How to Draw Horses|Materials

In a previous article I gave a sample of resources and materials such as books and videos that could be used to assist in drawing horses. In this article I have moved onto looking at the actual drawing materials that you need.


How To Draw A Horse Simply

A question that is asked a lot is how do I draw a horse simply and easily. In this video Paul Priestly provides an easy to follow guide to show how to draw a full horse (there is another detailed video on How to Draw Horses by Mark Crilley that shows how to draw a horse’s head)


Starting to Draw Basic Materials

There are numerous materials that you could buy and spend a fortune on, just to get up and going, but int reality the tools you need are simple enough.

  • Pencils
  • Drawing or Sketch Pad
  • Eraser
  • Pencil Sharpener
  • Ruler (some of the drawing videos make use of grids)

After that it really depends on the medium of art that you want to use, is it just sketching or do you want to use watercolours or oils to paint with. Alternatively there are plenty of charcoal and pastel options.


Pencils come in a  variety of types ranging from very soft (B range) through to the very hard (H range). The chart below illustrates what the various pencils look like and show the differences in blackness you can expect to get with each type of pencil.

graphite grading scale
image sourced from

Most of us are familiar with the HB pencil which lies in the middle of this spectrum, however individual pencil companies tend to set their own internal standards for hardness and blackness. So a 2B pencil form one brand may draw slightly darker or lighter than one from another brand. It is one reason to choose a good quality brand and then stay with them as there is a level of consistency in their materials.

 The relative differences between pencils will always be similar so a 3H pencil will be harder than a H pencil, or a 6B will be blacker than a 2B.

Choosing a good quality pencil is important though, since common faults with cheaper pencils are that they don’t sharpen well, and you can end up with difficult to use pencils that are constantly breaking.

The grip of a better quality pencil is often nicer to hold, a bit like writing with a good quality pen over a cheap biro. The better pen provides a more enjoyable experience, and in art the pencil is a tool of the trade not just a writing implement.

Sketch Paper

Once you have your pencils sorted the next stage is a sketch pad. A pad has the advantage of keeping all your material together and can be taken with you on the move. It does depend though how you are going to finish your drawing.

Paper is often described according to weight, using a system of GSM or grammes per square metre, with the lightest 40 gsm for tracing paper and the heavier papers at around 300gsm, which are usually used for painting rather than sketching.

If you are going to use watercolours you need the thicker paper (usually 140 – 300gsm) to prevent the water draining through. If you are planning on using oils these need to be done on their own special canvas.

Other Art Materials

Along with pencils and paper there are some obvious other materials that will be needed, such as erasers and pencil sharpeners. Again look for quality since cheap erasers can leave unsightly marks on paper and poor sharpeners can damage pencils.

The other materials you might need will depend upon which type of finish you want for your drawings.

Watercolour Paints

One of my favourite mediums to use is watercolour which I think is a lovely way to add colour to any topic as this picture by Vineta Sayer from the Society6 curator site shows.

Vineta Sayer MA - Wise Eyes
Vineta Sayer MA – Wise Eyes available to purchase through Society 6

As with all art materials it is worth reading around for the best best brands and paying that little bit ore for decent tools to work with. Cheap watercolours and paper will not produce great results no matter how talented an artist you are. These paints from Amazon did receive a good review from an art teacher who wrote a lengthy review criticising many other brands (so these must be OK).

Along with paints you need brushes. Although top brushes can cost thousands (literally) what you are really looking for are good quality brushes in a mixture of sizes and types. This set shown here provides a good mix of good quality brushes that are also reasonably priced.

As with all purchases I would strongly recommend reading the product reviews from people who have actually purchased and used the goods and have some experience in what works best for what you need. The products listed here provide a guide but you may require something more specific.


Charcoal is another way of finishing off a sketch and adding more texture. This picture from Stephanie Stonato illustrates how effective charcoal can be as a art medium.

Charcoal Horse picture
Stephanie Stonato on Society 6

Charcoal can be purchased in a number of different formats, charcoal pencils are ideal for doing most of the work, however the sketch outline will need to be done with ordinary sketching pencils.

Charcoal pencils are not very effective for shading in large areas, and for this task charcoal sticks work better.



Next Steps

So these are the basic materials that you need to get started, the next step is to decide what you want to draw and what type of drawing you want to make. It can be a good idea to look at other artists work to see what really appeals to you, and which materials you would feel most comfortable using.


Further Reading

There are new materials being added all the time to the site, for the moment the following articles may help to give you ideas for drawing horses.

If you have any questions or wish to share your preferences for artwork materials please feel free to leave them in the comments section below and good luck with your own drawings.


  • Sofi

    February 17, 2016 at 11:35 am Reply

    Love it, love it, love it!
    I’m starting to learn how to draw myself and I absolutely love horses, so what a great combination in this post!!!!
    You have some great advice in here and your art is absolutely beautiful. I have different materials from the one you recommend but I think I might give a try to this ones. Your advice on the pencils is very very nice, thank you for that! Do you think as a absolute beginner I should focus more on the medium to soft pencils? I find the hard ones quite difficult to control.
    Best wishes,


    • Marie

      February 17, 2016 at 11:53 am

      Hi and thanks for your lovely comments although I must admit at this point it is not my art work in the video!!

      However as for pencils yes I would recommend soft B pencils for drawing, not too soft as a beginner but normally use between B and 4 B whatever you prefer (I like a 2B it does most things). Thanks again, Marie

  • cristina

    March 11, 2016 at 6:24 am Reply

    Very refreshing site. I love to draw and I think I am enough good at since I was child but your technique
    looks so simple to follow, so easy :))
    My nephew has also a video how to draw a taco 🙂 and she loves to draw.I will show her for sure your site 🙂
    I am sure she will try and she will love it :))
    Thank you and have a nice day 🙂

    • Marie

      March 11, 2016 at 10:06 am

      Hi Cristina thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, and I’m glad you enjoyed it. Please do share with as many people as possible and if there is anything else you would like to see covered please let me know.

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