Clip Studio TIPS: How to draw a horse


Introduction + video

Hello everybody and welcome to this Clip Studio Paint tutorial!
Today I will show you how to draw a horse, starting from the skeleton. This process will
help you to understand shapes quicker and better from the very beginning.

Step 1: Drawing the base structure

Horses and equines, in general, tend to have very soft or muscular bodies, and we can start to represent this by dividing the skeleton into simple circles.

These will be the head, the chest, and the back (which make up the body) followed by the legs. We will create more lines for the legs (instead of circles), and use circles only to define where the different attachments are.

Step 2: Creating the shape of the creature on the skeleton

Now that we have our general shapes, we just need to follow them. Remember to keep in mind that we want to keep the softness to better define the muscles and shapes. To define the joints even better, you can try and use gem-shaped structures in the skeleton. This will help you get the right shape pretty much instantly!

When defining the details of the face of our animal, you have to keep in mind if the creature in question is a herbivore or a carnivore. Each type usually has something in common with all the other animals that fall into one of the two categories.

In this specific case: the horse's eyes are super soft and gentle, so don't use sharp shapes to create them. Keep them round and add a lot of lashes if you want to make them more realistic. Horses don't have a perfectly round pupil as we do, but depending on how realistic you want your piece, you can take this advice or skip it.

Now moving onto the ears. If you look at the ears closely, they look like a flower that's blooming. We'll start with the "body" of the flower that folds inwards, and then add the petals blooming on top.

As for the rest, this part of the body is soft too.

Step 3: Cleaning the sketch and drawing the mane

You can create separate line art for your piece or simply clean up your sketch, it's not important which method you choose.

For the mane of the horse, think of a line that goes straight in the middle of their neck, starting from between the ears. From there, create gentle strokes of hair that fall into the length of the neck and face of the animal. You can choose whichever hairstyle you like best, and then proceed.
As for the length, you have to imagine that in the middle of our line there's a "hair-heart", and the further you get from that line, the shorter the mane's hair gets.

Step 4: coloring our piece.

From fantasy or reference, select a palette of colors that you would like to use for the coat of the horse. I choose some warm browns with white dots to add a bit of personality and an more interesting coat color.

Simply apply the base color to your piece and create soft shadows (in a multiply layer clipped to the base color, or on the same layer by changing the opacity) following the lines of the body. Don't worry about being too rough in this process, for this is only to get the general shading.

While selecting darker and darker shades, start to follow the lines more accurately to create depth in your piece. Always leave a lighter shade in between point A and point B, as an example:

(Shade - Lighter part - Shade)

Now use a lighter shade to create a highlight effect and add even more depth to the piece. I usually use an Add (Glow) layer to make this process very easy. Simply use a soft airbrush and add light here and there.


I usually merge all the layers and use a blending tool to blend the line art (or sketch) with the coloring layer that I created. This process will add even more softness to the piece and it'll look even better and more complete.
To do this, right-click on the layers one-by-one and select "Merge with layer below" until your drawing is on a single layer. You can flatten the drawing by holding Shift and clicking the layers you want to merge, then using “Merge selected layers” from the right-click menu.

For the final step, I usually create an "Overlay" layer and let myself have some fun with different colors on my piece. As for the shading, I use a soft airbrush to add some interesting light effects.


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