Horse Anatomy Drawing

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STEP 1. Skeleton - I'm going to dissect this horse anatomy from bone to flesh. Let's observe the skeleton of a basic generic horse. Notice how the bones of a horse are as complex as say a human or a dog. Though this isn't an exact replica of an equine skeletal structure, it's a basic layout of what it generally looks like. The rib cage is the largest set of bones on the horse, which explains the massive and muscular chest to support those legs. It would be pretty helpful to use these diagrams for future reference if you'd want to 'zombifiy' a horse, or need an equine skeletal reference for a gory scene. Whatever the use, study various poses and angles of these creatures in a skeletal format (which may be difficult since Google is rather limited with things such as that). Having a wide variety of references is crucial for a successful artist's palette.   STEP 2. Organs - Here's a simplistic breakdown of a equine's organs. Notice there isn't much here, just the basics. The noticeable difference with a equine's set of organs, is the massive size of the lungs and heart, which is a completely different than say a dog's or cat's. Because horses are running animals and have been used as travel tools throughout most of human civilization, they will have a more powerful chest and hind-legs to support the constant movement of these creatures. This reference would be great to use if you're drawing again, gory scenes or some sort of macabre which requires references of horse organs.   STEP 3. The Muscular Anatomy - Here's another breakdown of the muscular components that dress the horse.   STEP 4. Before we begin any lesson, you must first reference and observe horse hooves. You must always scrutinize how the ergot, heel and hoof is structured. The above picture clearly shows you the three most strongest and noticeable points of a hoof. Knowing exactly where to place these is critical.   STEP 5. Let's take a peak at how the structure of the hoof is shaped from the front and slightly ¾ view. Notice how the upper ankle starts the curve, and stems out into the bulkiness of the hoof. If you were look at the hoof from the side, the 'ankle' forms what is called the 'ergot', basically the hook which protrudes from the upper side of the hoof. Because the hoof is separated by light turfs of hair, you must draw light detailing lines to indicate this.   STEP 6. When using thin lines to detail the definition of the ankle (ergot), you must be aware that there is a groove which bubbles out from the side. Remember I mentioned that ''the ankle forms what is called the ergot from the side view”? This is what I was talking about, 'the ergot groove'. If you're shooting for a realistic drawing of a horse, be aware of the various details that is required to draw like mentioned in the image above. For example, using light detailing strokes for the furry seam of the hoof and the light line detailing for the hoof nail definition.   STEP 7. Now, since many amateur artists make the same mistake of placing the ergot too high or too low, I sketched up a few examples that will show you where to place it correctly. The first incorrect way, is drawing the ergot too high up as well as too small of a size. The ergot looks too small, anatomically incorrect as the horse wouldn't be able to balance correctly compared to its weight. The second incorrect way, is to draw the ergot too pointy and low. This is also unrealistically impossible to balance a 1 ton horse. The correct way, would to draw the ergot, at the very middle of the fetlock, with proportioned size, and a nice seamless curve which transitions into the hoof. Perfect!   STEP 8. So what about the 'Dos and Don'ts' of the hoof shape? Here, I list a few examples that I observe many novice artists make. Notice how all the hooves are out of proportions compared the realistic way they're suppose to be drawn. These variations would be tolerable if the horse was drawn in an extreme cartoon style. Make sure when you draw the hoof, that there is a slight and healthy 'bump' which curves outwards (like an unified canine paw), and creates a slightly flat line to form the base and then curves back up to form the sharp ergot. Perfect hoof shape!   STEP 9. If you prefer drawing simplified hooves, here's a few examples on one of the many styles to draw simplified hooves. There is very few lines to detail the hooves and legs. This type of style would fit perfectly for cartoon drawings of horses.   STEP 10. Here, I label various important features to highlight when drawing the massive head and neck of a horse. Study this well!   STEP 11. Here's a lovely diagram of the horses's head from the front view. Study the shape of the head and how it narrows once it shapes out into the mouth.   Step 1. Step 2. Step 3. Step 4. Step 5. Step 6. Step 7. Step 8. Step 9. Step 10. Step 11.