Tag: horse

Banner Portrait

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9”x12”, graphite on Stonehenge paper

My annual summer slump hit hard in July, and I didn’t draw anything until a few days ago when I got the urge to sketch my husband’s horse, Banner. I did a fast sketch of this pose awhile back and wanted to try again.

I love using Tombow Mono pencils. The darks are very dark, and the lights are crisp. I think I only used the 2H, H, B, and 3B pencils on this drawing, so I doubt I’ll buy the entire set when I’m ready for replacements.

I started with a grid and sketched in everything very lightly and fairly unevenly with an H pencil. I then used the pencil nearly on its side with the lead at a flat angle to avoid sharp lines and to create a foggy, vague feeling. I kind of think of this stage as creating a grissaille even though it’s a graphite drawing. I used a smudge stick to lightly blend everything, mostly to cover the white areas. This step isn’t in the photo.

I swapped to a B pencil and added darker shadows. I then selectively smudged areas that are supposed to look soft, like the nose, under the eye, and some soft darks like the mane.

Lately, I’ve been adding in the eye at a later stage than I used to. So often when I draw or paint, I want to change things around or fix proportions, but having the eye nearly finished keeps me from big changes. Adding it in later allows me to be more creative with the full drawing.

Then I used my darkest pencil, the 3B. Tombow makes a darker leads, but on this paper, I like to stick with this one to keep from too much unintentional smearing. I drew in the eye at this point and focused on the nose. I also enhanced the darkest darks.

Finally, I get to the details. I used the hardest pencil that I’ve pulled out from my set, in this case the 2H. This is a fun stage because I get to pull out highlights and tidy up edges with a variety of erasers, and add in delicate details like the mane.

Categories: Art Pencil

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Photo References and Proportion

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9”x12” charcoal and carbon sketch on Stonehenge paper

I nearly always draw using a photo reference, the only way I can achieve a likeness. Well, maybe I achieve a likeness when I draw from real life, but a photo helps immensely.

What a photo often results in, however, is distortion. I know my horse well, and even though the above sketch I completed resembles him and even resembles the photo, it isn’t quite Pete. Pete is a Standardbred and has a rather long, Roman nose. This photo, taken about 20 feet away from him and zoomed in, created a foreshortened effect and his nose looks more like a Quarter Horse. If I were more experienced, I could change this to make it more Pete and less distorted photo.

Along with photo effects, I have some odd habits with drawing horses. I tend to place the eye too high and make the nose too wide pretty much every time. Believe it or not, I’m not trying for a photo real effect. My goal is to capture a likeness in an artistic manner. I don’t wish for my art to look like a photo, but I do hope people can look at something I’ve drawn and say, “Hey, that’s Pete!”

Categories: Art Pastel Pencil

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