Sketch Studies: horses and birds

Sketch Studies: horses and birds

Sketch Studies – graphite and colored pencils on paper

In addition to sweeping landscapes, I have a really hard time drawing most animals, especially the kind I don’t see every day up close. I can draw a cat out of my head, but horses? I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen any up close or in person. And although I am surrounded by birds, I rarely ever see one close enough to observe their markings or particular attributes. I must rely on photos if I need a model. Thank goodness for Google Images!

In the first sketch here I found some photos of birds in “Country” magazines in my studio, so I did very rough sketches to catch their shapes and colors. My mom wants to write a children’s book about the creatures she’s come to know in the back yard where she lives (my brother’s house in San Jose). She has all these delightful tales of the birds, squirrels, lizards and cats that visit the yard and wanted me to create some illustrations, or at least come up with ideas. So I am going to be studying these creatures often, and will post them as they come.

The interest in horses is mine, I have always loved their beautiful form and graceful movement, but being totally city-bred I did not have reason to see them enough to come to understand their anatomy. Again, bless Google for being such a wonderful artist’s resource!

Prancing Horse

Horse – graphite pencil on paper

Recognize this image, @breagolas ? It was such a great shot and such a beautiful horse, I had to draw it, just for practice, you know ;) hehehe

I looked up the bone structure of horses on Google and picked up several resource images to help me understand the movement of the horse, including some that were in poses for running, canter, walk, and standing. You can see my “skeletal” notations on the horse sketch above, pretty close to accurate (I was guessing at that point). I looked at the leg bones in particular and could make sense of them by thinking of the “fore-leg” as an elongated foot with one jointed toe on the end. That may not be anatomically correct, but it helps me visualize how the bones go together and relate to the spine.

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About Diamond

Yvan "Diamond" Strong (ww.tinidril.com) is an artist, poet, and musician/songwriter and Tolkien fan for over 40 years. She hangs out in the Shire as Diamond (of Elendilmir) or Diamiond (of Landroval), hobbit minstrels in the Lord of the Rings Online game. She lives in Oregon with her husband and too many cats. A retired preschool teacher, she now volunteers as an artist-in-residence at a homeless day-shelter in Gresham, Oregon (www.anawimcc.org) where she facilitates a full-service, free and open all, art studio twice a week.
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3 Responses to Sketch Studies: horses and birds

  1. Avatar of wolfloversk wolfloversk says:

    “I looked at the leg bones in particular and could make sense of them by thinking of the “fore-leg” as an elongated foot with one jointed toe on the end. That may not be anatomically correct, but it helps me visualize how the bones go together and relate to the spine.”

    Actually, I believe that is exactly correct. The hoof would be equivalent to our toes, I believe our middle toe or middle finger depending on which you are looking at. That’s the way it is with lots of four-legged animals.

    You’re sketches are nicely proportioned and I love the detail in the birds, you got the colors and markings right as well :) Both of those are local birds in my area. Excellent job!

    • Avatar of Diamond Diamond says:

      Thanks! If I can really learn the bone structure and relative proportions of the horse figure then I should be able to construct a horse without having to have a model for an exact position. A nice wood horse manikin would be really nice, but they are very spendy!

  2. Avatar of theviking theviking says:

    Very nice Diamond. I am endlessly fascinated by all the background work that goes into a simple sketch.

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