Three Drawings of Mongol Horses and Riders

Drawing and painting animals has always come more easily to me than humans. No idea why, that’s just been how it is. But now, I’ve gotten really interested in the Mongol horses and the lives of the herders who breed, train, ride and race them. And I want to paint all of that, so now I really do have to get up to speed with people. These drawings are part of that process. They each took a few hours and I enjoyed doing them a lot.

Horse and Rider at Erdene Naadam, 2009; compressed charcoal on vellum bristol
Horse and jockey, mountain blessing day horse race at Baga Gazriin Chuluu, 2009; charcoal pencil on vellum bristol
Herder and horse, Ikh Nartiin Chuluu, 2005; charcoal pencil on vellum bristol

Hey Ho, It’s Back to Work I Go

I don’t know about other artists, but after a long trip it takes a little internal shove for me to get going again. I need to shake the rust off, get in the groove, just….start…..working.

I also spent some time thinking about my work procedures. I love to paint and tend to dive in, flail around and pull it together, or not. I’ve got some ideas about what I want my work to look like and have come to conclusion that I need to spend more time on the preliminaries, especially for larger works. That means drawing, drawing, drawing. Plus value and color studies as needed.

Winter is when I try to push my work to the next level and experiment and, since the first winter storm of the year arrived yesterday, I guess it’s time.

This week I’ve done a pile of charcoal drawings of the Mongolian horses, which I got fantastic reference photos of. I’ve always struggled for some reason with poses where the horses have their heads down, grazing, so I decided to get a handle on that once and for all. What worked was doing the body first and then adding the head. I’d been doing it the other way around, to my eternal frustration.

Here’s a selection of some I feel came out ok. They are done with a 6B extra soft General Charcoal pencil on 2 ply Strathmore Vellum Bristol and are unretouched. I’m always looking for what will add to the illusion of three dimensional structure and a body in space and what will help me get a handle on the anatomy.

These took 15-20 minutes each.

I also want to get some action into my work, so here’s a couple of running horses.

No idea if any of these will find their way into paintings, but I enjoyed doing them.


“Artistic growth is, more than anything else, a refining of the sense of truthfulness. The stupid believe that to be truthful is easy: only the great artist knows how difficult it is.”

Willa Cather