This is my absolute favorite tip: Mold a kneaded eraser into a thin point with flat edges and stroke it over the shaded areas to pick up a little bit of graphite from small sections and create this fur effect.
Now that you’ve outlined the shadows and highlights of your dog’s face, you can begin to focus on the details. Begin by gently erasing the guidelines you created.
Next, use your pencil to add more subtle detail. Use a light touch because it’s easier to add more shadow than it is to erase it when you go too dark. Work from dark to light across the entire surface of the drawing, gradually building up the texture.
Continue shading the fur of the dog with the same 2B pencil we have been using and layer darker areas of the fur with a 4B pencil. Keep drawing scribbles until you are happy with the result. Not a dog person or just ready for more? Stay tuned because the next post will be all about drawing cats!
Begin by blocking the basic shapes that make up the dog and draw the base sketch. Use circles and ovals to guide you through the initial process. Draw very faint horizontal and vertical guidelines to help you align and place things like the eyes, snout, height of the face, etc.
Careful, smooth shading keeps the eyes looking bright and shiny. Keep your pencil sharp and use small, fine movements to create a smooth texture.
Begin by adding a bit of rough shading to indicate the shadows. In this example, the light is coming from top-left, making the lower right side slightly darker. There are also shadows under the dog’s ears.
Continue the same kind of fur texture as you work through each area of the dog’s face, keeping your pencils sharp. With more surface area filled, here we could see that more tone needed to be added across Poppy’s forehead and ears. We worked back into those areas with a Faber Castell 6B and the Steadler Mars Lumigraph 4B. The Lumigraph creates a darker tone.
If you can see the real dog’s character, your portrait is done
Today I am very excited to be kicking off a brand new series of blog posts. In this new series I will be guiding you every step of the way with easy to follow tutorials, showing you how to draw a variety of animals, from pets, to wildlife. Stick around for this wild ride (sorry, I just couldn’t resist!)
You don’t want to shade everything in the drawing. Instead, “reserve” or leave some parts of the paper unshaded to suggest highlights in the eyes, nose, and fur. Work from dark to light as you shade, adding strokes in layers to create texture.
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Take your time shading the collar to make sure it’s correctly drawn, noting the highlights and shadows in the reference photograph. Keep the fur tones fairly light as you move down the chest to the edge of the drawing, so that it fades off nicely. Knowing when you are finished with a portrait is tricky. Stand back, look at it with fresh eyes and compare it with your photo. If you feel you’ve captured the dog in your reference photo, then you’ve achieved your goal.
As you fill in more of the dog’s face, you can see which areas need more
To start with, it’s always convenient to get familiar with the shapes and proportions of the subject by creating some study sketches. When it comes to animals, we don’t tend to be as familiar with their skeletal system as we are with ours, so a quick image search online can help us get a better idea of the structure that lies beneath the surface.
It’s time to finish your drawing. Use your eraser to soften any marks that are too dark or intense. Then, use your pencil to finish the fur with even, hatched shading, particularly on the shadowed side of the face. Use coarse marks for long fur and fine marks for short fur.
Next, sketch the curve at the tip of the nose, the mouth, and chin. Pay attention to the spot where the plane changes here as well.
At this point you job is to balance tones across the dog’s whole face and ears, making sure the tones work overall. Using the 4B Steadler Mars Lumigraph, we started to add some darker tones into the nose, nostrils and darker fur. We softened the transitions and shading over areas using the Derwent HB pencil to pull everything together.
Remember that this is a sketch, not a photorealist drawing. You want to keep the drawing fresh and energetic, so don’t get too obsessed with tiny details.
Add some faint lines near the eyes, forehead, and neck to suggest folds of skin and ruffles of fur. These marks should be gestural; don’t spend too much time thinking about where to place them or whether to add shading. The trick is to look, think, and set the lines down with confidence.
You will also need some sketch paper, a drawing pencil, an eraser, and a pencil sharpener.
Now build up the layers gradually on the top of the dog’s head. Here we used a 4B Faber Castell pencil for the darker fur, keeping it sharp. Again, work in the direction of the fur, shading the darker areas in between the lighter flecks. Use a putty eraser, moulded to a point, to lift off any unwanted tones.
You have the basic structure and the outline, now it’s time to fill in some details. This is the stage where your dog’s portrait really starts to get form and personality.
You don’t need to be a skilled artist in order to draw a picture of your dog. All you need is a photo of your four-legged friend and a few basic drawing supplies. This simple lesson will show you how to draw a dog in just a few steps.
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Begin by choosing a suitable reference photo to work from. It doesn’t really matter what the photo is like as long as your dog’s face is clearly visible.
Use the eraser to work back into darker areas to soften marks as needed to enhance dimensionality.
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Now, build up the tone and details of the fur by using a darker color and scribbling smaller sections of fur.
Define the outline with a soft, clean pencil line and clean up the sketch by erasing the basic shapes and guidelines. Once you are happy with the final line-art, you can start to shade the fur and features. Use a dark pencil (such as a 6B) to shade the eyes and snout.
Next, sketch your dog’s eyes, making sure the pupils are lined up. Then add the nose and ears. As you draw, note where there are changes of plane near the eyes.
Sketch a curved line where the back of the muzzle meets the head and two lines down the face to give the muzzle some dimension. You can add hints of fur by adding a few loose lines along the shoulders and neck.
Follow along with this step-by-step tutorial to learn how to draw a dog in stunning realism!
Once you’ve gathered your materials, find a comfortable, well-lit place to work. Then you can get started.
You can add tone across the whole portrait at once, or do it an area at a time
With the basic lines of your dog’s face blocked in, you can sketch the head in more detail. Use a light touch as you draw; these guidelines should be faint so they can be erased later in the process.
Once you’re happy with the initial drawing, start to add detail and tone. Here a 4B Faber Castell pencil helped to build it up. It’s possible to work across the entire portrait at once and build up, or to work on single areas at a time. We’re taking the latter approach in this portrait, starting with the eyes to bring the dog alive from the outset.
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The ears are great fun to shade, as you’re dealing with a different texture to the rest of the dog. Poppy’s ears are silky smooth with a few light hairs on top. Pay attention to the direction you shade in, to match the undulations of the dog’s ears. Here we worked outwards, beginning nearest the head and shading out to the tips of the ears.
Check that the angle matches your source photo. Notice that there’s a slight outward curve in the line through the dog’s eyes; they aren’t completely forward on the head.
The paper used here is Italian Fabriano Hot Pressed watercolour paper, and the pencils are a variety of Derwent, Steadler Mars Lumigraph and Faber Castell 2B, 4B and 6B pencils. Faber Castell’s Putty eraser and a Helix battery-operated pencil sharpener complete the drawing kit we used here. Now let’s get started.
On a blank sheet of paper, begin by sketching a reference line to indicate the center of your dog’s face. This is called “blocking in” the features and is the first step in any drawing. Make sure the reference line runs between the ears and eyes and through the middle of your dog’s nose.
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The eyes are key, because it’s the first place that anyone will look. They must have the illusion of being shiny and alive, so it’s imperative to take your time in this area. Try to look at your reference photo and then back to your drawing constantly as you work. Leave the white of the paper for highlights and white fur. Build out from the eyes into the fur, still using the 4B to shade. Shade over the white patches of fur lightly, knocking back any areas that are overly bright.
Now that you’ve blocked in the basic shape, you should be able to keep the features lined up as you draw.
For the dog’s wet nose, block the entire area in with a 4B pencil, using less pressure than before. Poppy’s muzzle is much lighter in tone. To convey the delicate shape of her mouth area, we shaded between the white hairs on her upper lip. If you cover too many lighter hairs, just use a putty eraser to bring them back.
In the video below, you’ll see how this dog drawing came together, and underneath the video you can read step-by-step instructions to guide you through how to draw your own dog portrait.
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Use soft strokes where fur is short and harder strokes where it’s long. You can use the eraser to work back over white fur to brighten it and create a softer look.
If you wish to, you can draw some quick 5-minute study sketches in your sketchbook or sketchpad of different poses and angles. This will help you loosen up the hand and get even more familiar with the general shape of the dog breed you have chosen. This step will also allow you to get your ideas on paper and choose poses or decide if you want to draw a portrait or a full-body image.
Remember, the more you observe the small changes of fur tone and texture, the finer the hair will look. The amount of final detail you choose to add will depend on how much time you want to devote to the sketch.
For our first tutorial we will be drawing man’s best friend. Yes, dogs! As we will see many times throughout this series, there are many beautiful and adorable breeds of dogs out there, and I’ll leave you with the very difficult task of choosing just one to draw. For this tutorial I will be showing you how to draw a beagle, but the same principles apply to any breed.
Now slowly build up the layers, starting to employ the 6B pencil, to achieve some darker tones. You don’t need the ears to be completely finished at this stage, as you can check back on these and all of the parts once the main part of the dog’s face is done. It’ll be easier to judge later how much darker they need to be compared to the rest of the portrait.
Depending on the breed and their type of fur, you will want to shade it with directional strokes mimicking the direction of the hairs on the dog. Don’t get caught up trying to draw individual hairs, instead shade the general fur area in its same direction using a 2B pencil.
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When drawing pet portraits, you don’t just need to know how to draw animals: the task is capture the personality of that particular animal. You can’t just draw any dog. This sweet dog is Poppy, and she was drawn from a reference photo from her humans.
This article originally appeared in Paint & Draw issue 8. Buy it here.
Artists use a variety of different techniques to achieve their initial drawing. These include using a grid method, sketching, tracing and using projectors. However you get your initial drawing on paper, the key is to take your time and don’t press too hard. This initial sketch was made with a 2B clutch pencil. Make sure your outline drawing is correct before adding tone.