How to paint a watercolor dog portrait

Have you ever tried to paint a watercolor dog?

If you love painting and you have pets, you’ve probably felt inspired to create pet paintings of your furry companion. 

But painting pet portraits comes with a LOT of pressure to capture a true likeness that does justice to the beauty and personality of your beloved pet. 

In this mini-class, I show you how I created a larger-than-life French Bulldog painting in realistic watercolour.

Pets with black or white fur can give an added painting challenge, so I’ve chosen a black-and-white subject for this dog portrait to show you how to paint black fur AND how to paint white fur using watercolour.

I also share in detail my technique for painting the all-important eyes in this watercolour French Bulldog, which can make all the difference to capturing a likeness and bringing life to a portrait.

I hope this mini-class has given you the confidence and inspiration to create your own watercolour dog portrait using my techniques.

The Frenchie in my dog painting had short fur, so I used short brushstrokes. If the animal you want to paint has longer fur, the techniques I’ve shown you here can be easily adapted by using longer brushstrokes. 

And of course, the method I’ve shown you here doesn’t only apply to dog artwork. You can apply it to painting cats, horses, rabbits and other furry mammals too. 

For smaller mammals, check out my method for painting a hamster. And let’s not forget the goldfish!

If you decide to apply these techniques to your own watercolor dog or other pet portrait, I’d love to hear how you get on, so let me know how it goes in the comments below. And do also drop me a message if you enjoyed the video. I love reading them!

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15 Comments

  1. Iva Kubištová on March 16, 2021 at 4:14 pm

    Hallo Annaů Thank you for thil video, I like it very much!
    Iva

  2. Yvonne Lilley on March 16, 2021 at 4:31 pm

    I have struggled to do animals in watercolour so usually do them in pastel pencil or acrylic but I do love watercolour. I like your style of painting and if you add more animals and birds to your site then I may join. Thank you for the video it was very enjoyable.

  3. Vicky Turner on March 16, 2021 at 4:38 pm

    So helpful. On my hairiest doggie yet. A challenge. Agree with you about eyes (and in my case nose) first. Look forward to following you.

    • Pat Bishop on March 16, 2021 at 9:06 pm

      Would like to attempt my dog, it seems pretty daunting, lots of patience needed, do I have it? Thank you Anna, another excellent presentation.

  4. Sandra Quisenberry on March 16, 2021 at 5:21 pm

    A dog – How wonderful! Would so love to see more animal tutorials (especially a cat). That would definitely make me more interested in signing up!

  5. Melissa Aldosari on March 16, 2021 at 7:34 pm

    I love this pup portrait! It’s absolutely beautiful!
    I laughed so hard at the end! Sausages always help! At least for a moment!🤣😂

  6. Judy on March 16, 2021 at 10:44 pm

    Love your painting of this sweet dog. You make it look so easy!

  7. Virginia Adame on March 17, 2021 at 2:16 am

    You are so talented and I love your lessons! Your paints are incredible. I can only hope to get to your level of expertise..

  8. Dawn on March 17, 2021 at 3:21 am

    Awesome Painting!❤️
    Thank you for showing us how you go about painting fur!
    I just love your dog’s expression when he heard you say the word sausage!
    Dogs are so funny!
    I have a rescue dog and whenever he wants a treat, he stands next to the treat cupboard and kicks out one of his back legs and scrapes it against the floor! lol. I have no idea where he got that from, because he was about 1 1/2 years old when we got him, but it is absolutely hysterical!
    I plan on painting him someday when I get better at painting, i’ve been taking tons of photos, he is brown and white so the video will be helpful for me!
    Thanks again for giving us this instructional video!
    It is nice to see you painting an animal as I’m really interested in painting animals!
    I’m not sure I will ever be able to paint animals so lifelike I may have to paint them a little more whimsical but I will keep trying! 🥰

  9. Cheryl Van Ryn on March 17, 2021 at 7:24 am

    Definitely going to try this out the weekend. Thank you so much

  10. Suzanne+Linch on March 18, 2021 at 6:01 pm

    Such a beautiful demonstration, thank you so much.
    Unfortunately ~I cant use such tiny brushes now, has hands getting old and less agile, any tips Anna regarding this.

  11. Annie J Mathew on March 19, 2021 at 6:11 am

    Hi Anna
    Really a wonderful challenging demonstration..love the way you explain minute details .

  12. Neha on March 19, 2021 at 10:14 am

    Thank you Anna Mason🙏
    I’m a mother of two from India. With my two year old son it gets hard to take out time for myself. But watching your tutorials I feel so inspired. I made the realistic pear watching your video and proudly posted on my Instagram page.

    You are a shining star for me.
    Can’t thank you enough for inspiring us to learn something new each day. You’ve made such difficult subjects so approachable by your super clear and simplified way of teaching.

  13. Sharon franzoni on March 20, 2021 at 3:08 pm

    Why is this not a full lesson with line drawing equipment etc etc…

  14. Anne-Marie Nishi on March 22, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    Thanks, Anna! I love the way you captured this bulldog! So lifelike and with such character. I’m going to try painting my border terrier one of these days and your video shows a real path to accomplishing it. Thank you.

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