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Need Help With Dog Drawing Please

by Heidi
(Southern Oregon)

Incomplete sketch so far

Incomplete sketch so far

Incomplete sketch so far
Reference pic of Scooter

I'm working on this drawing of my friend's dog as a gift for her birthday. First time trying this type of animal drawing...

Her dog is a Cockapoo breed, which means longish white curly hair. I'm having trouble getting the hair on her ears and especially snout look white. I also feel like I'm not capturing the dogs face expression...please help! I really am at a loss and will appreciate any/all advice/tips/ideas any of you have to give. I really have no experience in drawing, guess I'm a bit of a perfectionist...

My friend really loves dogs and has grown up with this one. Scooter (the dog) is getting old and probably won't be around much longer and I want this drawing to be a good reminder of the happy/energetic dog my friend loves.

The first picture is the incomplete drawing/sketch and the second is a black and white picture.

Note from Kerry:
Hello Heidi
Firstly, I think your drawing is coming along nicely, great job.
Are you using a 2H pencil? (Please post your answer in the comments section just below, thanks)
That's the grade of pencil I would use (plus a 2B) for the hair. Then, for the white areas, you need to either pick the graphite off with a kneaded eraser or you can use a 'pencil eraser' like the Drawing Tool that Michael showed us recently.
Does that help you at all? I am keeping in mind that the sketch is unfinished so that advice has been directed towards achieving white.
Re the expression, the thing I notice is that Scooter's pupils are visibly very round so that might help towards getting the expression right. Although, my eyesight isn't the best so don't take my word for that!
Hopefully, an experienced artist can give you some valuable input.

Comments for Need Help With Dog Drawing Please

Nov 08, 2011
Very good work
by: Bill Richards

The only thing that I see I would improve on is: You have the lights down rather well. Go back and use either a 2H, or the darkest a H and give a little bit more shading especially from what I see around the ears. The best way to judge (as from my experience) - is squint your eyes - look at the original and then at the drawing. What this does to me is give the shading more and not so much details. By doing this you can see where it is darker, or lighter - and can shade appropriately.

Feb 16, 2011
by: Michael Betz

That is awesome Heidi.....I can't wait to see it.....this was very good also to let you know. There was absolutely nothing wrong with it as is.

Feb 16, 2011
Thank you!
by: Heidi

Thanks everyone for all your help! I've worked a bit more on the drawing and am sending in an updated picture.

Feb 05, 2011
by: Kerry

Hi Michael
Firstly, thank you for your beautiful compliment... however, I am a realist and I know for a fact that I am not talented!! That is why I built this site, to show everyone that you don't need talent to be able to draw.
You do have a talent and that is why I love to hear what your advice is. I am very grateful too, that you give it freely and generously! Thank you, you're such a good buddy.

Feb 05, 2011
Thank you.....
by: Michael Betz

Thank you Kerry for reiterating my tips. Confirmation from someone as talented as you means the world to me.

Feb 05, 2011
Scooter, the dog
by: Sharon Du Plessis

Michelle, for someone who cannot draw,you are doing a terrific job! I agree with Kerry's answer, but I would have used charcoal pencil to fill on in the wavy hair on the tip of the ears, use a kneaded eraser to give light complection where needed. Put some light reflection in the eyes, as well as on the nose, it will let your drawing come 'alive'! Chirrascurro (use of light and dark shades) is all that need touch up, and that's where the dark areas will make your drawing look more realistic. Micheal's tool, about the type-writer eraser, is a brilliant tool, and works more accurate than a kneaded eraser. If you prefer, you can make the back ground much darker than the drawing itself, in 3d combination- that will also let your drawing 'stand out', after you applied the darker tones on the dog. Observe the reference foto, piece by piece, and you'll find the problem areas not so difficult to correct, after all.

Feb 04, 2011
The best!
by: Kerry

Hello Heidi
I think Michael is right, it would be a big risk to try to change the eyes now. Believe me, I had to look long and hard to try and work out where there was a difference. Goes to show you've got it pretty right.
Your drawing is a good likeness and because it is unfinished you will probably be more satisfied with it once it's completed.

Michelle, thank you very much for giving your advice -- it's a great idea to dent the paper which allows for good white whiskers. It's lovely to see you back here! Heidi you will LOVE Michelle's dog drawings. Here is the link to Michele's site, Mostly Dog Portraits, if you want to take a peek.

Heidi, like Michael said, it is a personal preference what pencils you use. There's nothing wrong with using a 5b for your darkest darks (I would!) but once you become more experienced with shading and values, you'll probably narrow your pencil range down. We all start somewhere and we need to use the materials that we are comfortable with and to achieve the results we are seeking.

Feb 04, 2011
help for your dog
by: michelle chambers

hi Heidi I draw dogs and animals all the time you can find them here on this site if you search my name above and michele chambers with one l i always use a kneaded eraser to lighten areas also I use H1 H2 on these areas afer i have used the kneaded eraser o put some detail back these pencils are harder and lighter but the drawing is first done with an hb or a 2b then tortillion to blend then kneaded eraser then h1 and h2 you can even use kneaded eraser again to get more white effect also for white whiskers I take an exacto knife dull one score paper as drawing whiskers this lets the whiskers stay complete white as the pencil does not go into the mark

Feb 04, 2011
Oh, I forgot....
by: Michael Betz

I forgot to mention, as for the pencils you use, I think it is all a matter of personal preference. Take a look at some of my drawings, I use nothing but a 2B and an HB....nothing else. I achieve different values and tones by pressure and layering. That is what I found works best for me anyhow.......

Feb 04, 2011
Pretty close....
by: Michael Betz

Actaully Heidi, I think you are doing a fantastic job on Scooter. Just a few simple final touches and I think you are good to go. All in all, I would say you probably are being a bit of a "perfectionist" (your words, not mine...hehe). All I would suggest is use the retractable eraser to add more highlights around the snout, use your kneaded eraser to pull out some lighter values in the middle of the nose, to give it more highlighted area, and curl your ear fur a little more under the face. As for the eyes.....I think they are pretty close. To erase them now, would I think ruin the picture, they are dark and that would leave a ghost image of them behind...unless you can render over top that, it might be more of a chance than I would be willing to take. Clicking back and forth between the 2 pics quickly, you really are not far off the original picture. Your friend is going to love it! These of course are just one persons opinion, some may have other advice to offer I am sure.

Feb 04, 2011
Thank you, that helps...
by: Heidi

I have used anywhere from a 2H up to 5B, should I just stick to one or two grades per sketch? I've used my kneaded eraser a little, mostly for the light parts of the face. I think I own a retractable eraser, I'll pull it out and try it. To fix the eyes then, I should erase parts of them to make them rounder?
Thank you so much for your advice!

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