Horse Lineart Tutorial Basics
 By Valkyrie   •   26th Apr 2012   •   11,668 views   •   6 comments
Horse Lineart Tutorial BasicsSo you want to paint a lineart? Well, goodonya :) I presume you have access to some kind of editing programme such as GIMP or Photoshop (I am using GIMP 2.6.8 for this) and at least know where most of the tools are.

Please note: This tutorial is mostly aimed at GIMP users. Although I'm sure Photoshop will be similar in some parts.

This is a very basic tutorial. A lot of artists go into more depth with their work, and I often like to as well, but for the purpose of learning and gaining confidence I've just whipped up a quick tutorial to get you started. There are plenty of tutorials on sites like DeviantART if you want to go further. But for the sake of time, and my sanity, here's something for any beginners out there who want to learn how to paint linearts.

First of all, if you don't want to make your own linearts then you need to locate some proper ones that are able to be used on the site or wherever you want to use them. PLEASE read stock provider rules BEFORE downloading things. I often have two folders in my stock folder, one with images that CAN be used on Ponybox, and one with images that CAN'T but that I can use to upload to DA for artistic purposes. Some stock providers don't allow their stock to be used on sim games like Ponybox or Horseland etc. Some don't allow their stock to be used offsite without you asking them for permission first. A lot of lineart providers will tell you to leave their little signature on the finished image. So please read and adhere to all stock provider rules. I've included a screenshot of my own stock account rules for an example. (see Figure 2.)

I get all my lineart stock from either DeviantART or JF Studios is a good place for quick, easy lineart stock. DeviantART requires a bit of searching. On DA search “horse lineart” and when the results come up look at the lefthand side of the screen, find “resources and stock images” and click on it. The resulting images are all free for you to use. But remember to read stock provider rules before doing so. (see Figure 1.)

Select a lineart (be sure to favourite it so you can find it later for crediting) and clickcthe “download” button. Most linearts come in a transparent PNG format which means the lines are separate and can simply be opened onto a new background. Not all are, however. Some are saved as JPG on white or coloured backgrounds. There is a simply solution for detaching the lines. The way to achieve this is simple:

− Either open a new, blank background (I often use 1000 px by 800 px) and place the lineart image on it, or open the lineart image itself.
− Duplicate the lineart layer (right click on the layer and select “duplicate layer”).
− Next go to the top of the screen and find “layer”. Click it and go down to “transparency”. Select “colour to alpha” from transparency list. (see Figure 3.)
− It should open a little box with the lineart on a background of light and dark grey squares. Click “ok”.
− Next create a new layer and label it something like “background' or “bg”. Place it under the transparent lineart layer, and over the original lineart layer. Use the fill (paint bucket) tool and make the BG layer any colour you want (personally I like light or pastel colours).

Voila :) the previously unpaintable lineart is now easy to use!

Next we need base colours. I'll do a bay just because they're easy. Select two hues, one lighter and one slightly darker. Don't worry about if the horse comes out lighter or darker than you want. There's an easy way to change this, which I will explain later in the tutorial. Make a new layer and name it “base”, putting it under the lines. Paint these two colours on, doesn't matter if you don't follow the lines, you can erase later. Darker should go on the top and lighter on the bottom of the horse. You can also make a “palette” layer and paint splotches of your colours on it so you don't lose what shades you use. Personally I don't do it, but it's all up to you :) (see Figure 4.)

Next smudge the two layers gently. Use a biggish fuzzy-edged smudge brush set at about half opacity (40-50%) and move in little circles to blend it nice and softly. We don't want it to look streaky. Don't worry if it doesn't all go where you want. You can redo the layer now or wait until later and fix it. We also want to blacken his legs, as he's a bay. (see Figure 5.)

Then I'm going to create a new layer and label it “markings” and select a light grey (not white). The reason why you use a light grey and not white is because true horse markings aren't pure white. The skin underneath often shows through the hair, or they can get stained. A light grey works well. In my screenshot I've put my colour selection next to pure white to show you the slight difference between the colours. It isn't much. But every little bit counts ;) (see Figure 6.)

Let's give this chap a disconnected strip and a snip, and four socks while we're at it. And how about turning him into a blanket Appaloosa, as well? Why not! I need to do an Appy one anyway :) After I block the colours I like to do the eye, to give it a bit of personality and inspire me to finish it. In this case I'm going to give him a gold eye, but you can do any colour you want! There are eye tutorials on DA, so I won't explain how to paint them here.

After that I want to get a fuzzy edged paintbrush and choose either black or a darker shade of my base colour. In this case I think I'll go a darker shade, and use black for places where the shadows are really deep like the cheek/jowl/neck area. Set a lowish opacity and work the shadows up. Don't slap pure black straight on and try to smudge it in. Approach shadowing softly. Gradually build it up and don't go overboard if you're not confident, you can always adjust brightness and contrast later and play around with it once you have the shadows all in. Notice how I've darkened the lower neck muscle and lower/mid area of the face as well as the muzzle and eye. These are all areas that are darker on horses. This is basic shading. You can use the lines on the image to show you where shadows and highlights go. If you're new to painting I suggest looking at a few references and noting where the muscles are because that is where the shadows and highlights will go.

Remember to save your work often!

I often detail the face before finishing my overall shading. I do this to set the the tone of the rest of the image. If my face turns out darker then I paint the body darker. If I want it lighter I'll add more highlights to the body. It's just my way of doing things, you'll find your own :) So, in this case I'm going to play around with the face a little. I'm going to paint the muzzle darker and add a bit of pink under the snip. Then I'm going to use a low opacity fuzzy edged paintbrush and add a few more shadows to define the face.

After that I'll get a low opacity hard-edged paintbrush and use the same colour I used for my markings and put a few highlights in. I scribble one layer in, then scribble another, smaller, layer on top, and even another if I want to add more. Then I get a fuzzy-edged smudge brush and set it at half-opacity and smudge it the same way I smudged my base colours initially. I think my highlights are too overpowering here, but I'll play with them again later.

I'm now going to darken key areas of the body. Places like the undersides of legs, the chest muscles, the stomach and some of the barrel. The flank area and sheath. And the lower back of the rump and hindleg. Again, use the lines as a guide and even a reference if you need. Smudge them if you want them to be smooth. Sometimes people like to cartoonise their shadows by leaving them blocky. It looks cool if you can pull it off, but for this I'm going to smudge.

I'm also going to add a little black to deepen some of the shadows before I do some highlights. Try not to over highlight something. I don't really like my highlights here, but hey, there are good days and bad days :) I could go back and redo them, but I'll see how I go.

Now I'm going to add some more browns on a separate layer just above the base because he looks a little bland here. I'm also going to add more darker colours to his back. I could add shine there, but I don't think I will considering most of his back is going to be covered by the blanket spots. This sort of thing is up to you. Play around with colours. Have fun with your art. After I've done that I want to do some spots. You can use an eraser to reveal the colour beneath, or use a paintbrush to paint new colours on top. Do whatever suits you :)

After that I'm going to do some simple hooves. You only need three or four colours for this. I'm going to do mine grey so I want a darker iron grey, a middle grey and a lighter grey. After that I'm going to add a little shine with my markings-shade of grey. I'm going to zoom in to, say, 400% and paint the back of the hooves the darker grey, then add the middle grey tone to the middle and the lighter shade at the front. I prefer making mine more dark than light, but that's just me. If you want light hooves go for it :) Then I am going to smudge them again and add any shine I want. And after I do the hooves I am going to select each layer and carefully erase around the edges of the lineart so tidy it up. There's an easier way to do this, but I've forgotten how! At this point I've realised that I haven't finished my black legs! So I'm going to add some highlights and maybe a little brown influence to them and try merge them nicely into the rest of the coat.

Now for the mane and tail. Bays have black ones so my job is fairly easy :P I'm just going to use alternating shades of grey and black to add a bit of body.

After that I'm going to get a large-ish fuzzy-edged paintbrush and use black on a very low opacity to add a little body to my white markings by shading them ever so slightly around the edges. And fixing the shine on the face, which is too much. After that I'm pretty much done! There are other things I could do but I'm not going to over complicate this piece because I like it how it is :)

Now, as promised, I'll show you a simple way to change colours without repainting. You simply select your base colours layer, go to “colours” on the top menu and select “brightness/contrast”. By playing with the brightness and contrast you can darken or lighten the base colours. You can also play around with the lightness and saturation in “colours” to lower colour intensity. I've adjusted the brightness and contrast to make my browns more vivid.

There you go! A simple lineart tutorial. Go out there and have fun :)

Horse Graphics

Horse Graphics

Horse Graphics

Horse Graphics
Horse News More In This Category:  Graphics      Horse News More From This Author:  Valkyrie
Doodles Forever  
Great article! I really needed some lessons!
  Apr 27, 2012  •  10,252 views
Wonderful tutorial, I will definatly have to try this.
  Apr 29, 2012  •  10,285 views
Double Spur Ranch  
Very nice article!
  May 4, 2012  •  10,248 views
Thanks for sharing! I will definitely use it!
  May 6, 2012  •  10,268 views
RoyalCrownEstates  MOD 
Wonderful tutorial.
  May 16, 2012  •  10,265 views
Thank you so much!

owever, I was a little dissappointed after the title. I thought you were going to tell us how to DRAW the lineart in the first place!
  May 20, 2012  •  10,265 views
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