how to draw hooves

How to Draw Hooves

Step 1.

Before we begin any lesson, you must first reference and observe horse hooves. You must always scrutinize how the ergot, heel and hoof is structured. The above picture clearly shows you the three most strongest and noticeable points of a hoof. Knowing exactly where to place these is critical.

Step 2.

Let's take a peak at how the structure of the hoof is shaped from the front and slightly ¾ view. Notice how the upper ankle starts the curve, and stems out into the bulkiness of the hoof. If you were look at the hoof from the side, the 'ankle' forms what is called the 'ergot', basically the hook which protrudes from the upper side of the hoof. Because the hoof is separated by light turfs of hair, you must draw light detailing lines to indicate this.

Step 3.

When using thin lines to detail the definition of the ankle (ergot), you must be aware that there is a groove which bubbles out from the side. Remember I mentioned that ''the ankle forms what is called the ergot from the side view”? This is what I was talking about, 'the ergot groove'. If you're shooting for a realistic drawing of a horse, be aware of the various details that is required to draw like mentioned in the image above. For example, using light detailing strokes for the furry seam of the hoof and the light line detailing for the hoof nail definition.

Step 4.

Now, since many amateur artists make the same mistake of placing the ergot too high or too low, I sketched up a few examples that will show you where to place it correctly. The first incorrect way, is drawing the ergot too high up as well as too small of a size. The ergot looks too small, anatomically incorrect as the horse wouldn't be able to balance correctly compared to its weight. The second incorrect way, is to draw the ergot too pointy and low. This is also unrealistically impossible to balance a 1 ton horse. The correct way, would to draw the ergot, at the very middle of the fetlock, with proportioned size, and a nice seamless curve which transitions into the hoof. Perfect!

Step 5.

So what about the 'Dos and Don'ts' of the hoof shape? Here, I list a few examples that I observe many novice artists make. Notice how all the hooves are out of proportions compared the realistic way they're suppose to be drawn. These variations would be tolerable if the horse was drawn in an extreme cartoon style. Make sure when you draw the hoof, that there is a slight and healthy 'bump' which curves outwards (like an unified canine paw), and creates a slightly flat line to form the base and then curves back up to form the sharp ergot. Perfect hoof shape!

Step 6.

If you prefer drawing simplified hooves, here's a few examples on one of the many styles to draw simplified hooves. There is very few lines to detail the hooves and legs. This type of style would fit perfectly for cartoon drawings of horses.

Step 7.

Let us begin. This step is the bottom parts of the legs and the hooves all in one step. Start with the guidelines for the legs, then draw the small shapes for the hoof guides. You will then define the actual shapes of the hooves, then draw the front lining of the legs. Finish the legs by drawing the back part of the leg and then add the lining to form the hooves. Erase the guides and you have yourself some decent looking hooves.

Step 8.


Step 9.

Now let's do a singe set. Again, draw the leg guideline and then the guide shapes for the hooves.

Step 10.

Draw the shape of one hoof, then you are done for now.

Step 11.

Begin drawing the ankle for your horse leg and then proceed to the next step.

Step 12.

We will now draw the right hoof.

Step 13.

Lastly, draw in the right leg, and make sure that the shape tappers off.

Step 14.

For the last step you will sketch in the hair line at the base of the hoof and then add detailing to the legs.

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Uploaded: August 1, 2016
Artist: Dawn
Difficulty: Novice  Novice Skill Level
Steps: 14
Updated: August 3, 2016
P.O.V: Multiple
Favourited: 1 time
Artist comments

For those of you who love drawing animals, particually horses, you will love this lesson. Today I will be giving you a detailed drawing tutorial on creating horse hooves, step by step. When drawing horses one of the most complicated parts to the whole sketch is drawing the hooves. The contours that horse legs have is pretty amazing because of the weight and size of these animals. After you factor in those attributes, horse legs and hooves seem too delicate to hold such girth. Anyways, this tutorial has tip steps, and information so you can draw horse hooves the right way.