How To Draw a Dog

Realistically or Cartoon Style

Learning how to draw a dog—any breed or shape—is simple if you follow a few basic guidelines.

Let's start off with very simple shapes bordering on a sketchy cartoon style for simplicity then we can launch into more complex shapes later, like the Chow-Chow or the Sharpie Dog from China.

What breed would you like to start off with? A fairly easy one would be the Beagle where the legs, head and body are all in proportion—unlike the long body of the Dachshund with the short legs—or the greyhound with the long legs and skinny body!

The first step is to take a look at the dog's features, the size of the head in relation to the body, the legs, and the ears—are they sticking up or are they floppy like the bloodhound?

Now sketch quickly an oval shape for the chest cavity and body making it slightly smaller towards the tail as most dogs are like this and a smaller oval for the head as shown in this illustration.

Now draw two connecting lines for his neck, and then draw in the two front and back legs, then mark the position of the eyes— they give the Beagle expression and a few other lines as shown here.

Take your time observing where the lines are to be drawn; the ear shape is an important characteristic of the Beagle as well as the legs and tail. If it does not look quite correct you can always rub it out or scrap your entire drawing and start again. It is often better to start your drawing from the beginning again.

Notice the front legs are fairly straight and slightly tapered towards the feet and the back legs have that characteristic V-shape. The feet are quite easy that look a little like booties.

A little detail comes next: Let's start off with the head. Draw in the eyes, the nose and the line of the mouth. Next the ear shape, there is a little kink and fold at the back. Draw the front part of the rib cage that extends between his legs.

Next comes the shape of his back with a slight hump and curve down to his tail. Draw the back leg (far side) with the V-shape that looks like an elbow shape, then a slightly straighter nearside back leg—as in the drawing here.

Fix the Beagle's tail, add a little shading, and you're done.

I will be showing you how to draw a dog with that famous Chinese Sharpei next—it looks a bit like a pug—but very cuddly and really worth drawing. 

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