Since several years I’m trying to draw horses, but are not yet satisfied with the results.
All those who have tried to do this at least once, knows the difficulty of portraying these wonderful animals. I used to say that drawing men and dogs is the same: if you do something wrong, the subject acquires temper, however, drawing women is like to draw horses: if you fail a proportion, the result is a disaster .
The harmony of the proportions of a horse is quite complex and not always obvious. A fundamental book on this subject is “Draw Horses with Sam Savitt“, Viking Press, NY, 1991. Into it, one of the most important horse illustrators describes, not only the anatomy and conformation of various kinds of horse, but also all walkings – natural or by dressage – and how to learn to observe these animals.
However, as with any subject, parallel to the theoretical study, it would be essential to drawing from life. This summer my wife and I have visited a riding school for a female competition. I took advantage to make some sketches. By live, you can see many details that are not so obvious in books, such as that the head of the horse carried at right angle to the line of the neck or the same jawbone has, in profile, the shape of a right triangle.
Of course, great artists can indulge in exceptions about this: Frank Frazetta, the greatest fantasy illustrator, was able to paint horses with any anatomical “errors”, but absolutely natural, nervous and powerful.