KSmith Equine Creations

Studio Videos For Model Horse Artists
by Equine Artist, Kimberley Smith


Appaloosa & Paint Horse Markings

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Adding Darker Appaloosa Spots
Video Length: 4 min, 24 sec (This video is being updated for better quality.)


First draw the spots with a prismacolor pencil, then with a small brush, carefully paint with an earth pigment color over the spots. Drawing the spots first with the Prismacolor pencil helps give the darker pigment a better grip on the model horse. If the pigment goes where you don't want it, or if you decide you don't like where a spot is, wipe off the pigment with a damp sharp pointed q-tip.

When painting Appaloosa markings, I often like to add the spots first. For me it's like laying downa a road map for the white markings.

Materials/Tools Used:
Dark Brown Prismacolor pencil
Custom Pigment 56 & 57



Markings 1, Part 1
Wet Pigment Technique
Video Length: 25 min, 22 sec


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On a small ceramic plate, mix titanium white pigment with a small amount of water. This mixture should be like thick cream consistancy. If you pick up a bunch of it on a paint brush, it shouldn't drip. In the beginning of the video I am getting all of the tiny clumps of pigment disolved.
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When starting the markings, just try to aim for the general shape of the markings. As you watch the video you can see how I'm refining the markings towards the end. Keep in mind that it's easy to change the markings before matte spraying and if you accidently get white somewhere where it shouldn't, it's easy to wipe off with a baby wipe or soft damp cloth.

For the solid white areas, use a soft small brush. The pigment will remain very smooth but because the pigment is applied wet, the it will be a thicker layer of pigment then if you bushed the pigment on dry.

Matte spray the first layer when finished.
Important Tip: When matte spraying, don't spray too lightly. I use Dullcote and spray until it looks like I have a gloss finish. Let the model horse sit at least 10 minutes, then gently rub your finger over the new marking. If any white pigment is rubbed off, the marking needs to be matte sprayed again before continuing.

Materials/Tools Used:
Titanium White Pigment
Small Paint brushes
Paint Eraser



Markings 1, Part 2
Video Length: 16 min, 28 sec


In this session, continued with the next video also, I am brightening up the white stocking and starting to detail the edges of the marking. Continue to use only wet white pigment. At the very end I am very gently taking a clean dry make up brush to make sure my stocking is smooth. I have not matte sprayed yet. I have continued in the next video.


Markings 1, Part 2 Continued...
Video Length: 6 min, 36 sec


In this video I am continuing session 2 with more fine hair detailing. Matte spray when finished.

In the parts I accidently had the horse off camera, I continued to add tiny fine lines of hair and softening the edges by picking up a tiny bit of pigment on the sharpest point of the paint eraser and rubbing off excess pigment.

To finish the leg markings, you can paint one more layer of wet white pigment or you can begin by painting a mixture of white acrylic paint on the solid parts of the leg marking. I like adding a touch of Americana Neutral grey with titanium white Liquitex paint so the white looks more natural and not so bright. Bighten up the leg marking in thin white layers. After layer 2 has been matte sprayed you should only need 2-3 more layers of white. Matte spray each layer of white added. Also, if the detailed parts of the leg markings needs more work, continue to use your paint eraser to add fine hair detail.


Markings 2, Part 1
Video Length: 22 min, 42 sec


In this video serries, I'm going to show you how to create intricate spotted markings easily. This is another way to use the wet pigment technique. The benefits to this technique is, you can acheive a realistic spotted pattern more easily than drawing the pattern with paint or a Prismacolor pencil, the markings are smooth, and less white layers are needed. There is one other reason I love this technique.... when setting up the pattern (first layer), mistakes can easily be fixed or markings can be changed if needed.

To begin, first fix mix a bit of pigment with water on a ceramic plate. The ceramic plate helps the pigment not dry out so fast. Also have the reference picture of a horse pattern you would like to paint in front of you and also, a wet baby wipe, water brushes and a paint eraser. As you may notice in my videos, I love having the refernce photos on my computer screen. I can flip through photos and zoom in on a photo when ever I need to.

Start the markings by roughly painting the general shape of the face marking with the wet pigment and a small soft brush. On my resin horse, I'm painting one side of the head at a time. When you begin, don't worry about detailing. You just need the general shape. Compare my reference photo with the white I painted on the horse in the beginning of the video.

The general idea of this technique is to lift off the pigment to reveal the base color of the horse again. If the pigment is thick, gently take off the pigment with a damp/wet small paint brush, then use a paint eraser to lift off the pigment. As a rule, never press hard. You don't want to rub the pigment into the base color of the horse. This is a gentle, and patient process. Also, as your working on the markings, try not to touch the markings with your fingers. You don't want to smudge the pigment. From time to time, you'll see me dab a spot on the horse with my finger. That's when I accidently got too much water on the horse with my paint brush. I'm simply just picking up the excess water.

Part 2 and 3 continues with the right side of the head and the start of the upper neck markings.




Reference Photos


Markings 2, Part 2
Video Length: 1 min, 35 sec


In this short video clip you can see how I'm starting to create the Paint Horse mapped edges on the markings. It's the same process of lifting off the pigment, just not all the way. This video is a bit short because my phone storage got full. Before the next video I continued some mapping around the spots and edges, I added more spots, and also painted white on the upper neck and around the mane. The next video continues pulling together the head and neck marking.


Markings 2, Part 3
Video Length: 23 min, 43 sec


I hope by watching the videos for the first layer of white on the head and neck, you can see all the little ways the spots are created and how the whole look of the markings is pulled together. Only matte spray the first layer after you are happy with the pattern.

If you matte spray with Dullcote, it's okay to spray until the horse looks glossy but not too glossy. Keep in mind that if you matte spray too lightly, the white pigment may rub off.

If you are working on one side of the head at a time, wait until the matte spray is thoroughly dry, then create the white marking on the other side of the head. When finishing the head marking it's best to finish the markings at the same time.

Markings 3, will continue with the 2nd white layer step.


Markings 3 (2nd Layer of White)
Video Length: min, sec


This is the second layer of white. Begin by using a soft brush of your preference to paint a thin solid layer of white. When I paint solid white areas I like using a small flat brush because I can turn it on it's side for very narrow areas or more precise painting. With the brush, I am picking up very little wet pigment and I'm applying it gently. The pigment should be a nice smooth thin layer and noticeably whiter.

For the edges of the marking, this 2nd layer details the edges. The main finish goal is to have the edges only a little darker than the solid white areas with the exception of any spots near the muzzle. The mapping around any spots near the muzzle is usually darker and smoother because there is less hair on the skin. When painting the edges, keep in mind hair direction. The goal is to paint tiny hair details along the edges. Also, I always like to have in mind that the number one rule to realistic markings is no hard edges. The best markings always have soft looking edges. You also want the solid areas and darker edge areas blended.

To create the detail, first get a very thin layer of wet pigment on your ceramic dish. It's very important not to have this layer to thick. For most of the edges you can use the sharp end of your paint eraser but if you have hard to reach places or a very detailed area that is too tiny for the paint eraser, touch the sharp tip of a white colored pencil into the wet pigment and gently apply the pigment. The idea is to use the pencil only to apply the pigment, not the pencil itself.


Markings 4 (3rd Layer of White)
Video Length: min, sec


This video shows the 3rd layer of pigment. From here on the goal is to brighten up the solid white areas and if needed, add a little bit more pigment on the edges of the markings.

Near the middle of the video you'll see another option for adding detail. I used my smallest brush to every so gently add tiny hair detail on the shoulder markings.

From here on, use your best judgement. On a dark colored horse it may take up to 6-7 layers of white before the marking looks solid white. After experimenting with the belly marking, I've discovered that acrylic paint is not needed to get the white areas solid. This white pigment is also a natural looking white for markings. Matte spray between each layer and let each layer dry thoroughly before adding more pigment.

When the muzzle marking is solid white, use custom pigment 50 to add skin pink on the muzzle.