How to draw a dog with colored pencils - a step by step tutorial

Long black fur can be tricky. In this tutorial I will show you my method and I will give you some tips on drawing on tinted paper.

Colored Pencils:

FC Polychromos, Prismacolor Premier


Canson Mi-Teintes, the smooth side, size: 8 x 8 in



Here is a reference photo for the portrait – I chose this happy shepherd:

1. I start with a sketch. I study the reference photo and observe how the fur is arranged. As you can see, there are some messy hair on the ears as well as long wavy tufts of fur near the eye.

2. I draw the eye – I do the white blink first, then the iris, and all the black parts in the end. With fine strokes of a sharpened pencil I created the fur around the eye. I always draw hair (or fur) starting from the root. This dog has a lot of black fur which looks like light grey (sometimes even blue) because of the light. I drew the whitest parts first, with a soft pencil; then I did all the brown spots and finally the black fragments. I decided to lighten the darkest places a bit so I added several fine strokes with white pencil.

 3. In this step I decided to draw the left side first (it is recommended if you are right-handed like me, but it is always good to have a sheet of paper under your hand to protect the drawing from smudging). I continue drawing, using my method –  the whitest hair first; I create a delicate layer on the dog’s ear with brown and black pencils. I draw carefully the messy fur, I want it to look natural.

4. More progress on the left side; I gradually darken the ear with black pencil. I press the lead hard to get individual tufts of hair. I apply white color on the dog’s head and nose – it is important to draw this layer first because, if it happens to look too bright, you can always darken it, using grey and black tones. I do some delicate white individual hair on the darkest parts of the fur.

5. In this step, I applied some ochre tones – I will draw darker fur on this layer. Then I finish the left side – I add more long black hair.

6. And now it’s time to move to the right side of the drawing and start with the snout – white layer first, add some grey. As you can see, I also applied some light blue color near the nose. I darken this part of the portrait, I draw  fine strokes of black pencil around the nose.

7. I finish the snout part; I create layers of black color, in the end I press the lead really hard to the surface to get the darkest tone. As you can see, there is also a white clear layer on the nose.


8. I draw the teeth with cream and light grey pencils; using color called “Venetian Red” and dark grey, I do the gum. Under the jaw, I add black fur. The next step is drawing the tongue – I use a lot of white and light pink. I add some shadows on the tongue, using light and dark grey colors.

9. In the last step, I draw the nose (I didn’t do it until now because I always leave the very dark  parts for the last step) and the rest of the brown and black fur. I do adjustments – I darken some parts or apply white strokes of hair. In this last step I used some white gouache paint – it is perfect for painting details like spots on the nose, hair or saliva on the tongue. I painted it all using a brush with a fine tip and I did it very carefully – I didn’t want to ruin my portrait by adding too much paint. You can also give your portrait a winter look – just add some snow using this white paint!

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