How to Draw a Saddle
Yes, Even Someone Without a Speck of Drawing Ability Can Learn How to Draw a Saddle.
This is a tutorial for those of you who want to know how to draw a saddle. If you have followed any of my drawing tutorials before this one, then you know I always try to put a bit of info about the subject or relate a very short but applicable anecdote.
This time it's an anecdote. I was working as a media consultant a few years ago for a well-known national magazine based in New York City. One day, the media rep with whom I spoke on a regular basis asked me if I owned a cowboy hat. I responded, "Yes, I do, why do you ask?" He quickly shot back, "I knew it! I bet you ride a horse to work, don't you?" After a short silence, I educated this man that while I did own a horse, I did not ride that horse to work.
My point is this: I know what saddles are supposed to look like. SO when I do a drawing tutorial on how to draw a saddle, I know a bit about what I'm doing.
So, get your pencil saddled, round up a few sheets of parchment and let's begin...
Step 1: Begin With Basic Shapes
If you have done any of my tutorials, you know this is how every drawing begins - with a few basic shapes.
In this case, a couple of slightly curvaceous rectangles.
Study the shapes and draw them as indicated.
Step 2: Build on the Basic Shapes
Next, we're going to draw the seat rise, seat and cantle of the saddle. The seat rise is located on the top front area (top right) , the seat area is in the middle top (just to the right of the seat rise) and finally, the cantle, that slightly curving shape at the top right of the saddle.
Add another rounded edge rectangle in the area just below the seat rise and seat. This is known as the seat (or side) jockey. That long vertical shape hanging down is the fender. The blevins buckle, which holds the stirrup to the saddle, is hidden behind the fender.
Step 3: Saddle Horn, Back Housing and Stirrup
The saddle horn sits on top of the pommel (also known as the swell). The saddle horn is that hook shaped thing (upside down boot) on the top right, the pommel is the rounded shape just under the horn.
Draw the back housing (top right) as a rounded rectangular shape as shown. The larger area underneath the back housing is known as the skirt.
Finally, add the stirrup shape to the bottom of the fender. The stirrup (where your boots go) is a sort of irregular shaped square.
Step 4: Front Rigging Dees, Etc.
OK, so those three shapes I have drawn there just under the seat jockey are the front rigging dees and the strap holder (middle).
These are essential in attaching the straps that keep the saddle stable and securely in place.
Step 5: Add Stirrup Detail
I'm showing this part as a close up because I want you to see the detail on this stirrup.
Again, it's just a rather complex shape made up of simpler shapes.
Study the drawing to the right and draw what you see.
On most all saddles there will be a little hobble strap circling around the blevins buckle and bottom of the fender
Step 6: Adding Details
To give this saddle the look of hand-tooled leather, I'm just going to "Scribble" random circular shapes inside the boundaries of the leather as shown. You may also want to add a border line around the edges of these leather areas.
The two circular shapes are known as conchos and the rear rigging dee is that circular shape just under the pencil.
Add the Final Touches
Continue making the circular scribbles on the flat leather areas (skirt, side jockey, back housing and the fender).
Add a few minor details and some shading in certain areas.
This is where you can really have some fun - add your initials in the tooled leather, ad a few additional conchos or spend some time with some real fancy tooling patterns.
It's your saddle, so make it yours.
SO how does your saddle drawing look? If you didn't get it right the first time, let me encourage you to keep trying. I promise you will do a bit better each time you try. Remember, drawing better takes lots of practice.