Sometime last month, I painted my first horse in watercolor pencil, and decided I wanted to explore them further. Since then, I’ve found a few books that failed to inspire or help. Until now….I have two books to recommend to anyone interested in drawing animals, and horses in particular. I first learned about author J. C. Amberlyn from this wonderful post from Joan at Dusty Acres Studio, which inspired the heck outta me and made me wanna go grab a book by Amberlyn immediately.
Our library system owned this one: “The Artist’s Guide to Drawing Animals” and I was able to recently acquire it. I’ve not read the book, only skimmed it, but since I really want to learn to draw (and paint) wildlife accurately, this book looks to fill the bill perfectly. She breaks animals down into basic shapes, she explains skeletal structures, focuses on the eye, the nose, mouth, etc., of each, and I find her artwork inspirational and her teaching accessible to this beginner.
I may wind up buying this book, as she covers so many animals I’d like to become more familiar with, and it would make an excellent reference book in years to come.
OK, so back to today’s artwork. I ordered a box of willow charcoal some time ago after my daughter encouraged me to try charcoal, due to its forgiving nature. Boy, was she right. I really did enjoy using it, and although I think I was a bit heavy handed my first go-round, and had to put in some time with the kneaded eraser to lift back some light areas, I’m definitely willing to keep on with it. Anyway, this was my first try at one of her sketches inside the book (p. 74):
Even I could see as soon as I finished that the head was much too short. So I tried again:
A little better, but still a ways to go. I think the head still needs to come down even longer. Did I sketch in the three circles first, block out the head, as Amberlyn recommends? Um, nope, just went right in with the charcoal as I’m prone to do (act first, think later), but….at least now I have a book that I feel can really help me to progress.
I also want to mention the other book I found, called “Drawing Horses: Basic Drawing and Painting Techniques” by David Sanmiguel. This book was published earlier this month, and looks to be another great reference. It’s devoted to capturing the horse in almost any medium: graphite, charcoal, pastel, ink, watercolor, and more. As I said, both books look like winners, but if you’re interested in drawing animals of all kinds, you don’t want to miss Amberlyn’s book.
I hope everyone is enjoying the weekend so far. We’ve been blessed with near perfect weather, and hoping it continues! Peace and hugs to all. And happy creating. Don’t forget to do something special for yourself today. 🙂