How to Create Realistic Dog Fur with Colored Pencil

by Wendi OBrien


Supplies used were:

Bristol Vellum Paper

Polychromos, Luminance

Prismacolor colored pencils

Mona Lisa Odorless Mineral Spirits (OMS)

Pencil Sharpener

Round Paint Brush for OMS

Creating Realistic Dog Fur

 Today’s video is all about creating short dog fur.  This project came to me via one of my students who needed help with choosing colors and learning how to do the undertones of the fur.

First Steps

I began, by creating a smooth desaturated structure of the dogs face using the undertone colors of the fur mapping out the highlights, shadows and midtones.  After I was satisfied with the structure, I began working with the left ear and then moved to the right.  I used Odorless Mineral Spirits to blend out my layers.

Increasing Saturation and Fur Strokes

I began using a higher saturation of color to continue to build up the tones in the dogs fur. 

Once I was mostly satisfied with the tones I then started putting in the fur strokes using very sharp pencils.  I paid special attention to not only the colors in a particular area, but also the direction and length of the fur.

Glazing to Adjust Colors

Once I got some of the general fur laid in I glazed the appropriate colors for the areas I was working in.  I made sure to mix and overlap the colors of the fur to make it appear more realistic.


When working on the eyes I ensure that they are not flat, but lively and capture the personality of the dog.

Less Detail in Neck

I wanted the neck to be a bit out of focus and put some details in for some color variations, but didn’t go too crazy with them as I wanted it to appear a bit in the distance and bring the focus to his eyes and ear.

Snout and Nose

The snout and nose where rendered in the same manner, working back and forth, adding layers of fur and glazing color over the areas that needed it.  I made sure to add the texture, highlights and shadows to the nose to keep it from looking out of place and flat. 

I used OMS sparingly or not at all once I got to the final layers of  the fur.  It is really important to keep your pencil sharp when creating the fur strokes.  You can do this by rotating your pencil as you work so you don’t develop a flat side.

Building Up Fur Layers

I continued building up the fur layers and making adjustments to the color by glazing other colors over areas that needed more saturation.  When you do this you can still see the fur strokes, but it adds a bit of dimension and then go back and add a few fur strokes if needed to bring back the texture.

Until next time…keep on arting!

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