Today’s submission comes from artist Noora Tiihonen. Noora has lots of places where you can see more of her work. She has completed this piece in graphite with her goal being realism. This is such a beautiful piece. The horses are extremely accurate, and you’ve got great shading and contrast.

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Looking at a few things we can adjust to improve on this even more, this has a very illustrative look with the heavy outlines. While still falling within the category of “realism” if you were going for something more realistic you’re not going to want those heavier outlines. Now before I go too far in that I want to say that, if your goals are the more illustrative look, that is totally fine. I think this piece is stunning just as is and and I would have been THRILLED to have this hanging on my wall. I am in NO way bashing the more illustrative look. So if that is your goal, you succeeded completely!! Your heavy lines are well balanced throughout the horses making for a very strong piece. For the purpose of teaching though, and in case anyone viewing the video is trying to get their realistic drawings like yours to move more towards photorealism (not that one way is better than the other, it’s all personal preference), I’m going to give a few tips on achieving that look.

When going for something more realistic, you want to avoid outlining almost anything. Most lines are actually going to be shadows of some sort, very much like how you have on the horse’s necks. They have that heavy black along the edge, but then that black softly fades into the lighter tones. This would be the same technique that I would use everywhere else. Everything is rendered as shadows instead of lines when going for that super realistic look.

On my Italian Greyhound graphite piece, you can see harsh contrast between the lights and darks, but nothing is actually outlined which creates a more realistic look.

Italian Greyhound drawing in graphite


Next, on their manes. Here you would want to do more shading in clumps Vs individual strands when going for a more realistic style.


All that said, I LOVE the drawing you’ve completed. It has a very solid style throughout the piece. I feel like the lines you’ve used work beautifully with the drawing throughout. Deciding if you want a heavier lined style drawing or a more realistic one is going to come down to your personal preferences. Like I said, one is not “better” than the other, it just depends on what you are going for.