Today’s critique comes from an artist who wishes to remain anonymous. This piece was completed in colored pencil with the goal of realism. I really like that you started with reference photos and I can see what you were looking at for each portion of the dog.


Moving onto some adjustments we can make to help you to reach your goal of realism, my first tip would be to start with a single reference photo and stick with that until you’re more experienced with drawing in realism. Right now you’ve combined too many photos  which can start to get confusing when you’re newer to this style. You’re using the head from one photo, and the body from two others. The main problem with that is that they are not the same perspective. When you get really comfortable drawing realistically and you do start combining reference photos (something most pet portrait artists will have to do sooner or later), make sure those photos are at the same angle when it comes to the actual structure of the subject.

My next tip is to spend more time looking at your reference photo. I can tell that you’re spending more time focused on your art and working from memory than really looking at your photo. You should be spending far more time looking at that reference photo, really studying it than at your artwork as you work. One thing I have students do who are having a hard time getting into this habit is every couple of minutes, I make them stop drawing and study the reference photo for one or two minutes (timed to make sure they do it). The reason I can tell you’re not spending enough time looking at the photo is that you’ve used a lot of human cartoon attributes drawn onto a dog. Human neck/shoulders, human eye shape. You’re working too much from memory which won’t get you to your end goal of a realistic drawing.

I have no doubt you will be great at this, you just want to spend more time really studying your drawings. Keep up the good work!!