Drawing Realistic Animals: How to Draw a Dog

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!)

Follow along with this step-by-step tutorial to learn how to draw a dog in stunning realism!

drawing dogs tutorial

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.

Dog anatomy skeletonImage via Wikimedia Commons

Before you begin: Study sketches

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.

drawing dogs tutorial

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.

Step 1:

drawing dogs tutorial 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.

Step 2:

drawing dogs tutorial drawing dogs tutorial 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.

Step 3:

drawing dogs tutorial 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.

Step 4:

drawing dogs tutorial drawing dogs tutorial Now, build up the tone and details of the fur by using a darker color and scribbling smaller sections of fur.

Step 5:

drawing dogs tutorial 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.

Step 6:

drawing dogs tutorial 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!

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