Saturday, 18 January 2014

How to Draw Dogs


If you have watched my little film on drawing cats, you will know about the lovely, really old book which my mum gave me: Drawing a Cat. It was a gift from my Dad, who we lost recently. Mum is having a bit of a clear-out and came upon this companion book he bought for her, Drawing Dogs. She thought I might like it: 


As you can see from the title page above, it was first published back in 1940, but this edition is way more recent: 1949! Mum and Dad had been dating for just 3 years: they met soon after Dad got back from conscription, when my mum was only 15. 

Apart from its sentimental value, the book is also a lovely resource. Unlike cats, dogs come in very different shapes and sizes, so an illustrator can never have enough reference. it would have come in very handy when I was illustrating my very dog-centred book, Swap! 


Diana Thorne sketched with pencil, but also litho crayon. As well as her lovely drawings, there are some good tips, such as how to cope with drawing a constantly moving subject (use doggie-buzzwords, such as 'cat' to get him to look at you!).

I like her quick sketches best - they capture the life and movement, and are so much better than a photograph if I want to get ideas for poses. 


I love sketching dogs too. I mostly use my Inktense watercolour pencils and a waterbrush - so speedy for capturing colour. Unfortunately we don't have a dog at home, so my drawings are usually crafty quickies of dogs I spot travelling on buses or trains, like this little one:


I've bagged quite a few in pubs too, where they often like to lay down at their owner's feet: 


You never know when a dog-opportunity will arise. It's one of the reasons I always have a sketchbook and pencil tucked about my person somewhere. We had just pitched a tent when this soppy Labrador mooched across the field and befriended us: 


Diana Thorne did dog portraits as commissions. I did one or two of those myself, but working from photos, to make a bit of money when I was a teenager. 

It's not the sort of thing which interests me these days, though I did do a dog portrait in my illustration style a couple of years ago. It was commissioned by a school where I had worked with the children, as a retirement gift for a much-loved Headteacher. I was told that his two favourite things were his little dog and golf:


14 comments:

Louise Forshaw said...

Love the illustration you did for the headteacher! That's the sort of thing I'd love to have on my wall - a drawing of my two girls.

Hope you feeling much better after your foot op.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

That's a brilliant retirement present!

The book looks fascinating too. One of the wonderful things about the Internet is how so many of the older books about drawing and sketching are making their way - in digitised form - on to the Internet

Nigel said...

... I have Studio's "Drawing at the Zoo" [pub. 1949] by Raymond Sheppard... a lovely thing!

Unknown said...

My old books like yours are treasures of information about people's interest at the time of writing. These treasures if saved can only add to our own view of past and future.

Hope your foot is healing well.

Julie Clay Illustration said...

Your dog drawings are gorgeous Lynne. I love the old labrador, and the ones you did when you were younger, you have always had great talent then :) The book is beautiful, what a treasure.

lee kline said...

Love that you found and are preserving old books on drawing. Your portrait of the man's dog is very touching. I recently came across a HUGE book on gardening, titled "The Complete Book of Gardening Magic," with hundreds of line illustrations and not one attribution to the artist(s). Absolutely wonderful drawing and no credit to the artists. Shameful. But I will keep the book.

Susan said...

Hi Lynne, love the dog sketches. We just said goodbye to our Stella, a manchester terrier..on 21-12-13, I'm still devastated, she was one of us and very loving, and much more than a pet..she was our kid.
Seeing your book made me wish i had sketches of her, i love the one you did for the teacher. Thanks for sharing, Susan.

Lynne the Pencil said...

That's shocking, isn't it? Was it an old book too? If not, that's even worse.

Lynne the Pencil said...

Thanks Julie. Labradors can be so wonderfully soppy and dogs seem to have almost human looking personalities which are great to try and capture.

Lynne the Pencil said...

So sorry to hear about your Stella Susan. X

Lynne the Pencil said...

I bet that's brilliant, Nigel x

Anonymous said...

Love the old drawing book, I have a couple too, they're priceless. And the picture for the teacher......FANTASTIC!!! Love your blog, Lynne and hope you're healing!! -Jill/California

Lynne Braga said...

Your work is so inspiring! Just found this through your post on Facebook. I've lost several people and animals who were so dear to me. It is wonderful that you have these old books as a connection to your parents. Sadly, I have only a few illustrated books kept from my childhood. One, "The little FRENCH FARM", (pub. 1939) has lovely illustrations of animals by Helene Guertik.

Lynne the Pencil said...

Thank you Lynne!

Yes, old books are a bit special, aren't they, especially if your remember them from childhood. Unfortunately, pretty much all my books and toys from childhood got passed down to younger cousins, so I haven't got anything.