Making a Model Horse Painting Template

Paint Test – Silver-bay Blanket Appaloosa

In order to test out new color combinations (or to make sure I have the colors right for a custom order) I use a basic horse template that I trace over and then paint over/in.

So of like a clothing or costume designers sketches, it’s meant as a very rough outline of what the final horse will look like– but it’s a lot easier to make sure the concept will work here and not on the model.

Over the years I’ve used a bunch of different outlines, but this time around I wanted to be able to use sketchbook paper since it wrinkles a lot less than the copier paper.

So I grabbed by trusty tiny sketchbook and started doodling!

Step 1 – Create the Basic Doodle

Horse Shaped Objects Incoming!

(Note: If you aren’t that good at doodling, you can cheat and use a clip art horse for this step instead. Just download and print out the horse and you’re ready for the tracing paper.)

Thankfully all I am looking for is something horse-shaped, because my doodling talent doesn’t lend itself to anatomical correctness (as you can see). I went with a trotting pose because it allows me to see all four legs (for socks), but I’ve used other posts in the past and just mirrored the design for the offside.

I doodled the pencil sketch on 3.5 x 4.75 60lb paper, then went over it with progressively larger markers. I ended with a ultra-fine point Sharpie, but after that I swapped over to using a fine-point sharpie.

What I’m looking for in the final design is nice thick black lines that will show through when I paint over them. Sharpies are good for this, but any black marker should work.

Step 2 – Mirror and Simplify the Doodle

Tracing Paper and Fun-house Mirrors

Now comes the fun part! Since my drawings of everything tend to face to the left, they get skewed that way as well. In order to even out the horse, I used tracing paper folded into fourths to flip the image back and forth, so that I traced the horse four times. (I also lengthened the back in step 2 since I also have a tendency to shorten them.)

Using the thicker marker here helped me to simplify the drawing as well, which makes it more coloring-book-friendly for the end result.

The drawing is roughly stablemate scale, so it’s easier to see how it will look on the final horse.

Step 3 – Create Some Blanks to Paint!

Ghosts of a Horse that Will Be

Out of the four designs I decided I liked the third one best, so I cut that out to use as my new base.

It tucks back into the sketchbook easily and the lines are thick enough to see easily through the paper. Another round with the same sharpie and I have my templates! ๐Ÿ™‚

Then I traced the two templates I needed going opposite directions just because it was fun to see the where my ‘default drawing’ direction differed. Each of the horse templates I do this way will come out a little differently, but I think it’s a fun bit of uniqueness to each test.

You can the in the final version above (the first photo) that the black shows through the silver nicely. Always a good feeling when a plan actually works! ๐Ÿ˜€

Same Song, Second Verse–err, Horse!

Now back to the non-2D horses…

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

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