How to Draw a Dog in 4 Easy Steps
Table of Contents:
Draw This Cute Dog
When it comes to learning to draw, most people want to know how to draw a dog. That’s because we love dogs! And, what better subject than your best friend. You’ll find in this easy step-by-step guide, that drawing dogs isn’t as difficult as you thought; just start with some basic shapes and build from there.
To draw a realistic dog you need the proper tools, such as Arteza Professional Drawing Pencils. With these pencils, you get varying degrees of lead, from 6B to 4H. Those in the B range have a softer lead for thicker, darker lines and shading; while the H range are pencils with a harder lead for finer and lighter lines. Here, the artist uses the HB pencil, which has a medium degree of hardness, and the 2H pencil. We also recommend using the Arteza Drawing Pad for this project; because, at a weight of 80 lb (26gsm), it is heavier than typical drawing paper and will give you a nice, sturdy surface. Using this acid-free paper will also ensure that your work doesn’t fade over time.
Your Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1. Start with circles and ovals.
The major parts of the dog's body can be represented by various size circular shapes.
- Using the HB pencil, the artist makes a large circle for the chest, a medium circle for the dog’s hindquarters, and a small circle for the head placed just above the chest.
- She then draws a long oval shape where the tail will go.
- The artist shows where the muscular tops of the front and back legs are by using ovals to indicate them, smaller ones for the front and larger for the back. (See next example.)
- She uses the smallest circles to indicate the locations of joints on the hind legs, the ankles on the front legs, and for all four feet.
TIP: Since we’re drawing this dog as if we’re in front and to the side of it, get the correct perspective by placing the two circles of the front feet a little lower than the back feet. Things that appear closer to us will be lower and get a little higher as they move away from us.
It may not look like a dog quite yet, but now you have the foundation of shapes to begin building the dog’s frame.
Step 2. Connect the circles and ovals.
Begin by simply adding lines to connect all the circles and ovals.
- As you can see, the artist has used a curved line from the top of the chest circle to the top of the hindquarters circle to represent the dog’s back.
- She then connects the head circle to the chest with two lines to make a neck. Now, connect those two lines at the bottom with a V.
- The artist attaches the tail to the dog’s hindquarters with a line above and below the oval tail.
- Then she adds another curved line at the bottom of its chest to the lower fourth of its hindquarter.
- Straight lines will connect the legs’ upper parts to the feet.
- Once all the circles and ovals are connected, she adds the triangular ear you can see as well as the small ear portion of the head’s opposite side that you can only slightly see.
- When you draw the dog’s nose, think of it as a cylinder with an end. First, draw a curved triangle on the head where the nose should go. Then add a line from the triangle’s top towards the area where the eyes will be and a parallel line from the triangle’s bottom right corner. Connect these lines with a curved vertical line.
Step 3. Remove the circles and ovals.
Now that the dog’s major parts are all connected, the artist erases the circles and ovals and starts to draw a more realistic and lifelike dog.
- Place the nose at the end of the cylinder you drew earlier.
- Place the eyes in the center of the face close to where the bridge of the nose begins.
- You can see that the artist has added lines to indicate where the toes are in the dog’s paw.
- Draw lines to show where the leg extends into the body.
- Add the dog’s collar.
Step 4. Add shading.
Now you’re going to add life to the dog! The artist does this by using the 2H pencil for shading to give its body form and volume.
- Shade the dog’s inside left legs, making them darker to create shadows.
- Darken the area under and along the ear’s edge.
- Add the details of the mouth and darken.
- Note how the artist shades the chest and lightens it as she goes up the side of his body.
- Add shadows to the center of his hindquarter, shading down the front right leg.
- Darken the area under the tail where it meets the body and under its tip.
- Darken in the collar and chest.
There you have it! You’ve just drawn a cute dog. You can continue to add more details and shading until you’re satisfied with your results. We hope you’ve learned a lot and that this guide encourages you to draw more of your adorable, furry friends!
Quick Tips for Beginners
- Pay attention to proportions, especially at the very beginning. When learning how to draw a dog, you can study reference photos to become familiar with the proportion of actual dogs. Every breed has its own proportions, so you want to get this right at the start for a realistic-looking animal.
- Follow each step carefully and do not skip a step.
- Apply shading in the same direction as when you pet a dog, following the curves of its body.
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