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Learn How to Draw a Horse Head From 3 Different Angles

How to Draw a Horse

Stock Photos from Grigorita Ko/Shutterstock

Almost everyone remembers going through a “horse phase.” Whether it was sparked by a live encounter or from watching animal documentaries, it often leads to magical reveries of your own horse companion. So, why not put those fantasies to paper and practice drawing the horse of your dreams?

In this tutorial, we will go through the steps of drawing a horse head from three different angles—profile, three-quarter, and from the front. Then, for those ready to try something more advanced, there will be instructions on how to draw a full horse body. Want to give it a go? Then pick out your favorite horse pictures and grab your drawing supplies—let’s draw some horses!

How to Draw a Horse

Stock Photos from Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock

 

Finding Reference Photos

It’s good practice to do a bit of research before beginning any drawing. In the case of horses, it’s especially important to have a few good photos handy, as they’re rather complex animals.

Since we’re drawing a horse in profile, be very selective. You’ll want to make sure that you have a good view of its features with no obstructions (i.e. people, other animals, foliage). As we start drawing, keep in mind that there are many breeds of horses with varying shapes of noses, so always look to your reference photo first, as it may differ from the example shown.

 

How to Draw a Horse Head From the Side

 

Step 1: Lightly sketch the foundation

How to Draw a Horse Head

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole / My Modern Met

First, you’ll want to draw the basic shapes of the horse head. Lightly sketch a circle for the head and a long, oval-like shape for the nose. Consult your reference photo to see if you have the basic proportions more or less in place, but don’t worry too much if it isn’t perfect.

 

Step 2: Place the ears, eyes, and mouth

How to Draw a Horse Head

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole / My Modern Met

This step continues to look at proportion as we place the horse’s most important features.

So, you’ll want to add two triangle shapes a little above the circle sketch, almost where it connects to the neck—these will be the ears. At the very end of the oval shape, you can denote the nostril with another oval, and a line for the mouth. Since this horse head is in the profile we only have to draw one eye, but make sure its placement is closer to the ears than the nostril. You’ll want the horse’s eye to be halfway in the circle, not the whole head.

 

Step 3: Add the mane

How to Draw a Horse Head

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole / My Modern Met

At this stage, you can begin to carve out the final outline of the horse head from the circle and oval shapes you already laid out. Always keep your reference photo handy to see if you are going in the right direction.

Afterward, you can reward yourself with a bit of creativity in designing your horse’s mane. Wavy, straight, braided—there are many fun possibilities to choose from. Searching places like Pinterest and Instagram will inspire you with many ideas.

 

Step 4: Erase your guidelines

How to Draw a Horse Head

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole / My Modern Met

Once you’re content with the final drawing, it’s time to erase the basic shapes from the first step. At this time, you can look over your horse and check with your reference photo to see if any adjustments need to be made. You can also add the pupil and lashes to the eye, as well as other finer details.

 

Optional: Add a border and decorative elements

How to Draw a Horse Head

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole / My Modern Met

Even if you’re only drawing this horse head for practice, why not take one more step and make it a complete illustration? To make an easy border, all you’ll need is a ruler or protractor. For a square border, measure a box around the horse’s face. Alternatively, use the protractor to draw a circle. You can then draw small dots along the curved line for a more delicate effect.

If you want to fill in the empty space, consider adding some flora, like wheat, trees, or another animal.

 

Step 5: Go over the drawing with ink and/or color

How to Draw a Horse Head

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole / My Modern Met

If you’ve decided to go over your drawing in ink, then pull out your pen collection and find a favorite. You can either go over the graphite lines with the same pen for a consistent look or—if you have pens with varying nibs—try using a bolder pen for the horse and a finer line for the extra elements. This way, the horse head will stand out.

Remember to take a few extra minutes to let the ink dry before you begin erasing, just in case. After enough time has passed, slowly erase any visible sketch lines and voila! You now know how to draw a horse head from the side!

How to Draw a Horse Head in Three-Quarter View

 

Step 1: Lightly sketch the foundation

How to Draw a Horse Head in 3/4 View

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole / My Modern Met

First, you’ll want to draw the basic shapes of the horse head. Lightly sketch a circle for the head, and long oval-like shape for the nose. Then, loosely sketch the neck, making sure that it’s fairly wide. Keep your reference photo handy to check in with as you continue to build your drawing.

 

Step 2: Place the ears, eyes, and mouth

How to Draw a Horse Head in 3/4 View

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole / My Modern Met

This step continues to look at proportion as we place the horse’s most important features.

So, you’ll want to add two triangle-like shapes a little above the circle sketch, almost where it connects to the neck—these will be the ears. At the very end of the oval shape, you can denote the visible nostril with another oval, and a raised bump for the one slightly out of view. Slightly below, you can draw a short line for the mouth.

In three-quarter view, one eye of the horse is clearly in view whilst the other is indicated, much like we did for the nose. For now, gently draw an almond shape a little below the ear for the visible eye.

 

Step 4: Add the mane

How to Draw a Horse Head in 3/4 View

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole / My Modern Met

At this stage, you can begin to carve out the final outline of the horse head from the circle and oval shapes you already laid out. Always keep your reference photo handy to see if you are going in the right direction.

As you move along the bridge of the nose, pay attention to keeping a raised bump for the obscured nostril and the other eye. Horses have beautiful long lashes, so be sure to include a few in the same place!

Afterward, you can reward yourself with a bit of creativity in designing your horse’s mane. Wavy, straight, braided—there are many fun possibilities to choose from. Searching places like Pinterest and Instagram will inspire you with many ideas.

 

Step 4: Erase any guidelines

How to Draw a Horse Head in 3/4 View

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole / My Modern Met

Once you’re content with the final drawing, it’s time to erase the basic shapes from the first step. At this time you can look over your horse and check with your reference photo see if any adjustments need to be made. You can also add the pupil and lashes to the prominent eye, as well as other finer details to the nostril and mane.

 

Optional: Add decorative elements

How to Draw a Horse Head in 3/4 View

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole / My Modern Met

Even if you’re only drawing this horse head for practice, why not take one more step and make it a complete illustration? To make an easy border, all you’ll need is a ruler or protractor. For a square border, measure a box around the horse’s face. Alternatively, use the protractor to draw a circle. You can then draw small dots along the curved line for a more delicate effect.

If you want to fill in the empty space, consider adding some flora, like wheat, trees, or another animal.

 

Step 5: Go over the drawing in ink and/or color

How to Draw a Horse Head in 3/4 View

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole / My Modern Met

If you’ve decided to go over your drawing in ink, then pull out your pen collection and find a favorite. Consider placing a spare piece of paper under your drawing hand. This way you can go over the graphite lines without worrying about smudging the ink.

Afterward, slowly erase any visible sketch lines and ta-da. You now know how to draw a horse head in three-quarter view!

 

How to Draw a Horse Head From the Front

 

Step 1: Sketch the basic shapes

How to Draw a Horse Head

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole / My Modern Met

First, you’ll want to draw the basic shapes of the horse head. Lightly sketch a circle for the head, and long oval-like shape for the nose. A horse’s head looks longer and thinner in the front view, so be sure to confer with your reference photo as you work.

 

Step 2: Place the ears, eyes, and mouth

How to Draw a Horse Head

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole / My Modern Met

This step continues to look at proportion as we place the horse’s most important features. When drawing a horse from the front, it’s key to make its facial features as balanced as possible. Therefore, before you continue drawing, consider placing a vertical line in the middle of the horse head, and a horizontal line towards the bottom of the circle. You can do this freehand or, for more precise lines, with the aid of a ruler.

Once the lines are in place, you can add two triangle shapes at the very top of the circle, which will be the ears. Next, loosely draw half-almond eyes in the middle of the horizontal line, ending more or less at the circle’s edge. Moving to the bottom of the nose—place two oblong-shaped nostrils at the very edge of the outline.

After you’ve sketched all of the horse’s facial features you can go back and adjust their balance as necessary. If it’s hard for you to tell, try looking at the drawing from different angles or different distances.

How to Draw a Horse Head

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole / My Modern Met

 

Step 3: Refine the outline

How to Draw a Horse Head

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole / My Modern Met

At this stage, you can begin to carve out the final outline of the horse head from the circle and oval shapes you already laid out. Always keep your reference photo handy to see if you are going in the right direction.

Be conscientious of the left and right sides of the face. Horse’s have a rather bumpy face, so try your best to keep these features as even as possible. If you still have doubts, consider asking a friend for their opinion.

 

Step 4: Add the mane & erase unnecessary guidelines

How to Draw a Horse Head

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole / My Modern Met

Now that the hard part is over you can reward yourself with a bit of creativity by designing your horse’s mane. If you like longer manes, think about how it will frame your horse’s face.

Once you’re content with the final drawing, it’s time to erase the basic shapes from the first step. At this time, you can look over your horse and check with your reference photo see if any adjustments need to be made. You can also add the pupil and lashes to the eye if you haven’t done so already.

 

Optional: Add decorative elements

How to Draw a Horse Head

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole / My Modern Met

Even if you’re only drawing this horse head for practice, why not take one more step and make it a complete illustration? To make an easy border, all you’ll need is a ruler or protractor. For a square border, measure a box around the horse’s face. Alternatively, use the protractor to draw a circle. You can then draw small dots along the curved line for a more delicate effect.

If you want to fill in the empty space, consider adding some flora, wheat, trees, or another animal.

 

Step 5: Go over the drawing in ink and/or color

How to Draw a Horse Head

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole / My Modern Met

If you’ve decided to go over your drawing in ink, then pull out your pen collection and find a favorite. Once you’ve gone along all of the graphite lines, consider adding texture to the illustration to make it pop. Hatching and drawing dots are two easy ways to cover blank space in an interesting way.

Once the ink has dried, slowly erase any visible sketch lines and presto. You now know how to draw a horse head from the front!

Do you feel ready to try drawing the body? Then follow along to learn how to draw a horse step by step.

 

Step 1: Lightly sketch the basic shapes

How to Draw a Horse Step by Step

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole / My Modern Met

Just like we did for the head of the horse, you’ll want to begin by drawing the basic shapes of the horse’s body. Lightly sketch a circle for the head, and long oval-like shape for the nose. Connect the head to a thick neck which continues to the large circle of the chest. This will connect to a smaller circle by way of two gently sloping lines. Consult your reference photo to see if you have the basic proportions more or less in place, but don’t worry too much if it isn’t perfect.

 

Step 2: Add the legs

How to Draw a Horse Step by Step

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole / My Modern Met

With the abdomen in place, we can now turn our attention to the legs. Keep in mind that compared to their body, horses have rather thin and knobby legs, not to mention long limbs. Also, if your horse is in movement, be sure to double-check that the folded legs have the same proportions as the extended ones.

 

Step 3: Place facial features, mane, and tail

How to Draw a Horse Step by Step

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole / My Modern Met

Once you feel content with the general sketch, it’s time to place a few details. Since you’ve already drawn a horse head from three different angles, you probably already know what comes next.

Begin by loosely drawing two triangle shapes at the top of the horse’s head for the ears. Then, moving a little down, loosely sketch an almond eye. Afterward, you can go to the bottom of the nose and place an oval-shaped nostril. Just below that, indicate the horse’s mouth with a quick line.

Whilst we’re placing details, feel free to draw your preferred mane and tail. If your horse is trotting or galloping, be sure to have it flowing in the wind.

 

Optional: Add extra elements to the composition

How to Draw a Horse Step by Step

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole / My Modern Met

Since you’ve already drawn the sketch of the horse, why not take one more step and make it a complete illustration? An easy way to do this is to fill the empty space with foliage like trees, bushes, and flowers to the background. These extra elements will ground your horse and give the composition a sense of space and perspective.

 

Step 4: Erase unnecessary guidelines

How to Draw a Horse Step by Step

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole / My Modern Met

Since you’re making the effort to draw a horse, why not ground it in a complete composition? To do this, all you need to do is brainstorm an ideal setting for your figure. A meadow or forest are two classic settings to think about.

To take it one step further, pull out a ruler and draw a border around your illustration. You can add flowers or geometric designs for a truly fairytale feeling.

 

Step 5: Go over the drawing with ink and/or color

How to Draw a Horse Step by Step

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole / My Modern Met

If you’ve decided to go over your drawing in ink, then pull out your pen collection and find a favorite. Keep in mind that when you make an illustration in pen, it helps to have a balance of black and white space on the paper. For instance, if your horse is white, consider contrasting it with black trees or a black sky. This will make the horse stand out and result in a more pleasing image to look at.

After you’ve allowed sufficient time for the ink to dry, slowly erase any visible sketch lines and there you have it. You now know how to draw a horse trotting!

 

Looking for others who love drawing? Join our Art, Design, Photography, and Drawing Club on Facebook!

 

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. When she’s not writing, Margherita continues to develop her creative practice in sequential art.

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