With its mix of hair colors, one of the most interesting equine coat patterns is roan. To get the pattern just right, start with a striking image for reference. Using an image helps with color application and it serves as a map for layering hairs later on in the process.
Start with a white primed horse. Pick an area of the horse such as the tail or hind legs to hold while applying the pastel layers. First, shave down some grey colored chalk pastels. (CAUTION: Wear a dust mask when shaving or applying pastel dust!) The dust will contain some large specks. Break those specks down and make sure your dust is completely crushed. Take a dry brush and dip it into the grey dust. Apply this dry dust directly to the entire body of the horse, even if your reference image shows a chestnut head and leg markings.
|Primed horse||Shave down chalk pastels to a fine dust.||Apply grey dust to entire horse.|
After applying the layer of pastel dust, adhere the dust using a glossy fixative such as Krylon Crystal Clear glossy fixative. When this fixative dries, apply a matte fixative such as Testors matte fixative and wait for the entire piece to dry thoroughly. The matte fixative will give the horse “tooth” and allow further color application.
Once the piece is dry, apply more layers of the grey pastel dust to the model. Apply the same grey. You’ll notice the color getting richer and deeper. Feel free to add a bit of black in order to darken areas along the topline or to define some muscles. Adhere this layer using the same fixative technique as before.
Next, shave some light brown pastel chalk and begin to apply this color to the head and legs. At this point, you’ll need to really study your reference. Where does the chestnut color start and stop on the real horse? Apply the pastel color in just those areas.
Add brown to legs and head.
Follow reference while adding brown and apply color slowly.
|Adhere dust with glossy and matte fixatives.||Color should be rich and deep before acrylic work starts.|
|Prep surface with a thin coat of glazing medium||Continue prepping whole horse||Follow reference when adding hair to the body.|
After the hairing is complete, bring out the color and work on facial details. Then, paint the hooves, eyes and the tail or holding spot.
|Add details in face.||Bring out details in the rest of the horse.|
Give the horse one last spray with fixatives for protection and enjoy your brand new roan!
|The finished horse.||Headshot of the finished horse.|
HOT TIP: Have an old beat up brush lying around? It works better than a fresh brush for applying hairs.