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How to draw a portrait of a dog: artist’s tips



Drawing a portrait of a pet requires a special approach and attention to detail. Dogs have expressive facial expressions and a unique character, which must be able to capture on canvas or paper. Therefore, before starting work, it is important to choose the right materials and tools.

Surface selection

For a dog portrait, heavy paper or canvas is the best choice. Acrylic or watercolor paper from Canson, Strathmore or Arches brands will provide good adhesion to the paints. Canvas is also great: linen canvases from Frederick’s, Trekell or Winsor & Newton will produce bright, rich colors.

Pencils and charcoal

For sketching and initial drawing of details it is better to use soft graphite pencils, for example, from Faber-Castell, Derwent or Caran D’Ache. Soft pencils (6B-8B) will help to convey the volume and texture of the wool. For darker accents, you can use Pitt or Generals Charcoal pastel charcoal.

Oil paints

To create an expressive portrait with rich hues, oil paints are perfect. Winsor & Newton, Rembrandt, or Old Holland studio oil paint sets include a diverse palette of hues for realistic rendering of hair, skin, eyes, and other details.

Acrylic paints

For those who prefer to work with faster drying materials, acrylic paints are an excellent choice. Artist acrylic paint sets from Liquitex, Golden or Amsterdam Acrylics will give you a thick coating and good lightfastness.


If you want to create a portrait in a lighter, more transparent style, get watercolor paints. Professional watercolors from Winsor & Newton Cotman, White Nights or Schmincke will help convey the delicate transitions and airiness of the coat.

Brushes and mastichins

For oil and acrylic paints you will need bristle brushes of various sizes – flat, round, filberts from Winsor&Newton, da Vinci or Robert Simmons. To create textures of wool it is convenient to use mastichins. For watercolor it is better to take brushes made of goat, marten or squirrel hair.

The choice of materials largely depends on the style and preferences of the artist. But by following our artist’s recommendations you will be able to create the perfect portrait, you can also order a custom dog portrait at Photolamus

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