Horse

Lately I've been under constant impression that I don't really improve despite sitting in front of the tablet for long hours. I didn't "study" drawing anymore even though I felt I really should. So I've decided to practice everyday, draw some study from photograph and see what I can do. And since it won't take long (I didn't plan to draw for more than an hour, it was just practice after all) I could record a movie for the process. That way you can see me drawing this simple horse portrait stroke by stroke.

Take a look at the movie and don't forget to download full version, which is in much better quality and at sane speed. Additionally below I explained all tricks I used and also provided the brush I used for download. Well, good luck! :)

..:: DOWNLOAD VIDEO-TUTORIAL ::..

Some sketch for the beginning. Of course I try to draw it properly and get an idea about the shape. I am not really a horses fan-girl so I don't have any experience drawing those animals and I am sure that something is wrong with it but this is just an exercise. It doesn't have to be perfect :D Doing something is what matters, right? So I draw this horse, trying to position everything on the canvas. Then I lower opacity of sketch-layer and paint very simple background with soft-brush. After that I plan layers for this horse, making a separate layer for each part of it. Every color I used here is placed on different layer. That way it will be easier to color the whole thing later on.

Horse Horse Horse

Layer with hair is then treated with motion blur filter - I am trying to get rid of hard edges with way. They would distract me too much and they certainly would look ugly. The way it looks like now - blurred by the blowing wind, perfect :D Then I create a new layer above the one with horse head and create a clipping mask. That way I can shade and color it freely, without thinking about the edges. This is a simple solution if you are in a hurry. Normally I would constantly erase those edges after painting over them. The fancy brush I kept using can be downloaded HERE.

Horse Horse Horse

And just as usual I add lights after shadows and color everything, trying to find the proper shape. I don't care about the detail for now since I am unsure if it will even look like a proper horse. For now I just want to see it as a 3D object.

Horse Horse Horse

For a moment I am unsure about head's shape so I play around with free transform and warp option. This is great tool to play around and see if some variation of the shape looks better than the original. If you don't like your transformation you can always cancel it. Working with detail starts now. At first I create dotted brush (I have a tendency to remake that brush instead of saving it) and make some delicate texture on horse's skin. If you are unsure about the brush settings, I recommend reading separate tutorial about it, you can find it HERE. After those dots I pick smaller brush and start drawing hair. I draw many separate lines on the new layer on top. It's easier like this, because clipping masks don't get in the way. But only detail goes there. Sometimes I use small round brush, sometimes smudge tool (strong one). You can see it all on the movie.

Horse Horse Horse
Horse Horse Horse

On the pictures below you can see how some parts of this drawing look up close. While I was painting I didn't really look at it zoomed (as you saw on the movie) but it's interesting to see how details build up from small lines and dots, which are not exactly pretty and calculated. It's pretty messy! But when you zoom out it doesn't really look bad. It's not always necessary to fix every single detail to achieve good effects. Sometimes it's just a waste of time.

Horse Horse Horse

On the outer parts, like side and back, I use a bit of blue, to make the horse merge better with the background. I also blur out all the hard (super hard, in fact) edges with smudge tool (just make it weaker and it will be very easy to do). Hard edges catch the eye and I don't want them clearly separating horse's head from all the rest. It would look strange. Also on the movie I kind of forgot to fix the ears so you can see them here. I used smudge tool to create some fur-like hair on them and that was it.

Horse Horse Horse

As a last thing (you can't see that on the movie) I adjusted contrasts and sharpened it a little after resize. And it's done! :) Try do draw your own and upload it on Hakeme! Good luck!