How to Draw a Puppy Realistically

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Learn how to draw a puppy realistically.

In this step by step lesson we'll cover a husky puppy (shown above on the left) and a long haired German shepherd dog puppy (on the right).

There are different approaches how to draw a puppy, of course.
We apply a method, where you first draw the head, and then map out the size of all other body parts in relation to the head. This is a good way to draw something from a photo, which is what I did, in fact.

When you try to draw something realistically, take it easy and give yourself several tries. The first attempt is often not satisfying.
I erased many body parts at least once and redrew them until they looked good. That's normal. Relax and get into a rather playful and experimenting attitude when you feel that you are getting frustrated.

If you want to, you can click here to jump to that second puppy right away. It is a bit more difficult, but I draw it in much more steps than the first, so it should be no problem to follow.

Otherwise let's start with the first one!

How to Draw a Puppy - Step 1.1:
Basic Head-Shape

Start by sketching a circle with two middle axes inside of it.
This circle is the base for the puppy's head.
The axes will help us to position all parts of the face in the right places.

The snout reaches out of the lower right quarter of the circle.
At the top it starts close to the horizontal middle axes, and at the bottom it reaches the circle a bit before the vertical middle axis.

It should be rather short, since this is a baby dog.
I recommend making it slightly shorter than the circle's radius.

How to Draw a Puppy - Step 1.2:
The Body

Now we map out the body's size in relation to the heads size.
I took measurement from the tip of the snout to the end of the circle on the left.
You can see that the puppy is a bit shorter than three of these units.

Keep this in mind when you are drawing puppies in general.
An adult dog has the lengths of four heads, or more (at least for huskies this is true).
Just through giving the whole body the length of less than three heads you can indicate that the dog you are drawing is still very young.

At the neck, where the lines just come out of the circle, they should flow downwards a little.
Otherwise the body shape is a simple oval.

How to Draw a Puppy - Step 1.3:
Front Legs

Since the torso is in place, we can now draw in the legs.

Here I used the axes of the circle as measure units.
They'll help us to place the legs correctly, and show how long to make them.

You can see that the distance from the left side of the front leg to the circle has the same length as the green axis.
This leg is standing further towards the back than the leg on the other side of the body.
Draw it in, so that its top is roughly on the same level as the bottom of the circle.
The length of the legs can be measured with the purple axis.
If you place it just below the circle, you see that it reaches down to the top of the paws.

In general, the length of the legs is also a good way to recognize a puppy.
The legs here are only slightly longer than the height of the head.
For an adult dog the legs would be about as twice as long as the head.

How to Draw a Puppy - Step 1.4:
Hind Legs

From the front leg to the hind leg the distance is a bit longer than the length of the circle's radius.
The hind leg's shape is a bit different from the front leg, since there is an additional foot ankle, from which the leg bends forwards.
There is no difference between the paws, though.

How to Draw a Puppy - Step 1.5:
The Tail

Draw in the tail.
It should be rather short, just like everything else in a puppy.
To give it the same length as the legs is a good estimation.
The tail is uplifted, to indicate that the puppy is currently in an attentive state.
Let it hang down, if you want your puppy to look rather relaxed.

How to Draw a Puppy - Step 1.6:
The Face

Since all the limbs are in place, we can now go back to the head and complete the face.

Draw the ear into the upper left quarter of the circle, but there into the upper right corner.
Note that the ear's bottom on the left sits much lower than its bottom on the right, and that its shape is leaning a bit forwards.
Define the borders of the ear with two lines and add a little edgy shape into it to hint at the insides.
The only thing that you see of the other ear is a little triangle that reaches above the skull.

The eye is sitting in the circle's lower right quarter.
Draw it in a small distance from the horizontal middle axes and very close to the circle's edge on the right.
It has the shape of a triangle with a circle inside of it.

Draw a round shape into the tip of the snout and add a spiky shape to it that bends downwards along the snout edge.

The body of the puppy is done so far.
Now you can erase all the lines which aren't necessary any more:

- The axes in the circle
- The circle line, which separates the head from the body
- The circle line, which separates the snout from the rest of the head
- The parts of the body line which are covered by legs

How to Draw a Puppy - Step 1.7:
The Fur

And now it's fur time!
Turn your "naked" Husky puppy into a Hairy Harry so that it doesn't freeze in the cold winter land it comes from.

You can draw the fur in two steps:
1. Make the edges of the puppy fuzzy.
2. Draw fur patterns into the body

1: Fuzzy Edges
Note that there are some edges which are not furry.
The snout and the paws are still completely smooth, because the fur is so short there that it doesn't stand out.

Draw the hairs around the head rather short and upright.
On the back they are longer and lie pointing backwards.
At the belly the hairs should be the longest and hang down.
Yet draw them shorter and shorter, the closer you come to the jaw from below.
The fur on the legs is also pretty short.
And on the tail is a bit longer again.

And don't forget to make the edges of the ears hairy, too.

2: Fur Patterns
Draw in the fur patterns now.

Divide each leg in the middle with a row of fuzzy lines.
Do the same with the tip of the tail.

Most important for the face is the outline that separates the snout from the upper part of the head.
The outline starts in front of the eye and goes downwards for a short distance.
Below the eye it makes a knuckle and goes upwards again.
When it is behind the eye it goes over into a long curve which reaches to the end of the head.
Draw a row of fuzzy lines curving down from there, until they meet with the lower jaw.

Also add a speck of outlined fur above the eye, below the ear and one on the neck right behind the head.

Draw a big shape on the chest.
It has a thin spike pointing upwards at the front leg and then bends gently up to the jaw.

Finally you can outline the area around the knee of the hind leg a little bit.

And with that your husky puppy is finished.
It will be a big, successful sledge dog when it grows up one day, I'm sure.

How to Draw a Puppy - Step 2.1:
Basis for the Head

Draw a circle at the beginning.
This will be the base for the puppy's head.
Place the vertical and horizontal middle axis inside of it, because then it will be easier to draw all the facial features correctly, since you can use these axes as guidelines.

My axes are very uneven here, but yours should be straight and perpendicular of course! ;)

How to Draw a Puppy - Step 2.2:
Eye Shape

Add the eyes into the left side of the head, just on the horizontal axis.

The left eye (and I'm always talking about left and right from your point of view: <--- left, right --->) touches the borders of the circle, while the right one sits close to the vertical middle axis, but doesn't touch it yet.
Leave so much distance between the eyes that another eye could fit in there.

The right eye is shaped like a small bell.
The left eye is cut off on its right side with a straight diagonal line, because this part will be hidden behind the snout (see next picture).

How to Draw a Puppy - Step 2.3:
The Snout

Draw in the snout.
It starts just above the left eye and crosses the line of the circle closely below the eye.
Outside of the circle it makes an ever so slight bulge.
The length to the tip of the snout, measured from the circle, is about as long as the half of the circle's radius.
Since this is a puppy snout, it should rather be too short than too long.

Draw a long curve from the snout tip that bends back to the circle and enters it close to the bottom.
Don't make this curve too flat, because the snout should look rather broad than pointy.

Then add the lower jaw.
It starts roughly in the middle of the last drawn curve.
From there it arcs down, to form the chin.
The chin ends where the line reaches the circle, very close to the vertical axis.
From there on the line arcs inwards and reaches into the lower right quarter of the circle to outline the jaw.

How to Draw a Puppy - Step 2.4:
The Nose

Add the nose to the tip of the snout.
It is a bit tricky.
You may need a couple of tries until you get this to look properly.
I had to erase and redraw mine several times.

Start with two lines, which bend out of the upper snout outline.
One starts very slightly above the tip, the other one further upwards.

Connect the two lines at the side and add a little bulge to the bottom of the nose.

Then draw in two circles for the nostrils.
I cut off the one on the left, but a whole circle close to the left side should also be fine.
A line arcs upwards from the right circle to define the border between top and side of the nose.

With one more line, we'll also make a clear distinction between the top surface of the snout and its side surface.
Draw this line starting from the upper right edge of the nose and let it run largely parallel to the outer snout line.
This line shouldn't be straight either, but slightly curved.

And with this last step the whole snout is finished.

How to Draw a Puppy - Step 2.5:
The Ears

Now you can add the ears.
The left is just a triangle, which is partially hidden behind the circle.
The right one fills almost the entire upper right quarter of the circle.
You can also think of it as a triangle, yet the lines at the side are bulging outwards.
At the top, the line makes a knuckle that goes downwards.
And the shape isn't closed at the upper right corner.
Instead, the line that comes from the top runs parallel to the right side of the triangle for a short while before it ends.

How to Draw a Puppy - Step 2.6:
The Body

Now we map out the torso of the little dog.
Use the horizontal circle axis (purple) to measure the length of the body.
From the right edge of the circle to the end of the body one and a half purple axes fit in.
The height from the bottom of the circle to the bottom of the body is as long as the radius (shown in green).
Draw in the oval of the body inside of these boundaries.
At the neck it starts out of the horizontal middle axis and on the other side it starts in the middle of the chin.

How to Draw a Puppy - Step 2.7:
Front Legs

This picture may look confusing on the first glance, but it is simple.
We just use the yellow and the blue axis as measurement tools again to map out the front legs.

With the blue axis, we can measure the distance from the chin to the outermost paw, the distance from the right elbow to the beginning of the paw, and the length of this paw itself.
From where the paw starts at the top, to its toes, it has the length of half a blue axis.

With the yellow axis we measure the height of the front legs.
You see that they almost reach as deep as the yellow axis, when you place it below the mouth.

If you take these measurements into consideration it should be no problem to draw the legs in the right proportions.
And if you think that's all too messy and complicated, just draw the front legs without any measurement at all, but just guess the correct size.
You can look at the next picture to see them without axes in the way.

How to Draw a Puppy - Step 2.8:
Hind Leg

Only one of the hind legs is visible.
It consists of a large, round bulge for the knee and the long, narrow shape for the foot below.
The foot is roughly as long as the vertical axis.
Draw it slightly diagonal, so that its joint at the end sits higher than the toes in the front.

How to Draw a Puppy - Step 2.9:

Add the tail to complete the outline of the body shape.
If you draw it standing upwards, it will look like the puppy is currently paying attention to something interesting in front of it and may jump up any second.
I decided to let the tail lie down on the ground, because I wanted my puppy to be relaxed.

In the next steps we'll draw in the fur around the edges of the puppy.
I recommend that you slightly erase the edges in those areas, so that you don't see these lines below the fur anymore.
You can also erase the little part of the circle, which reaches under the jaw.

How to Draw a Puppy - Step 2.10:
Furry Head Outline

Start with the forehead and the ears.
Draw in many little curvy spikes along their borders.
Let all these spikes bend into slightly different directions, so that they don't look like a row of nails, or the blade of a saw, but like natural chaotic fur.
Make some spikes a bit bigger, some a bit smaller, some thicker, some thinner.

Then connect the right ear with the jaw through a curved row of longer and broader hairs.
They should also change their direction frequently, but overall they point upwards at the top and are bending more downwards, the closer to the jaw they come.

How to Draw a Puppy - Step 2.11:
Facial Fur

Draw a large iris into each eye, which fills the eye almost completely.
Then add the smaller filled pupil into it, so that only a thin rim of the iris remains empty.

Add a bit of decoration around the eyes:
- Draw a line below each eye, to form the lower eyelid.
- Add a curved shape with strands at its top above each eye. This is no eyebrow, but just a pattern in the fur color.
- Add another fur pattern below the right eye. You don't see the one under the left eye, because the snout is in the way.

Draw jagged lines into the ears.
In the left ear this is just a short row of little strokes, which go up into the upper left corner of the triangle.
In the right ear the little strokes start at the left top, go diagonally downwards into the middle of the ear and than curve upwards to the right top again.

Add two jagged lines to the forehead.
Both of them start just above the two lines that come up from the nose.
The left line disappears quickly on the left side of the skull, while the right one arcs up to the top of the head.

Then draw a couple of fuzzy edged specks into the forehead.
I added one at the beginning of the left ear, and one partially hidden below the right ear.

Draw a zigzag line from the nose down to the outer edge of the jaw.
Add a few short whiskers and outline the sideburns.
Then you are finished with the facial fur pattern.

How to Draw a Puppy - Step 2.12:
Body Fur

Slightly erase the lines of the front legs above the elbows, so that you can draw over them.
Draw two rows of long jagged lines right above the elbows.
Also outline the line on the right, which goes all the way up to the shoulder with many little curved spikes.

Add a row of very few small lines in the middle of the right front leg.
This separates the upper surface and the side surface of the leg, which gives a better 3d effect.
Then make the whole lower outline of the legs and paws fuzzy at the edges.

Let's turn to the hind body in this last step.
At first you can also make all edges of the leg and the body fuzzy with a lot of little lines.
Then add two rows of long fur strands along the lower thigh.
Also draw many hairs sticking out of the tail.
Draw in a couple of lines into the body, too:

- A row along the back
- A few hairs behind the shoulder
- A little patch of lines at the beginning of the belly

With that your German shepherd dog puppy is finished.
And you know two new ways how to draw a puppy.
Cuddle your little friends a lot and keep practicing until next time!

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