Sketchbook portraits of cute dogs in gouache and acrylic

As a big believer in the power of daily sketchbook exploration, I’m doing a mini-challenge of painting dogs in a variety of media. Partially to get better at drawing and painting dogs, but also as a vehicle for playing with different materials.

four little sketchbook paintings of cute dogs
Four small dog portrait sketches in acrylic (upper left) and gouache (the other three)

This little grouping was made in my Stillman & Birn Nova sketchbook, which has grey toned paper. I wanted to warm up the surface so instead of the grey I applied a medium value ochre-ish color made from white gesso and acrylic paint. The Chihuahua in the upper left was painted in acrylic, and the other three are gouache.

I started each of these with a gesture sketch, which has been tremendously helpful for improving my accuracy of drawing animals. The acrylic paint has its merits, but in this set I’m preferring the way the gouache handles. Especially when it comes to fine details with a small brush like around the eyes, and textured fur.

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