Subscribe to Email Updates

Creating a Funny Pet Portrait

Randy Hunter | May 8, 2017

In this tutorial Randy Hunter walks you through the process of creating fun portraits for pets. 


I know the subject of this drawing personally; she is a beautiful golden retriever with the energy of five dogs. The end goal of this project was to create a mostly realistic portrait with a splash of fun and energy. A specific use of color is the best way to capture the true essence of the subject.

Materials Used 

  • Sketch Markers: W2, Y21, Y23, E11, E13, E15, E18, R20 BLACK 100
  • X-Press It Blending Card, Copic Multiliner 0.1

Step 1: Map it Out 


Before rendering with my Copic Sketch markers, I first map out the subject matter with a light line. In this instance, I used a hard, sharp pencil lead. For this initial stage, detail is fairly unimportant. The keys are to make sure the major features (eyes, nose and mouth) and the overall shape of the dog are anatomically accurate. As a side note: Be sure to understand how your pencil will interact with Copic markers. Marker on top of the pencil eliminates the ability to go back and erase the pencil lines so be sure this will not affect your final rendering.


Step 2: Basic Fur


After checking off step one, it’s now time to pick up the markers. In most of my portrait work, both people and animals, I like to start with a light gray tone to map out shadows and darker areas of the subject. This is a good way to “see” past the image as a whole and begin breaking it down into shades/colors/tones. With this step I am, again, not terribly worried about detail or quality of marker stroke but instead mapping out the basic features like how the fur looks. For this step I used a W2 Sketch marker.

Step 3: Picking Your Palette


Once the gray tone is established the next step is to study the subject and pick out a color palette. I like to plan out my renderings so I don’t have to stop in the middle of my work to figure out what color to use next. For this piece I used the following colors: Y21, Y23, E11, E13, E15, E18, R20 and BLACK100

In the above image, I laid out my highlights with the Y21. For the most part, this layer will remain untouched throughout the remainder of the drawing.


From this point forward, I am building up the layers from light to dark. The first color I used is the Y23. The Y23 creates a brighter, warmer undertone to the entire rendering than just beginning with the E11. Going back to my original idea for this drawing, the Y23 became that specific color that set the tone for the entire piece. 

Step 4: Things are Getting Hairy 


Here, I add in the first layer of E11 and E13. As you will notice, my marker strokes are almost exclusively mimicking the direction and length of the fur of the dog. I am using the brush side of the Sketch marker and using either long or short strokes to achieve that bushy fur appearance.


Sometimes I like to take a break from the big picture and zoom in to the smaller details. At this stage I began the first iteration of color on the eyes, nose and mouth. I also added a light pink, R20, to the inner ears.

Step 5: Finishing Details 



To complete the drawing I used a dark brown colored pencil for the darkest areas, a white colored pencil for small details under the eyes, on the nose, and whiskers, and a Copic Multiliner 0.1 for the eyes and the hair under the nose.

If you enjoyed this tutorial, check out Randy's other blogs on creating realistic wood grain texture, drawing realistic bricks or on how to draw happy trees! 


Topics: Illustration, Copic

Randy Hunter
Randy Hunter on May 8, 2017

Randy Hunter is an Associate Architect in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as well as a Custom Art Business Owner. His primary subject matter includes both color and black and white commissioned portraits as well as landscapes and architectural illustration. Randy received his Master of Architecture and Master of Business Administration from Kent State University.