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Drawing 101: How to Draw a Dog?

By Jinee

How To's

How to Draw a Dog?

Have you ever wanted to draw a portrait of your furry friend but didn't know where to start? Fear not, because we've got you covered! In this article, we'll teach you how to draw a dog step by step using easy-to-follow instructions. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced artist, this tutorial will help you master the art of drawing dogs.

Materials You’ll Need:

Ensuring you have the right supplies before you start drawing your furry friend is important. Here's a list of essential dog-sketching tools you'll need:

  • Pencil - A graphite pencil is perfect for sketching and shading.
  • Eraser - Choose a good quality eraser that won't smudge or smudge your paper.
  • Paper - You can use any type of paper, but a plain white sketchbook paper works best.
  • Reference Photos - Gather some photos of the breed of dog you want to draw to use as inspiration and reference.

Now that you have your supplies, you're all set to start your dog-drawing journey! As a beginner, it's best to start with the basics and gradually work your way up to more complex techniques.

Study Dog Anatomy

Before starting to draw a dog, it's essential to understand its anatomy. Observing the proportions of a dog's body, face, and expressions can make your drawing look more realistic and accurate.

Begin by studying the different parts of the dog's body, such as the head, neck, torso, limbs, and tail. Pay attention to the size and shape of each part and how they relate to each other.

Body Proportions

Different breeds of dogs have different body proportions. For example, Dachshunds have a long and narrow body with short legs, while Greyhounds have a sleek and muscular body with long legs.

When drawing a dog, start by sketching a basic shape for the body and then adjust the proportions according to the breed you're drawing.

Facial Expressions

A dog's face is one of its most expressive features. Depending on their mood, dogs can show a range of emotions through their facial expressions.

Pay attention to the position of the ears, the shape of the eyes and nose, and the curve of the mouth when capturing a dog's expression.

Different Breeds

Each breed of dog has unique features, such as fur texture, color, and patterns. When drawing a specific breed, make sure to study its characteristics and incorporate them into your drawing.

Take a reference photo of the breed you're drawing and observe its body, face, and fur to replicate those features in your drawing.

Start with Basic Shapes

Before diving into details, it's important to establish basic shapes as a foundation for drawing a dog. Breaking down the dog's body into simple shapes such as circles, ovals, and rectangles helps in achieving proportional accuracy and saves time in correcting mistakes later on.

Begin by sketching a circle for the head, followed by an oval for the body and smaller circles for the joints. Use rectangles for the legs and a tapered line for the tail. It's okay if the initial sketch looks rough, as this will be the framework for adding details.

Pro Tip:

If you're struggling to get the proportions right, try drawing in the negative space between the shapes. This technique can give a better sense of how the shapes fit together.

Add Details and Features

Now that you have the basic shape of your dog sketch down, it's time to add some details and features to make it come to life!

Step 1: Eyes and Nose

The eyes and nose are the most important features of a dog's face. Draw the eyes with an oval shape and add a small circle for the pupil. The nose can be drawn as a triangle or a rectangle, depending on the breed of dog you are drawing.

Step 2: Mouth and Ears

The mouth should be drawn as a curved line underneath the nose. You can also add a small tongue sticking out if you want. For the ears, observe the breed of dog you are drawing and try to mimic the shape of their ears. For example, a Labrador Retriever's ears are long and droopy, while a German Shepherd's ears are tall and pointed.

Step 3: Fur

Adding fur is what will make your dog drawing look really fluffy and realistic. Start by drawing short, curved lines around the dog's face, neck and ears. Then, draw longer lines along the back and tail. Make sure to vary the length and direction of the lines to create a natural looking coat.

Step 4: Other Features

Depending on the breed of dog, you may want to add other features such as whiskers, spots, or a collar. Take a look at reference photos to see what other details you can add to your drawing.

Bring Your Drawing to Life

To make your dog drawing more realistic, it's important to add depth, shading, and texture. This will help create a three-dimensional effect and bring your drawing to life.

Adding Depth

The first step in adding depth is to identify the light source in your drawing. This will help you determine which areas should be highlighted and which should be shaded.

To add depth, start shading the areas that are farthest away from the light source, such as the underside of the dog's body. Use a light touch and gradually build up the shading until you achieve the desired effect.

Creating Texture

Texture is an important element in creating a realistic drawing. To create texture, experiment with different shading techniques such as cross-hatching, stippling, and scribbling.

You can also use different pencils to create texture. For example, a 2H pencil will create a lighter texture than a 6B pencil.


Blending is an essential technique in adding depth and texture to your drawing. To blend, use a blending tool such as a blending stump or tortillon.

Gently blend the shadows and highlights together, taking care not to overblend. This will create a smooth transition between the different tones and add a realistic texture to your drawing.

By following these tips, you can create a realistic and lifelike dog drawing.

Explore Cartoony Styles

Who says dog drawings have to be realistic? Take your art to the next level by exploring different cartoon styles. Cartoony dog drawings are playful, imaginative, and can be as simple or complex as you want them to be.

One way to achieve a cartoon-style dog drawing is to simplify the shapes. Start with basic shapes like circles, ovals, and rectangles, and then exaggerate the different features. For instance, you can make the eyes bigger, the nose smaller, or the ears droopier to give your dog a cartoonish look.

Try Different Expressions

Another way to create a cartoony dog drawing is to experiment with different expressions. Play around with the ear placement and the mouth shape to convey different emotions. For example, you can draw a happy dog by giving it a big grin and perky ears, or draw a sad dog with droopy ears and a frown.

Cartoony dog drawings are also a fantastic way to showcase your creativity. You can include fun details like accessories, clothes, or even a speech bubble to add personality to your drawing. Don't be afraid to try new things and let your imagination run wild!

Practice, Practice, Practice

Remember, practice makes perfect! Even the most talented artists had to start somewhere, so don't be discouraged if your first few dog drawings don't turn out exactly how you want them to. The important thing is to keep practicing and experimenting until you find a style and technique that works for you.

A great way to practice is by using reference photos. Find a few pictures of dogs in different poses and try to recreate them using the tips and techniques you've learned in this article. Another helpful exercise is to try drawing the same dog in different styles, such as realistic, cartoon, or stylized.

Join Online Communities

Another great way to improve your dog-drawing skills is by joining online art communities. These communities are great places to share your artwork, get feedback from other artists, and learn new tips and techniques. Some popular online art communities include DeviantArt, ArtStation, and Behance.

Many of these communities also offer challenges or prompts to help inspire and challenge you to create new artwork. Participating in these challenges can be a fun way to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try new things.

Share Your Artwork

Now that you've mastered the art of drawing a dog, it's time to share your unique creation with the world! Sharing your artwork is a great way to receive feedback and connect with other dog-drawing enthusiasts. You can showcase your artwork through various platforms, such as social media, online art communities, and local exhibitions.

If you're new to sharing your artwork, feeling nervous about receiving criticism is normal. However, remember that constructive criticism can help you grow as an artist and improve your skills. Embrace feedback, whether it's positive or negative, and use it as motivation to keep practicing and creating.

When sharing your artwork online, consider using hashtags to increase its visibility. You can also join online communities and participate in art challenges to network with other artists and receive valuable feedback.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to drawing dogs:

How long does it take to learn to draw a dog?

Learning to draw a dog can take some time and practice. The time it takes to learn will depend on your skill level and the amount of time you spend practicing. However, with the help of a step-by-step tutorial and some dedication, you can start drawing dogs in no time!

What are some common mistakes to avoid when drawing a dog?

One common mistake is not understanding the dog's anatomy, which can result in unrealistic proportions and features. It's also important to avoid using too much pressure when sketching, as it can leave unwanted marks that are difficult to erase. Another mistake is not paying attention to the details, which can make the drawing appear incomplete.

How do I choose the right reference photo for drawing a dog?

When choosing a reference photo, it's important to select one that shows the dog from various angles and in different lighting. Look for photos that show the dog's breed-specific features and expressions. Make sure the photo is clear and in focus, and try to avoid ones with distracting backgrounds.

What if I make a mistake while drawing a dog?

Mistakes are a natural part of the drawing process, so don't worry too much about making one. If you make a mistake, try to use an eraser or correction fluid to fix it. If the mistake is too big to fix, don't be afraid to start over. Remember, practice makes perfect!

Can I draw a dog without any previous art experience?

Yes, absolutely! This step-by-step guide is perfect for beginners who have little to no art experience. With practice and patience, anyone can learn to draw a dog.


Now that you've learned the easy steps to draw a dog, it's time to practice and have fun with your new skill. Remember to gather the necessary supplies and study dog anatomy to create realistic drawings. Don't be afraid to experiment with different styles and techniques; most importantly, keep practicing! You can also check out our home page to play around with more art tools.

Share your artwork with others and receive feedback to continue improving your skills. And if you have any questions, don't hesitate to refer back to our FAQ section or reach out to online communities for help. It may take time and effort, but with patience and dedication, you can master the art of drawing a dog like a pro!


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