Art History Lab

From Furry to Fabulous: Basics and Techniques for Drawing Dogs

Dog Drawing Basics

Drawing dogs can be a fun and rewarding hobby. Through pencil strokes and shading, you can bring the unique character of each dog breed to life on paper.

However, before attempting to draw a dog, it’s essential to understand the basics of short-hair vs. long-hair breeds and techniques for drawing fur.

Short-hair vs. Long-hair Dog Breeds

When it comes to drawing dog breeds, one of the primary considerations is whether the breed has short or long hair.

Short-haired breeds include Dobermans, Boxers, and Dalmatians, while long-haired breeds include Afghan Hounds, Shih Tzus, and Bichon Frises, among others. The main difference in drawing short-haired vs.

long-haired breeds is in the fur’s texture. Short-haired dogs have smooth fur that usually lies close to their skin, while long-haired dogs have more flowy and fluffy fur that needs careful attention to detail.

Techniques for Drawing Fur

When it comes to drawing fur, it’s essential to pay attention to details such as length, direction, and texture. Here are some techniques to consider when drawing fur:


Length – The fur’s length depends on the breed, and it’s usually longer in long-haired breeds. To depict fur’s length, use soft edges and longer strokes.

2. Direction – Fur usually grows in varying directions, so you’ll need to pay attention to which way the fur is growing.

To depict fur direction, use short and pointed pencil strokes in the direction of the fur growth. 3.

Texture – The texture of fur varies from one breed to another, with some having more fluff and others having shorter fur. To depict texture, experiment with different pencil strokes, such as hatching, cross-hatching, and shading.

Materials Needed for Dog Drawing

To produce great dog drawings, the right materials are crucial. Here are some of the materials you need:


Colored Pencil Crayons – There are different types of colored pencils, but the wax-based ones are great for drawing dogs because they allow you to blend colors well. 2.

Paper – You’ll need paper that’s sturdy enough to withstand the pencil pressure and hold the colors without bleeding through. Select a paper size that best suits the dog’s size, and ensure it has a texture that mimics the fur.

3. Pastel Chalk Pieces – If you want to add more vibrant colors to the drawing, pastel chalk pieces are an excellent choice.

4. White Marker Pen – A white marker pen helps you highlight areas of the drawing, such as the eyes and nose, to make them pop.

5. Drawing/Blending Stump – This tool helps to blend the colors to create a more natural-looking effect.

6. Putty Eraser – A putty eraser is gentle on the paper and helps lift off mistakes or smudges without damaging the paper’s surface.

7. Pencil Eraser – A pencil eraser is more precise than a putty eraser and is useful for erasing small details.

Importance of Material Selection

The materials you choose can make a significant difference in the quality of the drawing. Colored pencils, for example, produce a softer look than pastel chalk and are easier to blend.

In contrast, pastel chalk produces a vibrant and bold look that highlights the dog’s features. Selecting the right paper type and size is also essential as it ensures the drawing lasts longer and looks professional.


Dog drawing is a fulfilling hobby that requires an understanding of short-hair vs. long-hair breeds and the techniques for drawing fur.

Equally important is selecting the right materials, such as colored pencils, pastel chalk, white marker pens, erasers, and paper. Remember to experiment with different material combinations to produce unique and professional-looking dog drawings.

How to Draw a Dog – The Basics

Drawing a dog requires a few basics that help you identify the dog’s features and capture its essence on paper. From choosing the right dog picture to creating a comfortable workspace, these basics can help you achieve a successful dog drawing.

Choosing the Dog Picture

When selecting a dog picture to draw, consider the following:

1. Details – Opt for a high-quality photo with enough details to show the dog’s features clearly.

2. Facial Expression – The dog’s facial expression can greatly affect the drawing’s mood and overall impression.

3. Fur Direction – Understanding the direction of the fur can help you make the drawing look more natural.

4. Eye Reflectivity – Capturing the dog’s eyes’ reflectivity is key to achieving a realistic and lively image.

Thinking in Surfaces and Colors

When drawing a dog, it’s essential to think in surfaces and colors. Thinking in surfaces is the ability to envision the dog’s features as differing surfaces, making drawing less intimidating.

When it comes to colors, aim to use a technique that complements the approach. Some artists prefer using pastel chalk, while others may gravitate towards colored pencils or watercolor.

Creating a Comfortable Workspace

Having a comfortable workspace is essential to have a relaxed and focused mindset when drawing. Consider the following:


Lighting – Good lighting is key to seeing the details and colors. Use lamps or natural light when possible.

2. Music/Movie – Listening to music or watching a movie can help achieve the right mindset and reduce stress.

How to Draw a Dog – Step-by-Step Guide

Even with little to no experience drawing, following a step-by-step guide can help you create a beautiful dog drawing. Here’s a beginner-friendly guide:

Beginning with the Photo and Sketching

Reference the chosen photo to sketch an outline of the dog. Divide the paper into quadrants to keep the drawing proportional.

Use light pencil strokes for the sketch to avoid mistakes. Drawing the Different Parts – Ears, Forehead, Eyes, Mouth, Nose, Chin, Chest

Once the outline is complete, begin adding details to the dog’s ears, forehead, eyes, mouth, nose, chin, and chest.

1. Ears – Use pastel chalk to add fur and blending to achieve natural-looking ears.

2. Forehead – Add shading to the top portion to achieve the dog’s curved forehead.

3. Eyes – Use white markers pens to add reflections, and black for the pupils and eyelashes.

Add fur around the eyes with pastel chalk. 4.

Mouth – Add shading to the underside of the mouth, and use pastel chalk to add fur and blending. 5.

Nose – Use a combination of black pencils and markers pens to achieve a realistic-looking nose. 6.

Chin – Add shading to create a defined chin, and use pastel chalk to add fur texture. 7.

Chest – Add fur texture and blending to achieve a natural-looking chest. Add whisker details.


Drawing a dog can seem daunting, but following these basics can help you create a beautiful and realistic drawing. With practice and patience, anyone can achieve a great dog drawing.

Remember to reference high-quality photos, think in surfaces and colors, and create a comfortable workspace. Use this step-by-step guide as a foundation for your next dog-drawing project.

Final Touches and Detailing

Creating beautiful dog drawings is a process that requires skill, practice, and patience. After following the step-by-step guide and basic techniques, it’s time to put the final touches on the drawing.

Here are some tips for the final touches and detailing:

Emphasizing Fur Growth and Filling in Gaps

To emphasize the fur growth and fill in gaps, follow these tips:

1. Use a white pastel chalk to highlight the fur’s texture and flow.

2. Use black pastel chalk to add depth to the fur so it appears more natural.

3. Use a pencil eraser to clean up small mistakes or smudges, then use a kneading eraser to remove larger strokes.

Cleaning the Dog’s Outline

Cleaning the dog’s outline is crucial to achieve a clean and professional-looking drawing. Use a kneading eraser to clean up the outline and to remove unwanted or overlapping pencil marks.

Be careful not to press too hard on the paper as it can damage it.

Practice and Enjoy the Process

Now that the final touches are complete, it’s important to continue practicing and enjoying the process. Here are some tips for practice and enjoyment:

Importance of Practice

The more you practice drawing, the better you will become. Practice different techniques and styles to find your unique approach.

Draw every day for short intervals so that you can see improvement over time.

Enjoyment in Drawing

Drawing dogs should be an enjoyable experience. Experiment with your approach and be open to trying new things.

Don’t feel like you have to get everything perfect on the first try. Remember that drawing takes time and patience.

Enjoy the process of learning and creating art.


Achieving beautiful dog drawings requires following basic techniques, putting in practice, and enjoying the process. After creating the outline and adding details, the final touches such as emphasizing fur growth and cleaning the outline are crucial.

Remember to continue practicing and experimenting with different styles and techniques. Most importantly, have fun with the process and using your artistic talents to create beautiful pieces of art.

Drawing a dog requires an understanding of basics such as choosing a high-quality photo, thinking in surfaces and colors, and creating a comfortable workspace. Once the basics are understood, following a step-by-step guide makes the process less intimidating.

Final touches and detailing are essential to achieve a polished drawing, such as emphasizing the fur growth and cleaning the outline. Practicing is a crucial aspect of becoming skilled in dog drawing, and enjoyment is vital to make the experience pleasurable.

Overall, with patience, persistence, and a love for the process, anyone can create beautiful dog drawings.

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