Painting Tips Part 9

IX. A primer on painting ponies (Part three - fini)

Thanks gang, for all the encouragement and kind words. So without further ado, the third and hopefully final installment on how I paint horses. Last time I covered your basic brown and black horses, today I'll deal with duns, greys, whites and a few other uncommon coat types.

EXPLAINATION OF DAPPLING TECHNIQUE: The coat of grey horses is most commonly a mixture of white and dark hairs, rather than a uniform grey color. This will often give the animal a slightly "spotted" or dappled apperance, which I duplicate in the following way.

a) Block in the horse's coat color in the usual way.
b) Take a relatively small, old brush and dip the tip into the dapple color, which should be slightly thinned down so it flows more smoothly. Brush out most of the color on a board or rag, but leave the brush wetter than you might when dry-brushing.
c) Gently touch the tip of the brush STRAIGHT-DOWN all over the horse's coat, especially the rump and hind legs. The goal is to create VERY small, irregularly shaped roundish blotches all over the horse's body, legs and neck. Do not slap the brush sideways or press too hard, as that will leave a rectangular streak that does not look right.
d) Once the blotches or dapples have dried throughtly, mix up a very heavy stain of the original coat color with a very small quantity of the dapple color added. Then stain the coat with the goal of obscuring the darker dapples just enough so that they just barely are visible beneath the coat color.
e) When dry, wash with dapple color as described in horse's section.

NOTES ON PAINTS: CC is Ceramcoat by Delta, RP is the original Polly-S brand
(not polly-scale), PP is Partha paints by Ral Partha and "pure" is a standard color available in almost any paint range.

Painting DUN horses:

Dun horse

Primary coat color: CC Old Parchment - a very pale straw yellow
Coat stain: CC Palimino - a brownish golden yellow.
Coat wash: CC Brown velvet - a rich, dark brown.

Cannon / Muzzle: CC Hippo grey (a medium grey with no bluish tone) and stained CC Charcoal ( a very dark grey approaching black).
Mane / Tail: CC Charcoal, dry-brushed CC Hippo grey to highlight.
White cuffs / blazes?: Not usually.

Painting ROAN horses:

Roan horse

Primary coat color: CC Terra Cotta - an earth orange with strong brown tones.
Coat stain: A mix of two colors in equal parts - CC Spice Brown
and PS Venetian Dull Red (closest color I can think of is red oxide primer, but darker).
Coat wash: CC Brown Velvet.

Cannon / Muzzle: CC Spice Brown stained "pure" black.
Mane / Tail: CC Palimino Tan stained CC spice brown.
White cuffs / blazes?: No.

Painting PALIMINO horses:

Palimino horse

Primary coat color: CC Golden brown - a rich pale brown with very strong
yellow tones.
Coat stain: CC Terra Cotta - an earth orange with strong brown tones.
Coat wash: CC Spice brown

Cannon / Muzzle: As coat color - may sometimes have a pinkish, flesh-colored muzzle.
Mane / Tail: CC Old Parchment stained CC Palimino.
White cuffs / blazes?: Almost always - it is not uncommon for a palimino to
have a blaze extending to completly cover the muzzle and for at least three and often all four legs to have white cuffs.

Painting WHITE horses:

White horse

Primary coat color: CC Light Ivory - an off-white with slight yellow tone.
Coat stain: CC Bonnie blue ( a medium blue-grey) with a small quantity of CC
Toffee Brown mixed-in.
1st Dry brushing: Once the stain has dried, I will take a old brush with quite a bit of slightly thinned down Light Ivory Paint and gently brush over all the raised surfaces to refresh the original ivory color while leaving the bluish-brown-grey shading.
2nd Dry brushing: With "pure" white just to raise highlights, especially on
head, ears and rump.

Muzzle : Pinkish-flesh color OR CC Hippo grey stained CC Charcoal.
Cannon: If pink muzzle, as coat color. If dark, cannon as muzzle colors.
Mane / Tail : If pink muzzle, PP Khaki drybrushed "Pure" white. If dark muzzle / cannon, CC Charcoal drybrushed CC Hippo Grey.
Blazes / cuffs?: Typically no blazes, but can have white cuffs in any

Painting PALE GREY or DAPPLE GREY horses:

White horse

Primary coat color: PP Gray - a very light grey with strong blue tones.
Dapple colors: CC Bonnie Blue.
Coat stain: Heavy stain of PP Gray plus small quantiy of Bonnie blue to obscure dappling.
Coat wash: CC Hippo Grey.

Muzzle / Cannon: CC Hippo Grey stained CC Charcoal.
Mane / Tail: PP Khaki drybrushed "Pure" white.
Blazes / cuffs?: Typically no blazes, but can have white cuffs in any

Painting DARK GREY or STEEL GREY horses:

Dark Grey or Steel Grey

Primary coat color: CC Dolphin Grey - a medium grey with slight blue tone.
Dapple colors: CC Hippo Grey.
Coat stain: Heavy stain of CC Dolphin Grey plus small quantiy of CC Hippo grey.
Coat wash: CC Charcoal.

Muzzle / Cannon: CC Charcoal stained "pure" black.
Mane / Tail: "pure" black drybrushed with CC Hippo Grey to highlight.
Blazes / cuffs?: Typically no blazes, but can have white cuffs in any
NOTE ON STAINING / WASHING HORSES: I sometimes use a bewildering combination of stains and washes when doing a unit of horses that have multiple coat colors. But rather than keep re-mixing my stains or washes each time I have to switch, I try to just keep adding more water and darker paint to a lighter stain to darken it sufficently. So my brownish coat colors will typically be stained in the following order: Duns - Light Bays - Light Chestnuts - Dark Chestnuts - Dark Bays.

  • Gettin' Good: An introduction, explanation and disclaimer.
  • Part 1: How to get good at painting? A professional's opinion.
  • Part 2: How to get good at painting? Dissenting opinions are heard.
  • Part 3: The selection, care and feeding of brushes.
  • Part 4: Questions and answers from the gentle readers.
  • Part 5: A primer on using stains and washes.
  • Part 6: Ragged Rebs (or painting irregular units in a regular way).
  • Part 7: Painting Ponies I. Just what sort of beast is that, anyway?
  • Part 8: Painting Ponies II. Your basic black, brown and chestnut horses.
  • Part 9: Painting Ponies III. Fancies - whites, greys, duns and finishing touches.
  • Part 10: A primer on stripes, checks and tartan plaids.