Straightforward Watercolor Horse: Portray The Secretariat

Pace together with artist William “Invoice” Dunn on this simple watercolor horse tutorial that includes the well-known racehorse, the Secretariat. Additionally, you will study fast and easy tips to show one thing that appears difficult right into a enjoyable portray experiment. Need to watch the video model? The total tutorial is obtainable to members of our Watercolor University.

Supplies Used In This Watercolor Class:

  • Reference image of the Secretariat in motion (click on here for Invoice’s image)
  • A block of Arches scorching press watercolor paper (140lb, dimension 16″ x 12″)
  • Pentel Graphgear 1000 automated drafting pencil, 0.7mm lead dimension with 2B lead
  • ¾” Artist’s or masking tape
  • Portray palette for watercolor paints
  • Auxiliary plate or palette for gouache paint
  • 2 containers of water
  • Paper towels or a rag
  • A tabletop easel or a field to prop your portray on

Paints (Holbein Artists’ Watercolors)

  • Cadmium Purple Purple
  • Cobalt Violet Gentle (a.okay.a. “Lavender”)
  • Mineral Violet
  • Viridian
  • Peacock Blue (a.okay.a “Cerulean Blue”)
  • Cobalt Blue Hue
  • Indigo
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Burnt Umber
  • Impartial Tint

Winsor & Newton’s Skilled Watercolors

  • Everlasting Carmine
  • Everlasting Mauve (or Sennelier’s Cobalt Violet Deep Hue watercolor paint)
  • Oxide of Chromium
  • French Ultramarine

Holbein Artists’ Designer Gouache


  • Neef Rigger Supreme Taklon Collection: Lengthy deal with rigger brush (no. 6)
  • Escoda Perla Joseph Zbukvic Collection: Spherical brush (no. 8)
  • Escoda Perla Joseph Zbukvic Collection: Spherical brush (no. 12)
  • Escoda Perla Joseph Zbukvic Collection: Spherical brush (no. 20)
  • Winsor & Newton’s Cotman Brush Collection 333: Rigger brush (no. 3)

Step 1: Proportions Of A Horse And His Jockey


To begin off, body your paper utilizing artist’s tape. The tape will create a clear white border round your portray, setting it up for potential framing functions later. While you’re executed, you possibly can start translating the reference picture right into a easy sketch.  

Begin with drawing the jockey. When it comes to composition, strive to not place him and the horse useless middle. As an alternative, shift them barely ahead to offer room for portray pace strains in later. Working from his head to his physique, arms, and legs, make sure that to maintain his uncommon pose in proportion. Keep in mind to incorporate some particulars resembling his goggles and the checkered sample on his uniform.

Subsequent is getting good tips on your watercolor horse. Use the jockey’s head as a visible relative to Secretariat’s mane, and for different proportions. Transfer on to attract his chest and physique, then the entrance legs, taking care to get the joints and angles in proportion. Add the main points for the horse’s masks, taking care across the eye space.

For the again half, measure the size you must match within the tail with out drawing off the paper. Word the angles of the again two legs and hooves, the place they level, how excessive each is relative to the bottom and to at least one one other, and many others. End up the composition by drawing the bottom, the railings, and the remainder of Secretariat’s racing gear. When you do occur to make a mistake, don’t really feel as if it’s a must to erase it. Merely draw a brand new line, and canopy the error with paint later.

Beneath is a close-up of Invoice’s sketch:


Step 2: Including Undercoats Utilizing The Moist-On-Moist Method


After you’re executed with the sketch, it’s time to begin portray. With the Escoda round brush (no. 12), moist the complete horse with clear water in preparation for utilizing the wet-on-wet method. This implies dropping moist paint onto a moist floor, which can produce softer blends. As paint will stream into the realm that’s moist, work across the jockey, and watch out when wetting the legs. You’ll additionally discover that the smoothness of the recent press paper means it gained’t absorb water as rapidly, providing you with extra time to mix but needing extra care because the paint will run quicker.

Subsequent, put together Yellow Ochre, which can function an “undercolor” (i.e. the horse’s first layer). Drop this coloration all through the entire watercolor horse, leaving some whites for the lightest highlights, and for the horse’s white socks. Keep away from portray the masks for now, and check with the picture when you must decide the totally different values and tones.

Combine in Burnt Sienna, which would be the second layer. Because it’s a mid-tone coloration, it is going to even be the horse’s base coloration. With it, convey out the mid-tones and shadows to add extra depth to Secretariat’s muscular tissues. There’s no have to be too cautious because it’s extra necessary to seize the impression of this highly effective watercolor horse somewhat than paint realistically. On this part, the muscular tissues are additionally important as they assist describe the horse’s motion.

Whereas portray, make sure that to make use of as few brushstrokes as potential when portray with watercolors to maximise your effectivity. This will even assist create the “streaky” texture a racehorse would have. Lastly, darken with extra Burnt Sienna if wanted, as watercolors dry lighter than what they appear like when moist.

Step 3: Defining Musculature And Particulars Of A Watercolor Horse


Subsequent, add a contact of French Ultramarine to your Burnt Sienna to get a darkish brown coloration that’s appropriate for shadows and particulars. When you discover the combination is simply too inexperienced, be sure you wash off the Yellow Ochre in your brush earlier than including the Ultramarine.

Begin on the mane, then close to the horse’s mouth. Proceed making use of this shadow layer on the underside of the horse’s neck, physique, and legs. You may as well add it to a few of the muscular tissues for extra contrast and definition. Combine in a contact of Cobalt Blue Hue for extra curiosity, and don’t dilute the paint an excessive amount of for extra influence.

Work your method in direction of the bottom, including this shadow layer within the applicable areas. Maintain defining the muscular tissues, tendons, and the tail’s hairs. Add particulars round the attention and hooves as nicely, and darken the underside of the hooves for horseshoes. You may as well add extra of the blues into your combination for the darkest tail hairs and shadows. Most significantly, keep conscious of how moist or dry every space is, as it will aid you decide how and the place to color.

Step 4: White Shadows And Minding The Lighting


Switching to the Neef rigger brush (no. 6), put together a mixture of Burnt Sienna and Yellow Ochre with a touch of Impartial Tint for a grayer tone. Dilute it so it’s not too darkish, then apply over the watercolor horse’s white socks for shadows. You possibly can add extra Impartial Tint to sure edges to determine the place of the legs and to create extra influence.

Use the lighter grey to darken different areas all through the horse, and the darker grey for areas that want extra contrast. Be selective with these extremes although, as these darker particulars will pack extra punch by including additional worth and energy of their visible presentation. An excessive amount of will overwhelm the watercolor horse and make it look too darkish!

Proceed portray the undersides, resembling beneath the physique, joints, eye, head, and so forth. You possibly can even faux in some shadows if it helps your general portray. Have in mind the place the light source is coming from although, as you don’t need too many shadows.

Step 5: Patterns And Designs On A Jockey’s Uniform


With Secretariat now painted, it’s time to shift your focus in direction of the jockey. You’ll be utilizing the wet-on-dry method right here (i.e. moist paint on a dry floor) for the additional management wanted to color the assorted patterns. For his garments, it’s high-quality to alter some colours to make it stand out greater than the blue within the image. Don’t overlook to sketch in his armband with the quantity “3” on it if you happen to haven’t already executed so in step 1.

Change to the no. 8 round brush, and prep a saturated Cobalt Violet Gentle in your palette. Use this coloration to color the hat, shirt, and armband, portray across the whites to get the three totally different designs. Whereas doing this, watch out to not contact the moist paint on the horse, as it will smudge the paint.

Use the identical coloration for the horse’s masks, however be extra cautious because the horse’s head and eye should still be moist. Don’t overlook the reins and the striped sample on the jockey’s sleeves, and make sure that these patterns aren’t too straight as clothing must look versatile.

Step 6: Portray Pores and skin Tones And Clothes


For the jockey’s pores and skin, combine a Caucasian skin tone, which is a diluted Yellow Ochre with a contact of Cadmium Purple Purple. Apply fastidiously to the person’s face and hand, avoiding any moist paint as a lot as potential.

Subsequent are the boots. Use Yellow Ochre for the highest half, then add Burnt Umber for the underside half. The saddle strap is white within the reference picture, however because it wants a shadow, dilute the blues and Yellow Ochre combine in your palette, and add a gradated shadow. To do that, begin from the underside and brush upwards, then softening the sting of the paint the place it fades to white.

For the white pants, use diluted Impartial Tint to paint the shadows and folds. You may as well add this grey tone for the wrinkles within the shirt too, going over each purple and white squares for consistency. To separate the totally different clothes, choose up extra Impartial Tint and paint the road the place the shirt overlaps the paints.

The final half so as to add to the horse and jockey duo is making use of a layer of Cobalt Violet Gentle on the quantity fabric beneath the saddle. Such as you did for the armband, paint across the “3” to assist it stand out.

Step 7: Utilizing The Glazing Method To Brighten A Colour


At this level, in case your portray continues to be moist, you possibly can pace up the drying by fanning it, or by utilizing a hairdryer. After it’s executed, you possibly can add a darkish pink to the duo’s uniform by diluting Everlasting Carmine and portray all of the white squares and stripes. You possibly can even glaze it on prime of the quantity fabric to brighten the colour.

The additional pink tone will even assist enliven the complete portray, so in these circumstances, it’s high-quality to alter your composition

Step 8: Straightforward Watercolor Background Wash


Change again to the no. 12 round brush, then combine Oxide of Chromium with Viridian for a background foliage coloration. With it, use the wet-on-dry method to color the grass behind the watercolor horse and observe. Keep in mind to depart the white railings white! Even so, there’s no have to be overly cautious, and you may pull this coloration into the watercolor horse slightly so it doesn’t look pasted on. The bottom needs to be slightly uneven as nicely to make it look extra pure.

Subsequent, drop in Cobalt Violet Gentle into the still-wet greens, which can add coloration selection to the background. You possibly can contact in Peacock Blue as nicely to stop the colour from turning into too grey.

Going again to the Yellow Ochre, add in additional blues/greens for a “inexperienced ochre”, and paint the filth racetrack. Such as you did for the inexperienced background, scrub in the paint so it’s slightly uneven and extra natural-looking. When you’re portray, keep in mind that you’re telling a narrative along with your paints, which can assist seize the correct ambiance and impression you need your viewers to obtain.

Step 9: Imprecise Crowd And Fluffy Clouds


Shifting on, take out the no. 20 Escoda round brush as you’ll be masking the massive background space. Soften the paintbrush with water, then combine Impartial Tint with all the colours already in your palette. You possibly can even add a few of the purple/pink combine for a warmer grey tone. Use this grey tone to color the silhouette of the group behind the horse and his jockey. As your portray is in regards to the Secretariat, this crowd needs to be extra ambient than have any actual particulars.

For the sky, it’s potential to depart it white, however Invoice determines it is going to look higher with coloration. You’ll use the wet-on-wet method once more, so like earlier than, moist the sky space with pure water first. You don’t need your sky to compete with the watercolor horse and human duo, so a easy blue sky can be greatest. Streak in diluted Peacock Blue, and contact in some Cobalt Blue Hue for selection. If it will get too streaky, scrub a moist brush over it to maneuver the pigment round.

Whereas the paint continues to be moist, you possibly can lift out any errors with a rag or paper towel if needed. While you’re executed, wait on your portray to dry earlier than shifting to color the pace strains for the duo. Once more, you need to use a hairdryer to hurry up the method.

Step 10: Pace Strains For Motion


With the complete background completed, you possibly can cease right here, however there may be yet one more step so as to add to this experimental portray: abstraction.

Whereas this is a generic time period that covers a number of strategies, the idea we’ll deal with right here is to introduce pace strains to emphasise the motion of one of many quickest racehorses who ever lived.

To do that, take the smaller no. 12 round brush and make a barely diluted pink utilizing the Everlasting Carmine paint. Ranging from the pink space on the jockey’s hat, streak horizontally from proper to left, with the strains getting lighter and tapered as you progress away from the place to begin. While you’re executed with the pink pace strains, swap to the Cobalt Violet Gentle for a couple of purple ones. For consistency, the place to begin of every pace line will at all times correspond to the colour of paint you’re utilizing.

Following the identical vein, dilute Burnt Sienna – the horse’s base coloration – and add pace strains coming from the watercolor horse. Focus notably across the legs, as they’re shifting the quickest.

Step again now and again to test the general feeling of the portray, and range the strains’ thickness to interrupt up any regularity. If the colours get too daring, you need to use a rag to lift out moist colours with out damaging your paper. Nevertheless, don’t overlook the paint will dry lighter than it appears, and don’t be afraid to experiment with the totally different tones and values!

Step 11: Ending Touches And Signing Off


The ultimate step is so as to add any needed ending touches that may assist convey the entire portray collectively. For instance, you need to use a saturated Impartial Tint to paint the jockey’s goggles, and Secretariat’s ear, eye, nostril, and mouth. You possibly can even use the Zinc White gouache paint to color in white quantity 3’s alongside the identical horizontal axis. This may assist make the quantity appear like it’s shifting by means of house, particularly if you happen to make every “3” lighter and additional aside as you progress away from the precise quantity.

Lastly, use a saturated Burnt Sienna to color the watercolor horse’s solid shadow on the filth racetrack to make it appear like it’s flying alongside. And when you’re executed, be at liberty to signal your portray in Indigo with a no. 3 rigger brush!

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