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How to Draw A Dog in 30 seconds

Updated on February 25, 2019
Georgina_writes profile image

Georgina was a Britain's Got Artists finalist 2012, and has run successful pastel workshops.

Two weeks ago, Waynet's drawings inspired me to leave a comment on one of his hubs, and he returned with the question 'What do you draw?' It's taken a little time, but I thought I'd make a hub about it.

The short answer is that I draw anything, but I have a real passion for drawing dogs. All kinds of dogs, from cartoons to figurative paintings, and all breeds, although I'm a big Jack Russell fan.

Over the last couple of years, my art business has gown well, and I now sell professionally, mainly specialising in land and seascapes as well as dogs, of course. I'm also running successful art workshops.

How to Draw A Dog in 30 seconds

"Kai" | Source

When illustrating and publishing my own book, Archie-Parchie-Piddley-Poo, the hardest part was making the drawings look consistent throughout the book, so that Archie didn't look like a Jack Russel in the beginning and a German Shepherd by the end.

Every single dog drawing I've ever done starts in exactly the same way that I'm writing about here. This article tells you how to make a quick sketch of a dog - this one really did take only 30 seconds, but the basic principles can be used and expanded upon to create more complex work. I've included a few of my other dog drawings at the end of this article, but they all started life just as this sketch did.

Getting started

I chose to use grey paper as sometimes a blank, white page can be a little daunting. For the pencil part of the sketch, I used a soft 6B pencil, which I sharpened with a craft knife.

Begin by drawing a large oval for the dog's body, then a circle at the top of the oval and just overlapping it for the head. At the base of this cirlce, draw a smaller circle for the dog's nose. A triangle either side of the head suffices for ears, whether they are pricked ears or lop ears.

The circles can be quite rough, and it doesn't matter if you redraw over them, as you can rub away any pencil lines once the sketch is almost done.

Next add stick lines for the tail and legs, in the direction that you want them to go.

 Next add the eyes.  Eyes are often a difficult part of any drawing.  First place a gently downward-curved, horizontal line half way down the head circle, bisecting the head.  Place an eye equidistant on either side of this line.  For a cartoon dog like this one, you can draw almond shaped eyes, or just plain circles, and you can give the dog ridiculous expressive eyebrows.  Draw a smaller circle within the eyes to represent pupils.

 That's as much detail as is needed in pencil, so switch to pen.  I used a fine-point, black rollerball for the outlines.  Follow the basic pencil lines and draw around the head, indenting the circle a little to form a jaw line.  Draw around the ears.

Where the nose circle is, draw a heart shape for the nose, put a nostril either side and a vertical line down the middle.  Add a few dots on the muzzle to suggest whiskers.

Next give the dog a neck and continue along the body oval creating legs around the outside of the stick legs.  Paws only need to be suggested by short curves representing the dog's toes. 

Draw the tail

 Next draw wiggly edged patches on the dog, which will be shaded in to represent markings, and add some lines around the neck to suggest shaggier hair.

I put and upward facing curve about half way along the dog's body to suggest a fat belly.

Switch pens to a brown fibre tip and roughly shade in the pupils of the eyes, the nose and all of the dog's markings.

At this stage the dog will look like it's floating so switch back to the black pen and shade an area underneath your sketch to make it look like the dog is sitting on the floor.  If you shade a little more heavily under each paw the effect will be more realistic.  I also went back and fiddled with the eyebrows and added a few vertical dashes on the dog's face as it looked rather blank.

Give the ink a minute to dry then rub out the pencil lines if they bother you (I sometimes leave them in) using a putty eraser or malleable eraser.

The joy of doing a very quick sketch like this is that if you don't think it looks good you can do another and another, changing a few things each time. For example, I think this puppy looks a bit cross, so I might change it's eyes and eyebrows next time, or give it a human style smile, making it more cartoony. Also, working quickly doesn't give you too much time to agonise over where to put the next line, which is a great learning process in itself. You can then put those things you've learned into a more complex drawing.

A quick thumbnail sketch such as this doesn't invest much time-wise, but gives enough of an idea about how I might want a finished piece to look. I'll play around with a few sketches, and if I come up with something I want to replicate, I trace it onto tracing paper, so that I can keep subsequent sketches consistent.

As I said, all of my drawings begin with a very basic pencil outline. Here are a few more:


A five minute charcoal and conte crayon sketch.  I love these media as you can't erase them, you have to live with your mistakes and work with it.  I tend to draw these very quickly.
A five minute charcoal and conte crayon sketch. I love these media as you can't erase them, you have to live with your mistakes and work with it. I tend to draw these very quickly.

Rock Dog

Another charcoal experiment, but with angular lines this time.
Another charcoal experiment, but with angular lines this time.

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