This instruction will ease you into drawing different types of horns. There are as many types of horns as there are animals, that’s why this article will show you a few examples that are different in shape and texture. You’ll learn to create typical antelope, cow, and goat horn structures and texture from scratch using a graphite pencil.
First of all, it’s important to know that antlers and horns are not the same. The antlers grow as an extension of the skull of an animal and are a true bone single structure. They are present in males of deer, elk, and moose, that shed them every winter and then re-grow again. Unlike horns, that are two-part structures. They are worn by cows, sheep, goats, and even antelopes and gazelles. Male and female animals might have horns, that grow throughout their whole lifespan, and their size and shape may vary. Now, let’s start out with the tutorial.
Essential Supplies for Drawing
You will need:
Choosing the right pencil might get tricky. For example, the HB pencil might become your favorite tool. It leaves crisp marks, but doesn’t smudge. This one can be a perfect option for outlining. The 3B is really nice for texturing. You can be sure about the great contrast in your graphics.
If you have trouble with some elements, the erasing ability in these pencils is quite good.
How to Draw Ram Horns?
The first step which we start with is ram horns that are curled and have a few waves. This shape is not as easy as it looks at first, but it has not many different variations. Ram horns are similar to the structures of ungulates such as different kinds of sheep, the ibex, and turs.
Step 1: Draw Basic Shape
First, let’s start with the foundation. Take an HB pencil for this. Mark where the skull of the animal is, then add the central line and the side borders.
Now it’s time for the base of the horns. Don’t forget to leave enough space for all the future elements of the drawing.
Step 2: Add Core Elements of Horns
The next step is to draw the core lines. It will be later skipped, but for now, please use the guideline because this step is quite complicated.
Construct the thinner bottom parts of the horns. The higher parts will be dominant, and different in texture.
To accomplish this, draw an oval for each base. To make the drawing three-dimensional, draw ovals that are located on the head of the animal first, then follow up with the bigger ones higher up to make that part look wider. Now, the horns will look awesome.
Step 3: Contours of Horns
From each side of the bigger oval draw a twirling line — this will be the contour of the swirly part of the horn. Draw these lines at a distance from the core line and then join them at the tip; don’t be too hard on the pencil, as you’ll be adding structure later. Then make the same action with the other horn. Don’t worry about building the structure – the subsidiary core lines will be erased before adding the texture.
After that, draw another element – a twisting line from the tip of each horn. Now you will have a protrusive front element — the curled part. This line should face the side contour that is behind (or above) this front shape. So, do this action with the other part of the drawing. Keep both sides relatively symmetrical.
Then, draw a line that separates the front element of the horn into two parts, creating an edge. Repeat this action with the other side. And add the other parts of horns.
Step 4: Don’t Forget About Details
It is time to draw the details to make the view of the plausibility of the sketch. Small segments of the front elements that jut out, mark the foreshortened side parts of the horns. Let`s also define the twisted sides, adjacent to the tips of the horns. To make the facing clear, add secondary lines that mark the relief planes of the overhead parts of the structures.
Along each line, draw a model of small ridges.
The sketch may seem a little coarse at this point, but you are not aiming to establish perfect symmetry in your work. Let’s complete the drawing. Rest assured that in the end, you will love all the imperfections because they add unique organic features.
Step 5: Draw Texture Patterns
Now there is the hardest step. The horns of this type usually have an appreciable relief with important details such as flutes and bumps. The key is to make the pattern inconsistent, as it is in nature.
So, start with adding lines that mark the general ones of the texture. Also, draw small bumps on the top between the internal and external sides of the horns.
And complete the initial pattern of the texture. The edges of the front curve also have small ridges.
Step 6: Hatching and Contrasting
This step is the last one, and arguably, it needs the most accuracy and attention. Take an HB pencil and start adding hatches to the sides of the parts that face the viewer. Lay the thicker shadow on the inner, curling parts. You will see, how the contrast will appear giving your drawing more depth, though it is still pretty low.
Then, begin working with a softer 3B pencil, filling in the darkest parts; the most hatches need to be layed into the core shadows and the sides.
Draw out the small irregularities of the texture in the top parts of the artwork. Use the 3B pencil to emphasize the dark spots under them to make these bumps obtrude.
Now, with the help of a 3B pencil, work out the contrast of the bottom part of the drawing. Don’t be afraid to make shadows too dark, just remember not to smudge, as hatches should be visible for the additional textured effect. Make front and back segments different – darken the inner parts. Also, take care of interlacing all areas of lighter values with the patches of darker elements — it’s the key to making the drawing truly three-dimensional and realistic-looking.
How to Draw Goat Horns?
The second type of artwork that we will learn to draw is goat horns. Cows, antelopes, and goats have long, almost straight, horns, that don’t vary much from species to species. This drawing will be much easier to execute because of a simpler and quite common shape of horns.
Step 1: Draw Base Lines of Horns
This step is mostly similar to the one in a previous instruction for drawing the curved horns. Start with the base of the head and the central line of the whole drawing. Two ovals drawn on top of the skull will mark the basis of each horn. Now draw the core lines out of the bases. Remember, they have to differ from each other like real ones. Still, keep the symmetry points, as they work as guides for you while laying out other details.
Step 2: Outline Horns
Next, you have to outline the contours of the horns. Follow the core lines, but make them uneven, asymmetrical, so that they differ from each other. This way, the image turns out exactly as horns look in the real world.
After that, the subsidiary lines should be erased, to not get in the way, and the contours should be refined. Try to make a thinner base part that overlaps with a thicker layer above.
You can imagine and draw the length of the horns as you want. The distance between them, their direction, and the curvature degree are also subject to change. Options depend on you – it’s fun to create slightly weird asymmetrical horns just like Mother Nature does.
Step 3: Illustrate Right Pattern
The shape is ready, so it is time to draw out the texture of the horns. There are two groups of patterns: a texture with the shading of vertical main lines and texture with a horizontal or a diagonal pattern.
The straight structure usually goes up with the vertical lines. It is used to emphasize the thickness of the horn. Try to recreate a texture with the HB pencil: draw long lines that imitate the pattern.
The horizontal or diagonal patterns are usually short and are used to add texture, like the growth lines.
Step 4: Hatches and Contrast
At the next step, add hatches using the HB pencil. Try to highlight the relief so the groups of hatches will go near the lines of the texture.
Then, lay more dark strokes under the protrusive part of the horns. Don’t forget to increase the contrast. Use the 3B pencil, and with the short strokes darken the vertical furrows of the texture. Due to the pencil’s softness, you’ll create an illusion of the deeper shadows. The artwork should be a little lighter in the middle and upper parts, so add fewer hatches there. The more uneven and bumpy the texture is – the cooler it looks.
You can try to vary the texture. Short lines, dots, cross-hatches, uneven strokes if used sparingly, will enhance the relief. Just remember to keep the shorter elements horizontal and longer ones vertical. Now, with the HB pencil, add some contour hatching to the sides of the horns to make them more three-dimensional. And here we are – the horns are ready.
How to Draw Antelope Horns?
The third and last step-by-step instruction teaches you to draw spiral horns that are common for the antelopes. Addax, blackbuck, eland, and kudu sport this shape, and the wild Markhor goat and the domestic Girgentana goat are known for it too.
Step 1: Draw Main Lines of Picture
This tutorial may be the hardest one to draw. But with enough theoretical knowledge and practice, you’ll take a hold on this one.
So, just like before, mark the long central line and outline the borders of the skull. Also, mark the points where the horns must be located. Do all of that with the HB pencil. Don’t forget to leave enough space around the horns.
Then, draw the curly core lines of the horns – don’t forget to make them slightly different from each other.
Step 2: Lower Part of Spiral Horns
At this point, you have to start constructing the horns. It is best done part-by-part. Draw the bottom part, which is the thickest one, while following the general direction of the core line. It should go from the base to the first twist.
Step 3: Middle Part
The second part is the inner one, which is located inside the swirl. Add a width to it, following the core line. Then, if your reference line becomes distracting, soften it with an eraser.
Step 4: Upper Part of Antelope Horns
You are on the finish line. So, now add the third part of the construction – a distinctive curve. Then, add the small fourth part on the very top – it forms the thickness of the horns.
Step 5: Draw Relevant Pattern
Now try to draw a moderate relief with a textured pattern of horizontally or diagonally oriented raised areas. For now, try to recreate the given example. Later you’ll develop an intuition on how the pattern looks natural.
Don’t forget that the pattern and texture lines still follow the direction of the core lines. Try to make them more organic and natural-looking.
Step 6: Add Hatches and Contrast
Take the HB pencil and start accentuating the texture by light hatching. The bottom parts of the horns need more attention. After that, deepen the shadows in the artwork with the help of the softer pencil. And again, make soft graphite strokes to darken the hollows of the relief and add more hatches to the sides of the horns. Then make the same on the other side.
It is important now to darken the main shadows of the swirling inner part. To achieve this effect add the contrast with the HB pencil in the upper and the bottom parts of the drawing.
Like in the previous examples, built out the remaining segments of the horn, creating the volume by alternating the areas of light and shadow. Also, to bring the additional source of light into the work add short hatches to the horn on just one side. For this, you can use either the HB or the 3B pencil.
To make your drawing realistic to the maximum, don’t shy away from adding glints to the tonal pattern on the horn. Try to complete both sides with the same range of value, number of details, and the level of contrast.
Finishing and defining the work of art always brings great pleasure.
Hopefully, now you have more understanding of how to draw horns of different ungulates. It is important to make your drawing clear and realistic. Don’t forget about your own imagination. If you want to change some details, let’s say, the shape or texture, you are free to do that. Moreover, you can apply either of the types of horns to other drawings, for example, you can add them to fantasy creatures. Come back to WoWPencils for more tutorials!