June Brigman: Horses are very athletic, so it's important to indicate some bone and muscle. You don't need to be an expert in
horse anatomy. One way to understand how the horse is put together is to look at a book on horse anatomy and see how it compares to human anatomy.
A horse has a scapula, a humerus, an ulna bone. They have obliques and latissimus dorsi and quadricep muscles just like we do. Where is the horse's
elbow joint and how does it correspond to ours? The knee of a horse is like our wrist, the stifle joint is like our knee, the hock is like our ankle.
When you think about it that way, horses don't seem so alien. If you have access to a stable, go there and ask someone to bring out a horse that you
can put your hands on and feel the muscles and the bones pressing against the skin. Ask them to pick up the horse's hoof so you can look at the
bottom. Get them to put a bit in the horse's mouth so you can see how it fits behind the front teeth. Don't be shy, horse owners are always happy to
show off their babies.
Like good athletes, horses really move. A great horse can move like a cat. So make your drawings move, make them exciting. The nostrils should flare,
the mane and tail should be whipping around, the whites of the eyes should be showing. Drawing a horse in a scene is a chance to add drama and action.
There are many books on how to draw horses. But the only one you need is called "Draw Horses with Sam Savitt". Trust me, it's the best. I had the good
fortune to study with Sam one summer. He could draw any horse doing any thing from any angle, without reference. He was the author and illustrator of
over a hundred books of horse stories, an avid horseman, and the official artist of the United States Equestrian team. Not only did Sam know the
anatomy and movement of a horse, he understood their behavior and personalities. He makes horses come alive better than any artist I know.
Even if you don't want to make a career out of drawing horses, it's worth taking a little time to figure them out. Because if you can understand how a
horse is put together, you can apply this knowledge to drawing dogs, cats, deer, cows, all kinds of other mammals. Really, it's not as hard as you
think. And it might even be fun. So go for it, get in touch with your inner Mr.Ed.