Tutorial: How to draw a cartoon dog

Learn how to draw a cartoon-style dog using a photo reference and basic shapes. First, watch the video to get an idea of how these doggy doodles come to life. Then we’ll break the process down into 5 steps and practice using 3 dog breeds with different coat lengths. The doodles have all been drawn in Photoshop with a Wacom tablet, but can just as easily be done with a humble pen and paper.

There are endless ways of drawing the main features, for this style we’re going with the double circled eyes and jelly bean nose. You can always add more details.

DOG #1: Smooth coated french bulldog

STEP 1: Photo reference
Find a reference image of a dog’s face looking forward, and take note of the basic shapes that make up the face. Model no. 1 (no surprises here) is my frenchie, Pippa. She has a smooth coat which can be easier to draw than super fluffy when starting out.

STEP 2: Head shape
Start with a circle that matches your dog’s face structure. Pippa has a basic round circle face. Add diving lines that divide the face in half vertically, then horizontally through where the eyes roughly sit.

STEP 3: Ears + eyes
Roughly draw in the facial features like the ears (triangles), eyes (circles), nose and mouth area.

Refine a bit more…

STEP 4: Redraw outlines
Drop the opacity of the sketch layer and with more confident line making marks, redraw your dog’s head on a new layer.

STEP 5: Add details
Add the finishing touches like the pupils (you can add a white highlight if you want), whisker dots, nose details etc.

DOG #2: Partly fluffy cocker spaniel

STEP 1: Photo reference

STEP 2: Head shape

STEP 3: Ears + eyes
Simplify fluff into loose curly lines to define the shape

STEP 4: Redraw outlines

STEP 5: Add details
Use creative license for where and what extra little marks to make to give the dog more character.

DOG #3: Super fluffy pomeranian

STEP 1: Photo reference

STEP 2: Head shape

STEP 3: Ears + eyes

STEP 4: Redraw outlines

STEP 4: Add final details

Sweet! Now you should have 3 basic cartoony-styled dog faces and the know-how to draw more adorable floofers!

Draw, share + tag me on Instagram @shmaymee

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