Fanciful Horse Watercolor Drawing

Drawing Practice!

I consider myself sort of an accidental artist. It is always surprising to me when something beautiful comes together. This is especially true for this drawing. This watercolor was based on a photo I took of a beautiful white Costa Rican horse.

I am almost a complete beginner at free hand drawing, so I was asking around for some advice on how to improve after my last piece (which I will NOT be posting here). An artist friend encouraged me to consider focusing less on getting the colors just right and pay more attention to the color values. So instead of going for realism, I tried to think of this effort as a study in shading. I remain as shocked as ever that this fanciful horse came out of my fingers - so surprised in fact, that I didn't bother to erase my pencil lines before applying the water!

This bit of drawing practice represents progress in a couple of lessons I've been learning for the past couple years. First, anything worth doing is worth doing badly! For much of my life I have only ever wanted to do things I was immediately "good" at. How much farther can we get if we are willing to first be bad at something, show ourselves the compassion all beginners deserve, and learn over time how to improve?

The second lesson I have been learning is to give my brain downtime. I typically have two speeds. Either do the most, or be a total netflix-bingeing couch slug. Either behave like a productivity addict or numb out. Well, in order to tap into the well of creativity inside my brain, it must first be free of the pressure to get going on the million tasks I could be doing, AND it can't be turned completely off. I am learning how to get comfortable being bored. It's then that inspiration strikes, for me.

This piece was drawn with Staedtler Watercolor pencils in a Primrosia dot-grid watercolor notebook. Here's a look at the reference photo, just for fun.