How to Draw a Horse

how to draw a horse

Steps for Drawing Horses

If you've never drawn a horse before it may look like a difficult project. Simplify the process by drawing basic shapes for many of the body parts, and then adding detail and shading to each section, one step at a time. Use these steps to practice drawing a basic horse.

Create the Horse Body Shape

Create the Basic Body Shape

Sketch a large horizontal oval for the body, in the center of the page. This oval represents the main body portion of the horse, so leave enough space on the page for the legs, neck and head.

Horse Hindquarters Shape

Plot the Hindquarters

Sketch a vertical oval, a bit like an upside-down egg, overlapping the left edge of the body oval where the hindquarters should be. The top and bottom of this oval should be nearly the same height as the body, but half as wide as the body oval.

Horse Shoulder Shape

Draw a Shoulder Shape

Draw another oval, this time slightly overlapping the right portion of the body shape. This new oval represents the shoulder area and should be angled so the bottom right end sticks out to the right slightly. The shoulder oval should be slightly narrower than the hindquarters oval.

Horse Neck Shape

Create the Neck Shape

To outline the neck, draw a rounded, curved triangular shape with one end beginning just below the top of the shoulder oval. The other end of the triangle base should meet the shoulder oval approximately two-thirds of the way down the body. The full length of the neck shape should be about the same as the length of the body oval.

Define the Head

Define the Head

Draw a circle to the right of and just below the top of the neck to form the rounded cheek portion of the horse's head. The circle should be approximately one-third the width of the widest part of the shoulder shape.

Draw a small vertical oval to the right and slightly down from the cheek circle to note the nose and mouth area. Draw a straight angled line from near the bottom of the nose oval to an area slightly above the bottom of the cheek area to mark the bottom of the horse's face.

Draw a straight, angled line from the top of the nose toward the neck, then round it slightly and connect it to the top of the shoulder shape to finish the basic head shape.

Horse head details

Add Head Details

Erase the top part of the cheek circle within the horse's head. Erase the lines connecting the neck to the head and the inner part of the nose oval.

Draw an angled horizontal line for a mouth, extending it slightly beyond the length of the old nose shape. Make a nostril in a teardrop shape above the mouth, then darken the nostril. Draw the eye near the top of the head above the inner cheek circle line. Fill in the eye other than a thin sliver near the top, designating an eyelid. Also leave a small white dot in the eye to show reflected light, making the eye look more realistic.

Horse Ears and Mane

Draw the Ears and Mane

Draw an upside-down, curved "V" shape on the top of the horse's head, above where the head and neck meet, as the horse's right ear. Draw a similar shape to the right of the first ear to make the left ear. Erase part of the head line inside the horse's right ear area.

Form the horse's mane by drawing several elongated "S" shapes from the top of the head behind the ear, down over the top half of the neck. Add more of the mane on the top of the head by drawing a fattened, backwards "S" shape.

Horse Upper Legs

Form the Upper Legs

Draw two small circles, one below and to the left of the hindquarters shape, and one under the shoulder oval. These circles place the knees or joints in the horse's legs. The back leg circle should be slightly higher than the front knee circle. Connect these circles to the horse's body using long, slightly curved lines. The back of the rear leg joint should be slightly pointed.

Horse Lower Legs

Draw the Lower Leg Area

Draw two more circles, below and slightly smaller than the knee joints, to represent ankles. Draw the hind ankle to the left of its respective knee to give the horse a realistic stance.

Draw slightly curved lines from each knee to its respective ankle to create the lower portion of both the front and hind legs. Notice that the hind lower leg is longer than the front lower leg and more angled. Draw points facing the back of the horse at the back sides of each ankle.

Horse Feet

Draw the Feet

Create the tops of the foot and hoof area for each leg by drawing a line that angles toward the front of the horse. Draw the bottom of each hoof with a slightly curved line. Complete the back of each hoof with a tiny, nearly vertical line, connected to another short line pointing toward the front of the horse.

Draw a large arc that curves in, toward the front of the horse, connecting the back of the hoof to the back of the ankle on each leg.

Two More Legs

Draw the Left Legs

Draw the horse's left front and hind legs by copying the style of the right legs. Angle the left hind leg so it is in front of the right hind leg. The left front leg should be a bit behind the right front leg. For realistic perspective, the bottoms of the hooves on the left legs should be slightly higher on the page than they are for the right legs.

Connecting the Body

Connect the Body

Erase the arcs from each circle and oval that rest within the horse's body and legs. Draw curved lines to connect the hindquarters and shoulder ovals to the body. Erase the body lines where those shapes overlap. Touch up the shapes of the belly and areas where the legs meet the body, erasing unneeded lines.

Tail and Mane Detail

Tail and Mane Detail

Draw long, sweeping "S" strokes emanating from near the top of the horse's hindquarters to form the tail. Add shorter strokes to fill the tail out as desired.

Shading and Finishing

Shading and Finishing

Draw a curved line under the cheek to connect it to the neck, leaving the curve of the cheek for definition. Add tiny strokes at the back of the ankles to designate hair. Shade the horse under its belly, inside the left legs and under the neck and face for added realism. Add shading to imply muscle tone near where the hindquarters meet the body. Add slight, tiny strokes along the snout or wherever desired to designate hair or slight color variations to finish off your drawing.

Drawing takes practice, so don't be discouraged if your horse isn't perfect the first time you try. Once you get the hang of using basic shapes to draw, try creating other easy-to-draw animals.

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How to Draw a Horse