Let the reference lead you.
Study the reference photos of real horses you compiled to see where you should place items like the eyes, the nose, and the mouth on the circles in your sketch’s head. The same goes for the definition and shape of the horse’s legs. Trace around your simple circle and line shapes to replicate the muscles of a horse’s legs. Continue this process for the body, the hair, and the rest of the horse. If you decide part of your sketch looks off, you can diverge from your initial framework. Or, simply erase and try again — an easy adjustment when working digitally.
Add color and detail to your horse.
When your horse is fully refined, make another new layer by hitting the + button. This new layer should be above your sketch, but below your refining layer. This will allow you to color under your lines but above your initial sketch.
You can select different brushes when working in digital to add depth and texture to your coloring. From types of painting brushes to dry media, Adobe Fresco gives you access to many incredible brushes — explore different brushes to get the results you want. In the sample image, the base color was done with the Soft Chalk brush and the white spots were added on separate layers using the Live Watercolor brushes.
Fur details can also be added on a new layer using the Rough Pencil brush. There’s no wrong or right way to use layers or brushes, but there are countless options and combinations to inspire your creativity.
Whether you opt to go digital or sketch in a traditional medium, anyone can draw a horse if they put in the time to practice and use reference images. The same premise holds for drawing dogs or even roses — try those challenges next.