Critiques on horses?

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Haylicka 10 years ago.

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    Hello! Before I get anywhere, I would like to say I'm sixteen, so forgive any mistakes. I've been riding for seven years now and I've been drawing horses since I could remember, so they've ended up being one of my strengths. Anyways, I was interested to hear what people had to say on them. They were done in graphite and each probably took about twenty-ish hours? (sorry for the bad photo of this one lol)

    I struggle a lot with white fur so any tips on that would be amazing... thanks!!
    I'm also looking into applying for VCUarts. Do you think that with improvement over the next year, a drawing like this would be considered portfolio-worthy? I know it's super competitive.

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    These are quite excellent looking! You have a great eye for detail and a good grasp on how to make effective use of pencil on paper. :) You're definitely going into the right direction here!

    There are two things that stand out to me and are important for portfolio worthy works. I'll try to cover both for you.

    1. Your attention to detail is a little distracting in some places. Especially in areas on the faces, above the eyes particularly, the skin looks really wrinkly. I think I understand what you're trying to do; shiny coats can have very stark contrasts between the dark and shiny parts, and horse faces have an uneven surface - it looks like you're trying to get these details worked in, but you get a little too enthusiastic and caught up in it.

    I think in this case, less is more! It would benefit your drawings to make the foreheads look smoother. I don't know if you're using photo references. Do you draw what you see or are you drawing (even perhaps just partially) from memory? Do you understand how shading and lighting works, or do you only draw what you see and need a reference to get it right? Knowing how you work with this might help us help you more. :)

    2. Horses are lovely creatures to study and draw (and even lovelier to ride and take care of!), but don't forget to broaden your horizons. If you go to a college or university, it is expected that you can produce diverse artwork and think outside the box. I don't know if you only draw horses or also focus on other things, but perhaps your next step can be to draw horses with backgrounds. Your drawings will come even more alive!

    If you study diligently and make efforts to improve, these drawings can easily go into a portfolio. But if this is the only thing you draw, I do strongly recommend also studying humans, other animals and environments. You can also practice with colors in different mediums. It will increase your chances of getting accepted and start you off with a really solid base!

    As for the difficulties with shading white, I think you did well. I don't have a lot of experience with shading white with graphite, but I do know that white has many *subtle* shades of grey. True white (from the paper itself often) is reserved for the brightest areas only.

    Take a good look at this photo. The horse is white, but every shape of its body is defined by darker areas. Transferring this onto paper is a simple matter of doing the same thing you do with darker colored horses, but lighter. It's a matter of practice.

    You can also use white pencil to highlight the brightest areas, but this is a matter of experimenting to see how that works with your style.

    I recommend focusing on fully white horses to get a feeling for the way they're shaded before focusing on patches of white on horses with mixed colors.

    I really hope this helps you out! If I'm unclear with something or you need more help, please let us know. :)


    Thank you so much for the quick reply and detailed critique! I do draw other things than horses, though I view these as some of my better work so I decided to share those :)
    In those drawings, I worked from a reference. I do draw horses without a reference but only in sketches, not when I'm trying to get a really detailed appearance with more accurate shading. Here's some other stuff I've been doing.
    This was an attempt at ink painting, and watercolors.
    This one's just a sketch with quick colors. I didn't use a reference which you can probably see since some of my anatomy was a bit awkward.
    I actually started this one at the beginning of this school year, around September.. But never really continued with it like I planned. But here's a better example of my pencilwork with people. I only had a ticonderoga on hand when I was starting it so it could definitely be improved some if I got out my nicer pencils. :)


    Your horses are fantastic. Lots of detail and great texture. I do think that the horse on the left and the single horse could use a little help with the eyes. Great pieces.


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