Critique for Dog Figure Practice!

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Magazine Cop 5 years ago.

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    Hello, I am a very young artist currently seeking to improve my understanding of animal proportions and anatomy. I figured one of the best ways to do this is to share my practice work with others for critique, so... here I am!

    Linked is a gallery of a few anatomy practice sketches of dogs I've drawn in the past couple days. I am primarily focused on anatomy, proportions, and, if applicable, motion and weight. These were not done with lighting, shading, and detail in mind. Most were drawn in 5 minutes or less.

    Here is my gallery

    Any critique is much appreciated :) Thank you for your consideration!

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    Hello Magazine Cop!

    Thank you for sharing your drawings. It's a very difficult thing to do. I can say as a high school art teacher that your drawings have a great foundation! I would suggest comparing the size of the animal's head to the size of the rib cage. Is the ribcage 1.5 times larger than the circle that the head fits into? Is it about the same? Then do the same with the circle for the hips. This will help with proportion. It might also be helpful for you to google a picture of a dog's skeleton and draw that to see how the legs joints, etc, are built.

    Great job; keep up the good work! Thank you for sharing your art.


    I agree with Anna about studying structure and proportions using different dog skeletons. Such practice seemed rather tedious to me when I was a young artist, but really understanding structure is a price you have to pay for life-like art that makes sense to the eye, and it's better to pay up now than later since it will really improve your skills faster.

    I think you demonstrate a feel for flow and action, which is awesome. Try to push that further to really capture the exaggerated motions. Try a few sketches where you make it really over-the-top extreme with curves, bends, sharp angles, then refine it back. It's a still image on a page, but a little emphasis and exaggeration can add a lot of life and motion.

    I would also encourage you to use fewer reinforcing lines (line darkening) for your sketches and to use them to draw attention to important curves or plane changes. Dark contrast of heavy lines draws attention to that area, so try to not use it as a correction tool, since it will only bring more attention to a mistake or reinforce an awkward line, and those dark lines can make the drawing feel more stiff. Redrawing a line a couple of times is okay, we don't often get it right the first time, but work on lightly drawing long, single, flowing lines drawn with shoulder rather than the short, scratchy multiple lines that darken your contour (outline) so much.

    You've got a lot of good things happening in your sketches, so just keep putting in your time and being thoughtful during practice and you'll go far. Thanks for sharing.

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    Are these based off your dog or photos? Both can be good and will teach you a lot.

    The reason I ask is because a bunch of the anatomy issues I’m seeing look like the ones i made when I was primarily drawing my Husky from life. Possibly with less focus on dog butt because it’s rather hard to get a front view of your Husky and have your hands free to draw.

    What i found is i was very vague on how dog and wolf skulls worked so i got the ear expressions wrong. I also had problems getting the joints correct on front legs despite being very familiar with how they work. You don’t really see your own dog’s front legs move much unless you make a point of working with someone to focus on it. And if you’re the dog’s favorite human then you get yelled at by the dog because you should be walking with your dog not dashing ahead. Dogs have exactly 0 respect for art.

    You’re getting that the big first gesture is the spine, and you’ve mostly got the heads anchored on the spine the way they should be. There’s no set formula for the relationship between head, shoulder joint, hip joint and rib cage. Huskies are pretty close to wolves for structure but a lot of breeds vary from that base. And some of what might be errors could be accurate description of a specific breed.


    Thank you so much for the advice! I'm sorry for the late reply, but for the past week or two I have been working with your ideas. It seemed obvious to me at first, but using a skeleton to study the body really helped me recognize the many nuances and structures that lay within the body- I now understand why many things are shaped like they are, if that makes sense. It also helped me with chest/head/hip proportions as well.

    Dog Skeleton

    I'll coninue to use skeletons as a tool to study in the future. Thank you :)

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