How to Draw Horse Hair

Updated March 23, 2017

If you are an equestrian or animal-lover, you may wish to immortalise a favourite pet by drawing a picture. Or if you are an artist, you may wish to go into business drawing portraits of favourite family pets. In either case, many people have trouble drawing horse hair that looks realistic. Rather than spending too much time trying to draw horse hair from life, follow a straightforward process that will help you draw realistic-looking horse hair.

Draw in guidelines for the approximate area in which you want to draw the hair with a pencil of medium hardness; 5H will work for this purpose. You need to determine what length hair your horse will have, and how much of it you want to show. For a horse with short hair, make small, irregularly-edged triangles coming down the side of his neck to outline where you will draw the hair. For longer hair, make these triangles bigger and connect them together.

Shade in the area you demarcated with quick, short lines. Start at the top of the horse's head and draw several strokes downward, progressively darkening the shade by pressing down harder or using a darker pencil. Keeping the shade lighter at the top will create the appearance of sun shining on the horse's head.

Blend the edges of the guide lines into the inner lines you have drawn. Blend your lines by blotting them with a kneaded eraser you've pinched into a more precise shape, or rubbing them with your finger until they blur. The latter method will get your hands dirty, so be sure to wash them before proceeding.

Make highlights and lowlights. Trace over the very light hairs at the top of the horse's head that you drew earlier, until they darken enough to blend into (but still remain lighter than) the lower hairs. If they are still too light, you can blend them with the kneaded eraser. In general, highlights should not be perfectly vertical or horizontal, but will take on a more irregular form.

Add details. To complete your drawing of horse hair, use a lighter pencil (6H or 7H) to draw in more light hairs; make extra hairs along each larger hair you drew earlier by drawing hatching, or quick short strokes, along each larger strand.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Drawing pencils of varying hardness: 5H, 6H, and 7H work best
  • Kneaded eraser
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