ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Secrets to Painting Dog Portraits Using a Reference Photo

Updated on April 15, 2013

There are many important things to consider when creating dog portraits from photos. Thinking outside the box, letting loose, and being creative is very important.

If you start getting too technical with “where the nose goes”, then you are going to have a dog portrait painting that is not very proportional. A good reference photo, pencils, paints, brushes, and canvases are also vital in creating your masterpiece.


Choose a Good Reference Photo

Get an interesting view of the dog. A profile or three quarter view is more interesting that looking at the animal straight on.

Try to take a picture of the dog when it is relaxed, not when it is yawning or panting. This may be harder to draw, and it isn’t as “candid”.

If you are new to drawing, or you don’t quite know what you are doing, it might actually be beneficial to use a photo that is in black and white. Color photos are difficult to use because of the fact that you have to estimate how light or dark to make something.

If the photo is in black and white, this takes away the guesswork and save a significant amount of time.


Painting Dog Portraits from a Photo

Gather the Best Materials

The type of paint you use really depends on what your preferences are. Watercolors are a fun way to use color, but you wont really be able to blend them unless you just put down paint seconds before.

Acrylics are the more widely used paints. They are easy to maneuver and blend. Make sure you also have a variety of brushes. It would help to have three or four different sizes: small for detail, and large for big areas of color.

Of course, most portrait drawings are oriented as a portrait rather than a landscape. This allows for more room to draw the dog’s face. When choosing a painting surface, there are many choices. It is important to get something with more of a tooth.

This way, there is more texture and the paint stays in place better. There are canvases, and there is also acrylic paper and hardboard. It is completely in the discretion of the artist to decide what feels most comfortable.

Begin Mapping Out the Dog’s Portrait

Start by making marks lightly in pencil on the canvas of where things are, in a general sense.

There is no need to get technical just yet. This step helps map out where things will eventually go.

After doing this, make adjustments accordingly. It would be beneficial to use some kind of unit of measurement so that the drawing doesn’t look proportionally wrong, such as the animal’s nose, eye, head width, or length. It is easy to map out when you know that the head is eight eye lengths long, rather than completely guessing.

Paint!

After mapping everything out on the paper, start filling in colors. Don’t even worry about actual face elements just yet. This is usually the step that throws people off track. Just look at the shapes, and try to estimate the color in the picture. After you mix the color, fill in any shape you see that is that same color. Before you know it, you will have most of the portrait complete. When you have the general colors painted, you can begin to get technical.

Areas you need to spend a little more time on would be the detail in the eyes, nose, fur, and possibly the ears. It is important to remember that when painting fur, you really don’t need to portray every single strand of hair.

It might actually come out looking obnoxious. Just paint a few strands of hair here and there. If the dog has curly hair, just use light and dark paints to highlight the curls and shade the dark areas. This gives it a realistic look.

When painting the other detailed areas remember to take your time and really look at the photo. Don’t think about it as an eye, think about the shapes that make up the eye and paint those.

When starting out painting, it might seem harder than it is. In reality, painting dog portraits from photos really isn't all that hard. It's just simply painting colors and shapes. Most people think too hard about it, which hinders their creativity significantly. Just remember to focus on getting the shapes the right size, and have them look proportional to each other. That is really all that matters. Eventually, you will get better at painting dog portraits, and will get used to this method of painting!

Dog Portrait Speed Painting

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)