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Whether or not you own a dog, drawing one is simple when you know the right steps.
In this tutorial you will learn how to draw a dog. It is aimed at beginners – but even experienced artists will still learn a thing or two. We’ll look at tips for drawing on a computer or tablet but you can still follow these steps if you’re drawing with pencil and paper.
So grab whatever you’re using and let’s get started…
Now we can start outlining the dog’s body and features. If you’re using paper, it’s best to use a darker, softer pen or pencil. If you’re using a digital device, it’s best to open a new drawing layer and soften the sketches that you’ve been working on so far.
You can combine two different techniques to achieve the best outline. For the top of the body, use normal lines. Then to create a realistic look for the bottom, use hatching lines so that the fur doesn’t lay flat like it does on top.
For the chest and belly area, you can follow the circle of your preliminary sketch and adjust it slightly to get the right body shape. The forehead, muzzle and nose can be joined up to form a continuous shape. Then to add thickness to the legs, draw outlines either side of the scaffold line you drew earlier. And remember – the legs tend to get thicker at the top.
We still need to draw the pair of legs furthest away. The leg pairs look pretty much identical in side view. The only thing to keep in mind is that dogs tend to place their hind legs a bit further apart than the front legs.
At this stage, we can also develop the muzzle. Feel free to add a slobbering tongue if you like.
For this next stage, we’ll draw a dog in relaxed pose. This dog will look most like a Golden Retriever.
Dogs’ eyes are more circular than human eyes. So start with a circle and add the eyelids fairly close to the circle. In the middle of the circle, draw a pupil. For the glow, add a point of light offset slightly at the top. If using a pencil, think about the point of light before you draw, or have a good eraser handy.
A dog's nose is a pretty complicated structure with some bumps and folds. Here’s a simple process for constructing the dog’s nose from a frontal perspective:
1. Start with a wide square, proportionally like a landscape sheet of A4 paper. Halve it in height and width. (In the upper half, the vertical bisecting line isn’t that important.)
2. Position the nostrils on the horizontal center line, each one halfway to the center point. On the sides, make an angled-down mark ¾ of the way down from the top.
3. Round the edges slightly.
4. Using a snail shape, connect the markings ¾ of the way down with the nostrils. At the very bottom, put a V in the center.
5. Connect the V and the upper half using a curved line. The nostrils also taper slightly to the sides at 5 o'clock (for the right) and 7 o'clock (for the left).
6. Remove the guide lines except the vertical one, which points down from the center.
One of the advantages of working digitally is the huge array of color tones. There are many possible workflows here, depending on the software and artist. One option is to work with fill levels for each individual color tone. This gives you the opportunity to adjust and change individual colors at the end.
For this dog, we need at least six shades. Here we have four shades of brown for the coat, a base shade, two darker gradations for shading and a lighter gradation for lit areas. We can also use a light pink shade for the tongue and a very dark brown shade for the eyes, nose and for the shadow the muzzle casts on the tongue.
You don't have to limit yourself to just a few shades. But it’s good to start with a manageable color palette and then expand the palette when necessary.
Your cute and cuddly dog is now complete. Depending on your style, you can go into more detail with your dog. You can keep a more sketched look or take the level of detail up to photorealism.
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed following this workflow and drawing along with it. There are always different ways to draw a picture, so keep bringing your own ideas but also keep looking out for inspiration from others.
Have fun drawing and see you soon!
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