How to Draw a Long Haired Dog Step by Step

How to Draw a Long Haired Dog Step by Step

This week, I’d like to welcome fellow colored pencil artist Peggy Osborne to the blog to show us how to draw a long haired dog using her area-by-area method.

Please welcome her to the blog!

How to Draw a Long Haired Dog Step by Step

How to Draw a Long Haired Dog

by Peggy Osborne

I’m using Robert Bateman Series 110 lb. paper. It has slight tooth and is a nice paper for learning to draw in colored pencils. I use primarily Prismacolor pencils on all my work.

Step 1: Setting up the line drawing

I thought this little Chihuahua had such an intense look and such a beautiful coat that he would be fun to draw. The original image was from Pixabay.

How to Draw a Long Haired Dog, The Reference Photo
Photo by HG-Fotografie on Pixabay

I first transferred the image onto my paper using transfer paper. A sketch is like a road map for me.

Step 1: The Line Drawing on Drawing Paper

Step 2: Start with the Eyes

I always start my portraits with drawing the eyes. I just love looking into the finished eye as I work as it makes me feel more connected to the subject.

Here I started out with Cream and Light Umber using light pressure and tiny circles. I used a number of colors to complete the eye, about 11 different colors all together.

How to Draw a Long Haired Dog Step by Step Step 2: Blocking in the Eyes

More color is added to the eye, preserving the white highlight til the end.

I added more colors with light pressure, using Sand, Chocolate, Black Cherry, Dark Brown, and Indigo Blue in the iris with black.

I use some French Grey in the corner of the eye as white is not pure white.

Black is used to outline the eyeball and in the end I used Sienna Brown to lightly wash over the entire eye.

For the highlight in the eye, I used my colorless blender to bring the surrounding colors in toward the circle of the highlight to make it look natural.

I finished the eye rims with tiny circles of color using White in the highlighted areas and 70% French Grey and 50% Warm Grey and a touch of Black Grape to deepen the color.

Now on to the fur.

Step 3: Drawing the Fur Around the Eyes

I study the reference photo to see which way the fur grows and always follow the way it grows.

Using a sharp point and light pressure, I draw a few strands of dark fur with Sepia. Then I use White and Cream to lay in base colors before heading to the darker colors.

I usually work from light to dark with colored pencils. It’s easier to fix something as you go this way.

Next, I use Cream for a base layer and then Light Umber. This is combined with Beige and Chocolate to bring the colors to life. I use Sepia and Dark Brown in the darker areas, and White and Cream on the lightest areas above the eye. I layer a light wash of Rose Peach over the area when complete.

On the top of the head, I use Sepia to add very fine strokes of fur in the darkest areas. This will blend in later with the subsequent layers of color.

How to Draw a Long Haired Dog Step by Step Step 3: Drawing the Fur

I add a base layer of Cream and Light Umber, covering completely.

Then with very sharp pencils and direction strokes, I add fur lines around the eyes, using some of the colors already used.

Then I use the colorless blender to gently blend all this together and smooth it out so the tooth of the paper doesn’t show. I can add more color with a sharp pencil even after burnishing.

Remembering to follow my reference photo where the colors are darker or lighter, I use a sharp Black pencil and then Sepia to add fine hairs all around the face. I leave the lighter areas light.

I use Mineral Orange in some of the areas that show this color on the reference to stay true to the reference. Following the reference is important especially when doing commissions.

Step 4: Drawing the Muzzle and Nose

Now comes the fun part: White fur around the nose.

White fur is full of reflecting color and once you realize that white is not just white, it is so much easier. I used a combinations of colors to create the nose, using strokes in the direction of hair growth.

The darker colors were used in the shadow areas. 20% French grey, 50% French Grey and 50% Warm Grey.

I also used Greyed Lavender in the shadows and to add random hairs here and there.

I burnished this with white. Once this was done I finished with my black pencil with a sharp point, creating very light hairs in the areas that show in the reference photo, around the nose, under the nose and lip.

Step 5: Drawing the Longer Hair around the Face

Drawing the cheek area is pretty much just repeating the same process from beginning to end. I first layer Cream as a base over the whole area. Then adding hair like strokes, I add Light Umber avoiding the light areas. Then I wash Rose Peach over all.

Next, I add lots of light layers to get the depth I want. Here I have added Mineral Orange just over the Light Umber areas that I did previously, avoiding the light areas on the cheeks. I do a light wash with Cream over the whole area. With a sharp point and light pressure I add more Light Umber in the same areas, then I wash the whole area with Rose Peach.

Following the reference photo closely, I want to darken the areas around the cheek area. Using a fine hair-like stroke with Dark Brown and Sepia, I go all around the outside of the cheek. I also use a few light strokes of Black in some areas just to darken it.

Step 6: Drawing the Fur on the Chest

Most of the chest hair is white so I start out using 20% French Grey and Greyed Lavender. I lay out some fine hair-like strokes where I will be adding detail later.

On the areas under the cheek area I add strokes of Beige and Rose Peach.

This process is repeated several times with the same colors from the beginning, then I use 50% French Grey and Dark Brown all around the outside of the fur following the details in the photo.

Continue using the same colors on the same areas building up layers and fur texture. I use white to burnish the area, which helps blend the colors together. Then I add more layers of color with a sharp point and a little heavier pressure as the layers are building up.

The final touches of his chest are pretty much just continuing to add the same colors in the same areas building up the layers.

After getting it almost to completion, I take my black pencil and darken some of the dark outside area even further. I stroke up and down so the the stroke cuts into the lighter area making it look more natural.

Then with my white pencil and a sharp point, I draw light hairs down into the dark areas, making sure to wipe the tip each time so that the dark color doesn’t stick in areas I don’t want it.

As a final touch I take the Brush & Pencil’s Titanium White mixture and paint very light hair whiskers around the mouth and light hairs in the chest fur. This is a wonderful product designed to be used with color pencil. I will use it in the ear area for the fine ear hairs.

Now on to the ears.

Step 7: Drawing the Ears

First I wash of Rose Peach inside the ears then wash over that with White to smooth it out. Most of this area will be covered with hair but I want it to show through the hair.

On the outside of the ear, I draw fine hair-like strokes of Beige and Light Umber, then I wash the whole area with 10% French Grey.

Following the reference photo, I continue the same method of drawing fine hairs on the outside with Dark Brown then a row of Mineral Orange below the brown. I draw some fine hairs inside the ear so I can go back and darken them when ready.

Continuing with the outside of the ears, I draw hairs with Light Umber and Sepia. Then I add a few black hairs along the outside area.

I use Cream and 10 % French Grey to wash the area lightly. I use a sharp point and fairly heavy pressure to blend everything together with a colorless blender. Even when blending, I always follow the way the hair grows. This covers the white dots of paper making it smooth and brings a nice point to the hairs.

You can see where I used the colorless blender to smooth the ears with a very sharp point.

I added more layers of Sepia, Light Umber and Black to the areas to add more depth to the ears.

How to Draw a Long Haired Dog Step by Step: The Finishing Touches

Step 8: The Finishing Touches

Finishing up this little fellow with some last touches.

A comparison photo shows me where I need to make changes or adjustments. I needed to deepen the inside of the ears so used Clay Rose to get the color closer to the photo reference.

I also added some Sepia and Black in the areas that needed stronger darks.

Then I went back in with Titanium White mixture to add more highlights where needed.

Then last but not least, I used a sharp point to add the whiskers with black.

How to Draw a Long Haired Dog Step by Step Color Comparison

Another trick which helps me find my values is turning the comparison photo into a black and white photo.

How to Draw a Long Haired Dog Step by Step Value Comparison

And this is the finished portrait.

How to Draw a Long Haired Dog Step by Step: The Finished Portrait

Thank you, Peggy, for showing us how you draw a long haired dog.

If you enjoyed Peggy’s tutorial, please tell her in the comments below.

And if you have questions, please ask them. We artists love talking about our work!

About Peggy Osborne

Peggy is an accomplished self-taught artist living in Canada specializing in creating beautiful realistic portraits of pets and family members. She’s had an on going love affair with colored pencils, loving their simplicity, for as long as she can remember.

She started out using graphite pencil so it was an easy transition to carry on with colored pencils. Love of animals and art go hand in hand. Peggy is in awe of what can be accomplished with colored pencils.

See more of Peggy’s work at Pet Portraits by Peggy.


  1. Bill Bayne

    Very impressive. I only wish I could do work like this. Just a couple of questions. How did you determine you needed 11 colours for the eye? I would know where to start. How do you determine what order you layer each pencil?

    1. Bill,

      So do I! Peggy does wonderful work. Have you seen her website? Great portraits!

      I can’t answer for Peggy, but most artists use the colors they see in their reference photo or they use the colors they need to mix in order to get the colors they see in the reference photo. It’s my guess based on personal experience that that’s what Peggy has done.

    2. Hi Bill, Thank you very much. I didn’t choose 11 colors at the beginning… I would look carefully at the reference photo and see the colors and as I layered them on one by one, I would keep those pencils separate from the others in case I wanted to go back to a color and at the end I totaled up that I had used 11 different colors all together. As for order, I usually work from light to dark. So I use the lighter colors working my way up to the darkest colors. I can then sometimes go back over a dark color that has been burnished and use a lighter color over it. Prismacolor pencils layer very nicely. Hope that answered your questions.

  2. Bill Bayne

    Sorry to have taken to send my thanks for you reply.
    Answers create more questions and I will not be offended you refuse. When drawing fine details such as the eye ai try to keep a sharp point using what I call a sanding board. Do have a special method? Also when drawing the fur what “thickness of point for fur?

    1. Hi Bill, feel free to ask any questions, I am happy to answer them. I sharpen my pencils with a hand held sharpener. Since Prismacolors are a soft lead pencil I have to be very careful as it can break easily. It does not have to be needle sharp but sharp enough to dig into the underlying layers of pencil already on the paper. Hope that makes sense.

  3. Aya

    Hi Peggy, thanks for the tutorial. I just wanted to say that i don’t have a colour less blender and was thinking to buy one.
    Do you think it is worth it? And if you do , can you tell me a good one since i don’t want to buy a rubbish one that doesn’t work.


    1. Aya,

      Thank you for reading Peggy’s tutorial and for your very kind words about it. Peggy will be along to answer your question.

      In the meantime, I’ll tell you that I’ve used Prismacolor’s colorless blender and Lyra’s Splendor Blender. Both work very well. I’ve gotten the most use out of the Prismacolor colorless blender, but that’s because it’s the easiest to get. Either one is worth trying.

      The only way for you to know if getting one will be worth it to you is to get one and try it. They’re a great blending tool, but they’re not ideal for every artist.

    2. Hi Aya, thanks for checking in and following my tutorials. I do use the colorless blender often to help smooth lines and blend colors. The main tip that I can offer is to make sure you have enough layers to blend the pencil marks evenly. The colorless blenders are cheap enough to have a couple in your inventory. I use the Prismacolor colorless blender. I have used the Poly Splender blender and the one by CaraDache but still prefer my Prismacolor blender. I think the others work fine but I find the Prismacolor blender works best for me. Like Carrie said, try a couple different ones and see which works best for you.

  4. Joke Uijt de Boogaardt

    Peggy, wat een schitterende tekeningen. ikzelf teken niet met potlood maar schilder met porselein opglazuur en meestal dieren . hierbij schilder ik ook van licht naar donker en door je duidelijke uitleg inclusief foto’s voor het schilderen van lang harige vachten ga ik deze tips voor mijn werk proberen.
    daarvoor m’n hartelijke dank.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I had to do an online translation, since neither Peggy nor I speak German. So here’s the translation:

      What beautiful drawings. I myself do not draw with pencil but paint with porcelain glaze and mostly animals. I also paint from light to dark and because of your clear explanation including photos for painting long hairy coats I will try these tips for my work. Thank you very much for that.

      Peggy does do beautiful work.

      Thank you for taking the time to read Peggy’s tutorial and to leave a comment.

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