Ways to Draw a Lifelike Dog
Alright, it is time to crack those knuckles and get some drawing done.
In this article, you will find a few interesting tips about how to perfect your drawing techniques, mainly about realism, or at least, something close to it. The subject of today’s lesson would be a dog.
Take a few moments to visualize the subject. Get your materials ready and get into the mindset. Before the lesson starts, there are some things to clarify. This article is divided into two main sections – drawing from a picture and drawing from scratch.
Drawing from a picture
Since this topic is easier to explain, this is what we will cover first.
Take out a picture of your favorite dog. Take a few seconds to study the features – the shape of the head, the body, the motion or pose and texture – depending on whatever is on the picture. Observation is the key.
This next step will sound crazy, but do not worry it is 100 percent effective. Flip the picture upside down and refer to it from that angle. Flip your drawing pad as well. Start drawing from the forehead, then up. Start with the basic shapes, then slowly fill in the facial details like the eyes nose and mouth, as the picture indicates. Note that you must follow the lines and spaces indicated, do not assume your strokes. Once you have the basic outline of your subject, start filling in the muscular details like the fur, as well as the muscular depressions and protrusions. Do this from the forehead up and do it as given in the picture. Do not think of the dog, think about the lines and its accuracy.
After adding the fur to your drawing, it is pretty much done. Flip your drawing pad right side up and if you have followed the lines to the letter and thought objectively, you may notice that it is more accurate.
Here’s the science to it. The left brain is the part that assumes and recognizes anything we see, therefore, anything it perceives is automatically categorized into whatever closest resemblance it may be. The right brain is more in tuned with patterns and shapes regardless what it symbolizes or categorizes. Most people draw with the left brain. That is why they can’t draw accurately form a picture since their left brains constantly dictate the assumptions and categorizations of the drawing – even if it’s not accurate. Flipping the picture and drawing form the bottom up gives mixed signals to the left brain making the right brain do all the work. Because of this, although your drawing seems vague to you, the lines and shades are more accurate since you are now drawing based on the pattern, and not the assumption of the dog.
Drawing from scratch
Before anything else, here are some pencil techniques. Stippling is lightly dotting the area to achieve the effect of depth and texture – the closer and darker the dots are, the more depth it represents. Smudging is delicately applying a thin layer of graphite (pencil line) in a certain area then smudging it to achieve a shadowy effect – best done in subtle variations.
To get started, take a few minutes to think about your dog – how do you want it to look, what breed of dog it is, and what the pose will be. If you want to draw the body, good tip would be to make a stick outline first, to finalize its pose. Next is to draw the basic shapes – do this lightly. Keep in mind that certain shapes can make the muscle impression – an oval can be the main body while the biceps can have smaller ovals, then added by hotdog shape on the end to make the legs. The head is a combination an oval, and two triangles on the top for ears. Next, draw around, following tightly along the shapes without going through it.
After doing the outline, fill in the facial and muscular details. Stippling is best applied when drawing in between crevices or legs to give the feel of depth. Lightly smudging one side to give the impression of light and darkness will do. Smudging heavily stippled areas also work well.
When it is all done, erase the unnecessary bits to polish your work.
Now that it is finished, there is a chance it might not turn out the way you expect, but that is normal – that is art. Take it as a motivation to practice and improve your craft. Practice, indeed makes perfect. Ask advice from your friends or better yet get your work critiqued by a professional if you know one. The very best course though this is to keep drawing, especially if you are not satisfied. Keep your confidence up and keep your strokes clear. You can do it!
Image Credit: Images by BigBadVoo, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0