“Happy” – charcoal horse drawing

Say ‘hello” to “Happy” the horse!

My latest charcoal horse drawing along with a little information on how I rendered this piece.

I was able to recently photograph three quarterhorses owned by a local business owner, who has trained them for rodeo barrel racing. Her daughter is the rider and has started to place and win several races already this year in the state-wide high school rodeo program.

I recently drew “Sunflower” and now I decided to draw “Happy”. Of the three horses I photographed, this one was by far, my favorite. She was extremely gentle, loving and very playful. And she absolutely loved to be petted on the head and nose. I tried to bribe the owner in letting me take the horse home for just one day but that didn’t work out…sigh.

MATERIALS USED: Fabriano Artistico hotpress watercolor paper 300 gsm; Nitram charcoals and Generals charcoal; Wolff’s 2B and B carbon pencils; kneaded eraser; and my trusty teasponge.

I started out by laying down the base value using a Nitram B charcoal.  I then worked the charcoal into the paper in small circular motions. This base sets the overall “color” or tone of the horse from which I will layer other darker charcoals on top. The darker charcoals will be in small lines, hatched across the surface.


Once the hatching begins, it’s simply a matter of patience and time in order for things to progressively develop. I do not use the point of the pencil when creating the lines for the hide. I prefer to use the side of the pencil instead. That keeps the pencil sharp throughout the entire process.

I used some Wolff’s carbon dust for the buckles and metallic surfaces. I simply used the sanding block and rubbed the B carbon pencil across the block and collected the dust onto a nice clean sheet of scrap printing paper.  I then applied the carbon powder with a blending stump.

Below is the finished result along with a close-up photograph.



Well, that is all for today. Until next time…..


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