Tips on Painting a Dog Portrait

If like other dog owners, you feel that your dog is a part of the family, then it is expected that you would want a portrait that not only captures what your beloved pet looks like, but also capture it is true persona. You can do this painting yourself and you need be daunted by the prospect either. You need to have some talent for painting along with some good quality supplies to get you going.

  • Start working with a photo: You cannot possibly expect your dog to loll around without moving to be able to draw a sketch. Then the simplest option left to you to paint the portrait is to use a good snap. If you cannot position the dog on a chair or any of the furniture, arrange it to sit on the floor, crouch on the floor and click the pic.

  • Make use of a quality camera: Make sure that you are using a good quality camera to click the pic, one with a high megapixel will work better. Make sure that you capture the eyes well as the eyes of a dog reflect a big part of his persona. Make sure to get half a dozen pictures, half in the form of a close-up and some from the distance.



    Keep practicing to get it right: If you are a little unsure about painting on canvas, then you can ease your mind by looking at some of the paintings of dogs by masters who have painted dog portraits like Monet, Rembrandt. You can learn a lot by looking at the brush strokes that they have used to portray shadow and light.  Turn it in all directions to get an idea of what strokes have gone into making the painting instead of being overwhelmed by the final picture itself.

  • Get the painting of the dog fur right: To do this the first thing you need to do whether you are working with watercolors, oil or acrylics is to get the sketch done properly. For good results to go for a stretched linen kind of canvas. Simply place the snap you have taken of the dog at eye level so that looking at it and drawing it on the canvas is easy. While sketching, do not get too much into the details, rather concentrate on getting the outline and proportions right. Using a soft pencil and making light feathery strokes will make things easier. Once you are done with the sketch, you can get the background painted. As far as portraits of dogs are concerned, the focus is mostly on the dog and not the other details. It is better to keep the background in a neutral shade. Paint the background using thin layers of paint, letting the layer dry before starting with the next one. In case you are working with oils then this process will take some time.

  • Pick out the medium you are going to use: Older portraits of dogs were mostly done with oils but you may go with watercolor or acrylic paint. It does not matter what medium you are working with, do exercise patience and build the paint layers slowly. As you keep painting, you will know where to make the adjustment. You need to keep the technique and idea of layering with all mediums that you use.

  • Go for quality: No matter how greatly talented you are, using poor quality art supplies will make things look shoddy. With the range you can afford go for good quality paints and brushes. The result you will get on the canvas, will depend on the shape and bristles on the brush that you are using. Normally the stiffer the brush, less flexible it is to use, so go for softer ones which are pliable. When painting with oil, use of brushes with natural hog’s hair is recommended and softer brushes made with synthetic materials for watercolors and acrylics.


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