As Patrick Demarchelier once said, “The dog is the perfect portrait subject. He doesn’t pose. He isn’t aware of the camera.” While your dog may see you snapping pictures of them daily, you want a more artistic way to capture their essence. In the process, you can not only create an image you’re proud of, but you can also reduce stress and improve your memory.
Long Live the Dog
Throughout history, dogs were immortalized in art. Dating back to prehistoric paintings in rock shelters, depictions of animals such as a leashed dog with a man are evident. So, you’re not alone if you want to know how to draw or paint your beloved canine.
The Tools of the Trade
To start, be sure you have the right tools. These don’t have to be expensive. Instead of pulling an old pencil and lined notebook out of a drawer, take the time to get yourself quality drawing pencils that will glide smoothly. While you’re at it, pick up an acid-free sketchbook, and a decent eraser. Erasers aren’t just for removing mistakes. They can also help you mark and outline general shapes before putting your pencil to paper.
Pick a Relaxed Moment for Both of You
Practice when your dog is relaxed and moving as little as possible. You can work up to drawing your dog in active moments. However, drawing is much like any other exercise. It takes practice to onto more advanced skills. When your pup is sleeping, you can try out a few sessions to find your flow with sketching their shape and the more delicate details. Perhaps just as important, find a time you feel relaxed to minimize frustration. Start by setting down the bigger shapes on the paper first, like the torso and then the head.
You can outline the general form with an eraser before using your pencil. Once you’re satisfied with the main components of the body, add the legs. Then sketch out the ears. As you progress, move down to the smallest details you’d like to draw.
Capture the Vibe Instead of Focusing on Perfection
When you begin, don’t worry about capturing your dog in detail so that every piece of fur is exact. Sometimes just sketching the vibe of your pooch ends up looking better than an attempt at perfection. The more relaxed you are in the process, the easier the creative part of your brain will take over and allow the pencil to move in pleasing strokes.
Draw Exactly What You See
One of the most important things to remember when filling in sketches is to draw exactly what you see. Don’t rely on your memory or the shapes you think you should put on the paper. For example, don’t focus on it being a paw or your idea of a paw. Draw precisely the shapes and lines you see as if it’s a brand-new object to you. With training, this can help you pencil in more truthful details.
With a little training, you’ll find that drawing your dog is an excellent way to reduce stress and will get simpler. Over time, you’ll get better and can go back to fill in one picture with lots of detail and color. Or you can create a collection of fun, relaxed sketches you can frame in a grid display for your own unique wall décor.