How to Draw a Dog – Step by Step Dog Drawing Guide
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Drawing a dog is great fun and a challenge. This is because proportions, fur, eyes, nose, and many other details all need to be combined to create a realistic dog drawing. In this blog post, we will show you how to draw a dog by step. The simple dog drawing process will be presented alongside pictures to make things easier to follow. We have also included many useful tips and tricks to help you to learn how to draw a dog and to achieve the best results. So, if you want to learn how to draw a dog for kids or adults, then be sure to continue on to our detailed guide below.
Table of Contents
- 1 Dog Drawing Basics
- 2 Materials Need for Dog Drawing
- 3 How to Draw a Dog – The Basics
- 4 How to Draw a Dog Step by Step Guide
Dog Drawing Basics
When drawing dogs with colored pencils, is there a big difference in drawing different dog breeds? Yes, absolutely! But for me, the difference is not if the dog is small or big, has short or long legs, is light or dark, but more in the structure of the coat. The easiest way to begin is to start with dogs with a shorter coat. Here you will draw with short brisk strokes. The direction of growth usually remains the same as well as the length. Soon you will be able to do this quickly and without thinking too much.
With dogs with a longer coat, like a Golden Retriever, it becomes more complicated. The individual hairs stick out in different directions, overlap, and vary in length. The hairs in the area of the head are relatively short, and at the ears, they start to get longer. The hairs can curl due to movement and become longer over the wider body. With dogs, you have to think a lot and draw in long strokes. Do not let yourself be driven crazy. Here too, proceed in small steps and draw parts individually. This will make it a little easier.
Make it easier for yourself at the beginning by sticking to portrait drawings and working at least on DIN A4 if possible. The smaller your drawing is, the more complicated it becomes. On larger sizes you can play around a bit more, you can see more when drawing and it is easier to get the details. In the end, this makes your drawing look very realistic.
Materials Need for Dog Drawing
You don’t need much for a colored pencil drawing, which is the style we will be doing in this tutorial. At that time of drawing, I only started with a sheet of paper, various pieces of pastel chalk, and colored pencils. This is a great medium for producing an easy dog drawing. Whether you are learning how to draw a dog, or want to draw anything else, here are some of the materials that I use and recommend:
- Natural white, acid-free, and age-resistant paper
- Colored pencils from KOH-I-NOOR
Important for me, as I can use it to prime large areas
- Pastel chalk pieces from KOH-I-NOOR
Important for me, because with this I can draw in more layers and later create the coat structure
- White artists pen marker
Important for me, because I can draw small accents like tactile hair and small reflections
- Blending/drawing stump
Important for me, because I blend transitions, create coat structure, and soften areas
- Kneading putty eraser
This is important for me because I can shape it in such a way that I can both erase large areas and set small accents. Note: Dark colors cannot be erased!
- Pencil eraser
Important for me, because this eraser is much harder. I can use it to create very hard lines, make small repairs, or lighten small areas. Note: Dark colors cannot be erased here either!
How to Draw a Dog – The Basics
For an easy dog drawing, it’s important to get the basics down first. Before learning how to draw a dog step by step, these are a few important points to get right.
Choosing the Dog Picture
The selection can be summarized in a precise sentence: The sharper and more detailed the photo of the animal, the easier the drawing! Just make sure you keep the drawing as simple as possible. Do you recognize the look of the animal? Do you see the reflections in the eye? Do you notice the direction of the fur? If you can determine all this, you have a great model!
Don’t make the same mistake that I have made before. I would just use any picture, no matter how blurry or out of focus. The problem? I lost interest! I was constantly forced to think too much, to look for similar pictures on Google and to try to combine these different pictures nd ideas. All this took up unnecessary time, nerves and desire.
Think in Surfaces and Colors
I got into the habit of thinking in terms of surfaces. By this, I mean that I do not see a dog’s eye in front of me, for example, but a black border filled with many different shades of brown. Between these brown tones sometimes a white, sometimes a light brown or dark brown spot flashes up. This idea makes it much easier for me to approach.
Find a comfortable place you like to be in. A DIN A3 drawing takes me between 20 and 30 hours. Once you have found a place you like and where you feel comfortable, you will be able to draw for much longer in one go. Put on your favorite music or let a film run in the background like I do.
How to Draw a Dog Step by Step Guide
Now it’s time to start creating your dog drawing. Whether you have chosen a simple dog drawing or a very complex one, these steps should remain the same.
1. From Photo to Drawing
Let’s get down to business. Here I would like to introduce you to my pastel chalk drawing of Bert the Pug and explain my approach. Below you will find detailed instructions for drawing a pug.
Using a pencil, I have roughly sketched Bert’s outlines and shades. Now I start to work from top left to top right. This keeps the simple background that I won’t wipe while doing the drawing. Pastel chalk is very vulnerable. The only exception was that I drew both ears at the same time. So I use the same colors for both sides and apply the same techniques.
Tip: To keep the right ear protected later when drawing, I put transparent foil on it. By the way, baking paper also works very well.
With Bert, I started to pre-hatch both ears with a piece of black pastel chalk. Afterward, I extended the colors with further grey tones. Since the area is relatively large, but I still want to soften everything and fill white spaces, I blurred the color with my fingers. You can massage the colors with small, light round wiping movements. Then draw in more hairs with a dark brown pastel crayon. Afterward, get lighter and lighter. The more tones you have of one color, the better. When drawing the hairs, make sure that they lie on top of each other. I draw from “back to front” so that the back hairs are covered by the hairs in front of them.
Once I have filled my ears with the different colors, I like to use a freshly sharpened white colored pencil. Using this, I make short strokes in the direction of the coat growth over the whole area again. This achieves great reflections. Once this is done, take a dark pencil again and add more individual dark accents.
With dark surfaces, like Bert’s ear, they go from dark to light. This is very easy to achieve with pastel chalk.
2. The Forehead Area
Continue with the forehead section. This requires a little rethinking. You now draw from light to dark. First, prime the new surface with a sand-colored pastel crayon. Work from forehead crease to forehead crease. This time I don’t blur the sand-colored surface, but draw in the hairs with a white pastel crayon. Don’t smudge the surface now, because the bright spaces in between help to lighten it up. Once you have drawn this area, turn to darker colors and draw in darker areas. If it gets a bit too dark, just use a lighter color again and lighten it with short strokes.
Note: For light surfaces, such as Bert’s forehead wrinkles, go from light to dark and do not blur the color before.
3. Drawing Dog Eyes
Now comes the area of a drawing that becomes most expressive and gives the animal the greatest recognition value and breathes life into it – the eyes. Bert’s rolling eyes are very dark, which is why I work from dark to light again. First, prime everything again with a black pastel crayon. Already now you should pay attention to the direction of coat growth.
Go over the black fur around the eyes again with your fingers. Here it is important that the entire fur area is deep black. Immediately, you can begin again to draw in the individual hairs with a light-grey pastel chalk crayon. To blend transitions that are too light, you could either use the blending stump or, like me in this case – a black pastel crayon. This will give you a shadow of the hair and more depth at the same time.
I also draw the eyes again at the same time and pay special attention to the arrangement of the colors. Here too, draw in black at first, in order to incorporate various shades of brown. With the colors, I went from dark brown to light brown. Let the colors run into each other by drawing with a lighter brown into the dark brown. This works especially well with small circular drawing movements.
4. Drawing the Mouth and Nose
When drawing the mouth and nose, draw again from dark to light. The steps are similar to the eyes. With the black pastel crayon, I draw dark areas and depressions. Do not do this with straight lines, but try to include the direction of the coat growth again. When this is done, reach for a dark grey and light grey pastel crayon. Draw the coat with short strokes. Now you can blend nicely with the stump.
A little tip: Since several layers of pastel chalk are now on top of each other, it will be difficult to set white accents. Therefore, you can now take the white pastel chalk piece. As it is very soft, it is also very opaque. So it also sticks on several layers of pastel chalk.
5. The Chin
I primed Bert’s chin again with a black pastel crayon and then soaped it with my finger so that there was no white space between the two. Then I drew small hairs with a dark brown pastel crayon and got lighter with grey crayons until I reach for the white pastel crayon again.
Now follows a special feature: Bert has whiskers on his chin and in the area of his mouth. On the one hand, you could reach for the white pastel chalk piece. The disadvantage is the inaccuracy and the rough application of color. On the other hand, you can use a white marker. With this, you can highlight the smallest details. When I drew the tactile hair, I went over the line again with a white pointed pastel crayon. This way it becomes a bit softer.
6. The Chest
Bert’s head is now ready. Finally, his chest follows. Here the hair is clearly longer. So you can reach for the light brown toned pastel crayon and start to draw long, overlapping strokes of hair. If you look at the hair in detail, you can see different shades of color. So after the light hairs were done, next to them I drew more hairs with a darker shade of brown and continued going darker and darker as I went on. The light hairs should only blend with a white pastel crayon, the dark ones with a blending stump. This was done before I drew over them with a white pastel crayon in the direction of the coat growth.
Once I created an expressive surface, I actually take a sharp black pastel crayon and fill in the gaps with light pressure. Of course, this is done in the direction of coat growth, by shading the individual hairs with it. Finally, take your kneading rubber and clean the entire area around the dog with small circular movements. While drawing, some tiny pieces of pigment that are lying on the white sheet will get stuck. So don’t wipe these away with your fingers, but rather erase them.
If you want to learn how to draw a dog for kids or adults, then be sure to follow the steps in this guide. Hopefully it has inspired you to learn how to draw a dog properly, and you will take some time practicing and enjoying this fun way of drawing. The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the process!
Alina Fuchs lives in Dortmund and has been working in the Mettmann district since 2017. After graduating from high school in 2010, she first studied social work and completed her bachelor's degree in 2014. She then completed another dual study program in the field of public administration. Art has been her constant companion for as long as Alina can remember, just like animals. Even as a small child, she preferred drawing or going out into nature to watching TV, for example. Her great role model was her aunt Silke. She drew Alina many times horses with the patience of an angel, which Alina then colored or traced. She was often in the ears of her parents that she wanted to have half a zoo at home. Through her love of animals and growing up between horses and dogs, she subconsciously memorized many movements, proportions, expressions, fur growth directions and shades. This is also the reason why Alina is attracted to animal drawings.
Alina's father soon realized that her utensils such as pencils and crayons were no longer sufficient, so he gave her a pastel chalk box for Christmas 2011. Through this, she discovered her true passion and began to develop her own techniques and expand her stock of pastels. She never attended a drawing class. Alina offers the following tip: "Go ahead and dare to form your own style!"