How to Paint a Dog Pet Portrait in Acrylic

Photo of Beau the Dog for Reference to painting

Photo of Beau the Dog for Reference to painting


Beginning painting of dog in acrylic

Beginning painting of dog in acrylicFinished Pet Portrait of a Dog

A hand-painted portrait of someone’s dog is probably one of the best gifts they’ll ever receive.

I have made several in my life, and it has always been a source of appreciation and a great way to start a relationship with important people (or soon to be important people) in your life.

It’s also a way to make money.  Many people love their pets as much (or more) than their family members, and feel like honoring their favorite pets with immortality in art form.  Family and friends often like to commission a painting like this as birthday or holiday gifts for loved ones, so it’s a great idea to put ads on the web, or around your town displaying what you can do.

In the portrait to the left, I started with a photo of Beau, the dog, and drew him on a canvas with a regular pencil.  If you’re working with acrylics or oil paint, you can draw fairly dark, because the paint will cover your pencil lines.  In watercolor, you’ll want to go light with the drawing.

> Related Articles: How to Paint a Cat in Acrylics

Try to capture the animal and the scene as closely as possible, but don’t try to make it look too much like the photo.  It ISN’T a photo!  It’s a painting, and people like to have something that has that artistic,painterly flair.  Remember, if they had wanted to hang up a photo, they would have gotten a photo enlarged and hung THAT up.

Have fun, people always smile when they see their favorite furry family member in paint!


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Jason Sipe Jason Sipe (68 Posts)

Jason Sipe is an artist, craftsman and writer. He has spent the last 20 years working in the art and media fields. He now turns to this blog and helping others learn about creating art as his main focus.

3 thoughts on “How to Paint a Dog Pet Portrait in Acrylic

  1. This is so great! Do you do commissioned pet portraits?

    My “puppy” died last November, and I’ve been meaning to get a painting done of her.

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    • Sorry, but I don’t really have time to do commissioned works right now.

      I will, sometimes, do one for a friend or loved one.

      What kind of dog was yours? What was its name?

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