than go back to the left and draw the next line, I drew it right to left. Much to my surprise, those lines are as straight as those drawn left to right.

In the end, the direction in which I drew didn’t make that much difference.

Freehand Line Drawing 01b

Following is the second page of lines.

For this exercise, I not only tried to draw straight lines; I tried to make them parallel. I also tried to connect them to create shapes. The longer lines outlining the series of inset triangles are the result. I drew all of those lines left to right.

Then I began filling in the smaller spaces by turning the paper and drawing more lines in random patterns.

Freehand Line Drawing 02

This section of lines (below) represents another discovery. It was easier to draw from top to bottom, moving the pencil toward me, than it was to draw left to right.

Freehand Line Drawing 03

This is an important discovery because it verifies what I’ve observed about my drawing habits for quite some time. Whenever I’m drawing repeating strokes to draw something like grass or hair, I usually turn the drawing in whatever direction is necessary to allow me to stroke toward myself and still draw a ‘bottom-up’ stroke (from the bottom of the blade of grass or strand of hair to the tip of it).

That might seem like a small thing, but imagine you’re working on a larger piece with a lot of grass. Your hand will fatigue from the constant and repeating motion unless you take a lot of breaks or find another way to draw. Such as changing the direction of the stroke. Stroking away from yourself instead of toward yourself.

Understanding this type of drawing mechanics will help me work more on those kinds of drawings. I can give my drawing hand a break without stopping work just by turning the paper and changing stroke direction.

And here I thought I was just doing a couple of line drawing exercises!

The bottom line? No time you spend drawing is wasted, even if all you do is put lines on a page.

So do some line drawing exercises and see what happens!

How to Draw a Horse Using a Grid

Drawing With a Grid, Step 1

A few weeks ago, I showed you how to prepare a digital photo for use as a reference photo. Another article shows how to put a grid on a digital image using Photoshop. Today let me show you how to draw a horse using a grid.

How to Draw a Horse Using a Grid

Before I begin, though, I need to let you know that it’s okay if grids don’t help you. They don’t help everyone. The fact is that drawing with a grid causes more confusion than comfort to some artists. All those lines! Where do you begin and how do you keep them straight?

I confess that drawing with a grid doesn’t always work for me, either. I had so much trouble getting perfectly square grids by hand that I finally resorted to making them in Photoshop!

But if you do like using a grid, I hope my digital grid helps you use them more effectively. Let’s get to it!

How to Draw a Horse Using a Grid

Here’s my reference photo with the grid in place. I chose red for the grid because it shows up the best on all the colors in this image. Click here to see how I made the grid.


I print the grid without the image on a blank sheet of paper and use this for the initial drawing. If the drawing is 8.5 by 14 inches or smaller, I print the grid full size. The grids for larger drawings are printed at a reduced scale.

I printed the drawing grid on 24lb inkjet paper, which is smooth enough for a good detail drawing and sturdy enough to allow a lot of erasing.

It’s also an inexpensive substitute for most drawing papers.

Drawing the Horse

Step 1

Rough in the large shapes. Concentrate on size and placement. Don’t worry about detail; that will come later.

Start with the largest shape first and add other shapes around it. The largest shape is usually the horse. Everything else is backdrop.

Don’t be afraid of changing the composition, even if you did compose the image with the camera and/or cropped or resized the reference photo before you started drawing. Cameras capture everything with equal importance. To the lens of a camera, the horse is no more important than the fences or trees in the background.

Eliminate details that complicate the composition or distract from the subject. Make background items smaller or move them around if that helps your composition.

For example, in the drawing below, you’ll notice that I simplified the fences to the left of the horse. There are now four simple rails instead of the confusion of shapes in that area.

I also moved the fence post from its position beyond the horse and under the muzzle to beyond the shoulder. I made that change because it’s less of a distraction in that position, but I chose not to remove it altogether to anchor the fence.

The lead chain has also been removed and I replaced the undefined shape over the horse’s back with a small tree.

Step 2

Draw the smaller shapes and define details. I like to work from the gridded reference photo on the computer so I can enlarge the photo to focus on whatever area I’m drawing.

I also generally start with either the eye or the muzzle. It’s important to get the eyes right as soon as possible, but it’s often easier to start drawing with larger shapes, like the muzzle.

Make the drawing as accurate as possible, working from section to section.

To help clarify shapes that are confusing as a line drawing, add a little shading. Nostrils, eyes, and ears are often easier to draw if you draw and shade the shadows in each area.

Darkening the outer edges of the subject can also set it apart from the background.

How to Draw a Horse Using a Grid Step 3

Step 3

The last thing I do on the drawing grid is outline the highlights and darker shadows. For this, I use a lighter, sometimes broken line. I don’t want to confuse the drawing by having all the lines the same thickness and darkness.

I also do a little shading to define the horse. Sometimes, it’s easier to shade than to draw a line, especially in areas where the gradation is very subtle.

I also use directional strokes to suggest three dimensional form. This helps establish the subject as a form in physical space.

How to Draw a Horse Using a Grid Step 4

Step 4

Once I’ve done everything I can with the drawing grid, I tape a piece of tracing over the drawing and transfer the drawing to the tracing paper. This is where a mechanical pencil really shines. It doesn’t get blunt, so every line is exactly as dark or thick as I want.

You’ll notice that the darkest lines are the outside edges of the shapes. Interior lines are thinner or lighter, dotted or dashed, or a combination. Since I don’t want to shade now, I use this variety of lines to tell me which edges are hard and which are soft.

How to Draw a Horse Using a Grid Step 5

I also used the direction, length, and shape of lines to convey an idea of the shape of the horse’s forehead, nose, and cheek. Again, you can do this if it helps you. If not, don’t use it.

This detail (below) is a perfect illustration of how this method works.

One thing I notice now is that I forgot to draw the buckle behind the eye. That’s a simple fix, so it’s not a big deal. But it does illustrate the importance of making sure you’ve transferred every part of the drawing before you separate the original drawing and the drawing on tracing paper!

Step 5

Once the drawing is the way you want it on the tracing paper, turn the paper over and review the drawing from the back. Flip the reference photo horizontally if it’s on your computer.

Looking at the drawing and reference photo this way gives you a fresh look at your subject. There’s nothing like looking at something in reverse to see what mistakes you may have made.

And if you happen to have a left- or right-hand bias—as I do—working on your drawing from the back helps compensate for the bias.

You can also hold the drawing up in front of a mirror if that works better.

You may not need to do much work this way. The red lines in this illustration show my corrections.

How to Draw a Horse Using a Grid Step 8

Step 6

When your drawing is satisfactory, mount a clean sheet of tracing over it and make a fresh drawing. This will be your transfer drawing. When you’ve finished with it, put it into storage. You don’t have to keep it beyond getting the artwork finished if you don’t want to, but I keep all of my drawings. Especially with portraits, I just never know when those line drawings might come in handy!

Here’s my final line drawing.

How to Draw a Horse Using a Grid Step 9

Before proceeding to the next step, I usually mount the drawing in a working mat of the proper size, then let it sit somewhere for a day or more so I can review it. This is my last chance to make corrections to the line drawing. When I’m convinced there are no further changes to be made, it’s ready to be transferred to good paper.

That’s How I Draw a Horse using a Grid

Now you can draw your own horse using a grid.

Or anything else you care to draw!

Drawing with a grid is a versatile tool for many artists. Creating grids on digital photos makes using a grid even more versatile for many of us!

I hope it helps you too!

How to Draw Horse Legs and Feet

How to Draw the Legs and Feet of Horses Step 2

Knowing how to draw horse legs and feet accurately is as important as drawing an accurate likeness of the horse’s head. Especially if you’re a portrait artist. Why?

BA horse’s feet are nearly as distinctive to each horse as human fingerprints are to each person. Bone structure, body type, and genetics all play a role in the shape of the natural hoof, how it strikes the ground, and it’s position throughout the stride.

In other words, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits all foot for the artist who is interested in painting individual horses.

How to Draw Horse Legs and Feet

A Personal Story

For the longest time, all my horses appeared in tall grass or water or were painted or drawn in poses that didn’t require feet. I hated drawing feet because I could never get them right.

But practice really does make better, and over the years, skills at drawing feet improved. Hoofs are now among my favorite horse parts to draw

Hopefully, this tutorial will help you find the same enjoyment in producing a solid, believable foot.

Let’s go!

How to Draw Horse Legs and Feet

Drawings are developed through a series of stages beginning with a full-size grid drawn or printed on drawing paper. I try to make the squares as large as possible and still retain the ability to capture finer details.

Step 1-3: Getting the basic shapes on paper.

In the illustration above, we’re looking at the third step in the drawing process. The grid was printed on drawing paper and the first stage of the drawing was done in Verithin Non Photo Blue pencil. That shade of blue doesn’t photograph very well, but it’s ideal for the first phase of drawing because it’s easy to erase and easy to work over. At the blue stage, my goal is placing the large shapes in the correct sizes and positions on the paper.

For the next step, I used Prismacolor Vermilion Red/Pale Vermilion to begin fine-tuning the lines. I worked throughout the drawing, reshaping and re-positioning as necessary.

Step 4: Making corrections as needed.

The flexed front leg is one step beyond. I stopped using the reference photo with the grid and relied more on the enlarged (11×14) original photo at this stage.

I’m still correcting the line drawing, but I’ve also begun establishing shape and contour by adding value. I keep the values light even at this stage, because I am still drawing.

But I had drawn this foot in profile based on what I could see in the gridded 8×10 photo, and when I looked at the enlargement, I realized the foot is actually tipped outward so the shoe and a bit of the sole of the foot is visible. That required redrawing that area.

I also noticed that the shin boot doesn’t cover the fetlock on the outside, so I had to correct that area. To keep the lines and shapes in correct order, I added the shading.

The image below gives you a better idea of how the leg took shape through the first four phases of drawing.

Draw Horse Legs and Feet - Detail

NOTE: I haven’t bothered to erase previous lines. The drawing is built on each phase of work and unless there’s a major error, no erasing is done until the final version.

Step 5: Refining the drawing and adding details.

How to Draw Horse Legs and Feet - Step 2


Once the drawing is in place on the paper, the process becomes a matter of refining the shapes and adding detail, one layer after another.

I defined the details in the two extended feet. The shoes have been drawn and I’ve added shading to the hooves to give them mass and shape.

I also shaded the fetlocks on both legs and, although you can’t see it, I shaded into the upper legs. As in the previous step, pressure is kept light and the color layer is thin and light enough to be erasable.

Step 6: Adding darker values to further define the legs and feet.

In this step, I started adding darker values. Technically, I’m still drawing, but because the lines between highlights and shadows can get confusing, shading helps establish those edges more clearly.

Take note that the hooves are unique shapes. The two front hooves are very similar shapes, but the angle of the foot changes the shape.

The back foot is not the same shape. This horse has a blockier back hoof. Because this is a portrait of a specific horse, I’m taking special care to draw each part the way it appears in the reference photograph.

Step 7: Transferring the drawing to fresh paper.

How to Draw Horse Legs and Feet - Step 4

When the original drawing is as finished as I can make it, it’s time to lay a fresh sheet of tracing paper over the drawing and make a new one.

This will be the drawing I photograph for the client if they get an electronic proof, so it needs to be as clean and crisp as possible. If they’re getting a full-size physical drawing, this will be the second to last step. The client drawing will be the final step.

The photo above shows the front legs and the cast shadow drawn on the new sheet of paper. I work through each area carefully, making sure the line is crisp and dark enough to photograph. Accuracy is of major concern so even at this point, I continue to compare the drawing and the reference photograph. I take measurements if necessary, and erase and make changes as I go.

How to Draw Horse Legs and Feet - Detail of Final Drawing

Because this is a pretty intense part of the process, I tend to work in short sessions. I work standing up, so my legs and back need frequent breaks. So do my eyes. It’s better to work in shorter sessions than to push through a long session and risk getting impatient. Mistakes happen in moments of impatience. It’s best to avoid them.

No drawing is ever complete until the painting is finished. Tweaking continues until the signature is in place.

But a good drawing provides a clear road map for the painting. With a paid portrait, it also gives the client an idea of the composition of their portrait.

Muscle Hill

Now that You’ve Seen How to Draw Horse Legs and Feet…

You can draw any horse portrait with confidence.

The finished portrait for this tutorial was an oil painting, but this drawing method is a good way to start any project in any two-dimensional medium.

It’s also a great way to improve your skills at drawing any horse.

Or any other subject, for that matter.

How to Draw a Horse Hoof

How to Draw a Horse's Hoof - Step 3

Even if your all-time favorite thing to draw is a horse, you probably don’t love drawing the feet. Learning how to draw a horse hoof was among the biggest challenges I faced when I decided to become a horse portrait artist.

I suppose that’s why I spent so many years drawing heads!

If you have the same difficulties, it’s time to take the bit in your teeth and get over this obstacle!

Are you ready? Let’s go!

There are any number of ways to draw a horse’s feet. Front, side, back, just to name a few. Then there’s the foot in motion. How do you begin to tackle all those positions and angles?

The best way to begin is by learning how to draw better feet standing still. So that’s our subject today.

As Unique as Fingerprints

A horse’s hoof structure is as unique as a human fingerprint. While the general shape may be the same or similar, the relationship of size, slope, heel, toe, and a number of other details are unique from one horse to the next; sometimes from one hoof to the next.

If you’re working on a conformation pose such as Salt Lake in Colored Pencil, getting the shape of each hoof correct is as important as getting the hip or shoulder right. It’s less important in an action image, but it is still important.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you step-by-step how to draw a standing hoof based on this reference photo.

How to Draw a Horse Hoof - Reference

NOTE: This tutorial is all about making the line drawing. Whether you paint or draw, an accurate line drawing is the first step in creating realistic artwork. The steps I’m about to show you can be used with any hoof in any position. The fact of the matter is that these steps can be used with any subject!

Let’s get started!

How to Draw a Horse Hoof Step-by-Step

Step 1: Begin with the big, basic shapes.

Start with the overall shape, and begin by taking a good look at your reference photo. How long is the toe? How shallow is the heel? What angles are created between hoof and ankle?

Using light pressure and a medium softness drawing pencil (2H, HB or F, 2B) or a colored pencil that’s light in color, sketch the basic contours. Don’t be afraid to erase and redraw as many times as necessary to get a good likeness.

I used an F graphite pencil. At this stage, I’ve drawn and redrawn the hoof to get the best possible shape and position. The lighter lines are the first lines. The darker lines are the corrections and refinements that followed.

How to Draw a Horse Hoof - Step 1

Step 2: Begin adding details to the basic shapes.

Once you have the overall shape in place, begin placing details like the coronet band (the ring around the top of the hoof.) Take your time working through this part of the process.

If it helps to do multiple drawings on tracing paper, take the time to do that. Lay a fresh piece of tracing paper over the current drawing and transfer the drawing. Refine it as you transfer it.

You can then work on the drawing from the front and the back, which helps correct any right-hand or left-hand drawing bias you might have.

Repeat the process as often as necessary because this is the best way not only to get an accurate drawing of this particular hoof, but to learn the basic structure for all hooves.

How to Draw a Horse Hoof - Step 2

Step 3: Add smaller and smaller details each time you rework the line drawing.

When you’re satisfied with Step 2, start with a fresh sheet of tracing paper. This time, as you transfer the drawing, begin adding smaller details. Add stripes or other markings on the hoof. Add leg markings if there are any. Don’t forget the growth rings and the shoe, if the horse is shod.

You can even do a little modeling if you want, just to check the three-dimensionality of the drawing.

For this stage, I switched to a 6B graphite pencil to get a good, solid line drawing.

I also used a variety of line types to develop the drawing. Solid, slightly darker lines mark the outside edges and edges between shapes. I outlined the highlight on the hoof with a dotted line. Short, vertical strokes define the line between hair and hoof as well as the white marking.

I drew shadows with a heavier line. The softer lead pencil facilitated the different types of lines I used.

How to Draw a Horse Hoof - Step 3

TIP: I use line darkness and type to draw the various parts of a subject because it’s less confusing than using a similar line to draw everything. I learned this method when I learned how to draw pictorial depth in a Craftsy course on landscape drawing. Since then, I’ve discovered it has a variety of uses.

It’s not as important with simple drawings like this, but it is very useful in more complex compositions.

The Finished Drawing

Whether you continue working with graphite for a finished study, or create a study in another medium, you’re now ready for the finishing work.

Learning More About Drawing Hoofs

I recommend hoof studies for every work you do that shows feet, especially portraits.

Every hoof is different and unique. A discerning and involved horse lover may very well be able to see that the hoof in your artwork is not their horse’s hoof.

How to Draw a Horse Hoof - Study of Horse Feet

Whether you draw from life or from photographs, every hoof you draw will help you draw the next one more accurately.

And let’s face it, if you know how to draw a horse’s hoof, you can pretty much draw anything!