Painting Dogs in Watercolour – Great Dane Tutorial

Original Watercolour Great Dane - 9x11 inches
Original Watercolour Great Dane – 9×11 inches

Just recently I was asked to paint a Great Dane. I love dogs but find capturing a likeness in watercolour very hard.

Anyway I did the drawing and set about painting this gorgeous dog.

I used several washes , allowing each one to dry before I added the next in order to build the form of the face.

This Great Dane has lovely interesting black spots and patches but I only added them as soft blurs in the early stages and made harder edges at the end. That way I developed a depth to the painting.

Painting dogs makes you really study the shadows and markings and I used complementary colours on the colour wheel in order to create shadows that would turn the 2D images into a 3D watercolour.

If you’d like to try this watercolour dog tutorial then please do.

COPYRIGHT! – please note that while this watercolour tutorial can be used for your own learning you do not then have the right to sell this image as the copyright is mine. Thank you.

This tutorial is offered for purely educational purposes.

I used the following materials:-

1 Arches hot pressed 90lb 100% cotton rag paper – stretched on a quarter inch plywood board
2 Winsor & Newton artists’ quality tube watercolours in Cobalt Blue, French Ultramarine Blue, Raw Umber, Burnt Umber and Rose Madder Genuine

Please click on each image to bring it up nice and big!

Graet Dane 1

Graet Dane 2_edited-1

To see my available watercolour dog paintings and prints please visit my online gallery here –

Happy painting

18 thoughts on “Painting Dogs in Watercolour – Great Dane Tutorial

  1. Reblogged this on Wags&Feathers and commented:
    This is the first post in our new weekly feature “Wednesday Wags!” Each week on (you guessed it) Wednesday, we will share something that really made us wag our tails around here. My hope is that it will make your tail wag or heart smile as well! The post below is from a wonderful site called Not only does a very talented artist reside there, she periodically shares how she creates her work. What a neat feature! Dogs and birds are represented, as well as many other beautiful things. Go see, go see!!!

    1. Sophie – thanks for this re-blog – I really appreciate it and am delighted it is your cup of tea! I will be doing a budgie special post with some surprises – give me 2 days to get a bit more over my pleuresy ok! 🙂 Alison

      1. My pleasure Alison! I am happy to have something of great quality to share with my readers. I am excited to see your budgie post. I hope you feel better soon :-).

  2. Hi Alison! First of all, let me say that your work is outstanding. I found you on Pinterest and immediately fell in love with one of your budgerigar paintings (I have two budgies). I was so delighted to find that you reside on WordPress as well, and I would love to feature you in my new weekly feature “Wednesday Wags.” It highlights things that I came across during the week which I found outstanding and share worthy. I would simply do a reblog of your most recent post, however I’d love to feature one of your budgie paintings. Do you have a page depicting those? I tried to find one, but I just kept scrolling and scrolling and nothing came up (slow computer did not help…sorry). If you could give me a page link, I would be excited to share and talk up your site!

  3. Beautiful work – congratulations on such a wonderful piece. Thank you for explaining your process, I’ve never painted with watercolors maybe one day I will try.

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