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How To Draw A Jack Russell Dog

Updated on November 2, 2012


Unison pastels
Pitt pencils
BE16, BV 10
186, 183,179
Craft knife & sandpaper
GY17, BV 14
101, 103, 132
Pastelmat and tape
A38, A45
199, 140, 182
Drawing board, tracing paper

Pastel Drawing of Jack Russell

Archie the Jack Russell.  Pastel on paper
Archie the Jack Russell. Pastel on paper | Source

Starting to Paint Your Dog Portrait

The very first thing to do before beginning any pastel painting is to firmly tape your paper, in this case, pastelmat to your drawing surface with masking tape. I paint using a drawing board on an easel, so that falling pastel dust drops on to the floor rather than muddying my work.

For this particular demonstration, I enlarged a photo of my dog, Archie and transferred it to Pastelmat using the method I described in my hub about enlarging images for drawing. This gave me a simple outline of my dog to work with.

Jack Russell image traced on to Pastelmat

Jack Russell image traced on to Pastelmat
Jack Russell image traced on to Pastelmat | Source

The First Layer of Pastel

Once your outline is transferred on to your paper in the way you want it, it's time to think about the background. The background needs to take second place to the drawing of your Jack Russell, so it's important to think about the colours you use. Archie is a tan and white dog, so I chose to use blues and greens, as blue is a complementary colour to orange (or in Archie's case tan!). Using complementary colours allows the orange colour of the dog to really jump forward.

Background Pastel For Jack Russell Painting

First Layer of Pastel
First Layer of Pastel | Source

It's also really important to decide which direction the light is falling on to your painting. In this case, I made the light fall from top left, so the left and upper parts of the painting are highlighted.

I began the background using Unison BV10, placing this all around Archie's head. I then used Unison BV14 around the top margins of my paper and more heavily to the right and lower areas of the paper. To break up all that blue, I used UnisonA45 to the right and lower parts of the page.

I blended these colours together using my fingers.

I blocked in the Jack Russell's coat with Unison BE16 for the tan areas and Unison GY17 for the shadow areas of his white fur. Dark brown areas under the ears I blocked in with Unison A38, again, blending the colours with my fingers.

I rarely fix my pastel work, but in this instance I did use a natural, milk protein fixative, as I wanted to be able to work in fine detail over the base layer.

Draw Jack Russell Fur

Beginning to Draw Dog Fur
Beginning to Draw Dog Fur | Source

How To Draw Dog Fur

Next, use the Faber-Castell Pitt Pencils to create the fine lines of the Jack Russell fur. Sharpen the pencils using sandpaper to create fine points and use just the points of the pencils. for this drawing, I used a range of tan and brown pencils to create the bulk of the tan fur, using a blue (140) sparingly to create areas of deep shade, and used white pencil to create the white fur. Black (199) was reserved only for the eyes and nose, to make these stand out and yellow-ochre (183) was used for the iris of the eye.

Finishing Off Your Pastel Drawing

Once you are happy with your drawing, you need to deide whether or not to fix it. Most professional pastel painters do not fix their work, so if you are going to be framing your work it is probably better not to fix. As this piece is going into my etsy store and may be posted anywhere in the world, unframed, I decided to risk the small change in colour that happens when fixing and sprayed.

The best fixative I have found so far, in that the colour change is truly small is spectraFix, Degas, Pastel Fixative, which is natural and made from milk casein.


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    • terriskitchen profile image

      Terri Mitchell 

      4 years ago from Dartmoor

      Thank you AliciaC. I do my best to please.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for this tutorial. I don't paint at the moment, but I do draw. I enjoy drawing (or trying to draw) plants and animals, including my dogs, so I appreciate this hub very much!

    • Georgina_writes profile imageAUTHOR

      Georgina Crawford 

      5 years ago from Dartmoor

      Thanks, RTalloni and minnetonka Twin, I'm glad you felt youlearned something, and there's nothing lost in trying to stretch yourself.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Interesting tutorial that I learned some tips from--thanks!

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 

      5 years ago from Minnesota

      You are so talented. What a great drawing/painting of your adorable dog. I too have never been much of a drawer but my father was a genius. He was sketching pictures of Jesus as a small boy. I will give it a try to see what happens. Thanks for sharing your talent and helpful information with us.

    • Georgina_writes profile imageAUTHOR

      Georgina Crawford 

      6 years ago from Dartmoor

      CyberShelley, thanks for the lovely comment. Give it a go. I have students in my owrkshops who also think they are talentless, but always go home with something they are happy with. One, just recently had her work published in a national magazine. You never know til you try....

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 

      6 years ago

      Thank you for this hub, it is wonderful to see how beautifully your drew your dog. Perhaps I could try this as my drawing is talentless at best! Up, useful and beautiful

    • Georgina_writes profile imageAUTHOR

      Georgina Crawford 

      6 years ago from Dartmoor

      Thanks SweetiePie

    • SweetiePie profile image


      6 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I really like the dog drawing.


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