How to Draw a Cartoon Chihuahua
In this tutorial we are going to be learning how to draw a cartoon Chihuahua (pronounced ‘chee-wah-wah’ – but I like to say ‘chee-hoowa-hoowa’ cos I’m a dork).
To create your Chihuahua, please use the easy to follow images below.
This tutorial is broken up into three parts:
- the Pencil Sketch – laying down our foundation of basic shapes
- the Inking Stage – drawing in dark lines for the main shape of our doggy and thin lines for the details
- the Colouring Stage – bringing our doggy to life with pencils! You can colour in one layer if you want to, but I encourage you to go over your character with two or three layers, as this will make the colours more vivid and richer.
Before we get started, let’s take a moment to think about what makes the world’s smallest doggy different from other dogs.
If you look at photos of these dogs, their heads and bodies actually look in proportion, but because we are cartoonists, we will be amplifying the chihuahua’s tininess by giving it two important physical traits:
- A biiig head
- A small body
Apart from these two obvious traits, they also have long, erect ears and eyes that are far apart. In our drawing we will exaggerate their eyes by making them almost popping out from the sides of its head.
They can come in a variety of colours – black, brown, cream and everything in between. For our character, it will be a mixture of brown and cream/tan.
These dogs have a ton of personality, so we’ll be making our character super alert with an excellent posture!
- Paper (Sketchbook or printer paper)
- Pencil (HB or #2)
- Eraser – must be shaped like a spoon (I’m kidding)
- Thick Black Pen (I used a Posca PC-3M)
- Thin Black Pen (I used a UNI Pin Fine Line 05mm)
- White Pen (for highlights – I used a Posca PC 1MR)
- Coloured Pencils (I used Crayola for this doggie: Tan, Light Brown, Dark Brown, Purple (for shading), Magenta (for the doggy’s collar) and Blue (for the nose)
Part 1: The Pencil Sketch
Let’s start with that HEAD!
Step 1: Like every good Chihuahua, our Chihuahua needs a circle.
Step 2: Draw two ears – kind of like two big croissants popping out at the sides. These croissants will become ears, soon enough! Just you wait! Also add some tufts of hair where his head and his ears meet
Step 3: For his nose – draw in a squishy upside down triangle. Now this dude is gonna be crazy – so let’s give him eyes very far apart. The further apart the eyes, the crazier your character will become.
Make sure his pupils are out of alignment to make him look a little bit crazy!
Step 4: Time for the mouth! For the top lip – it starts with the upper lip coming out from under his eye on the right, then draw a curved line across his head, stopping underneath his other eye. For the bottom lip, simply draw a confident straight line going back across his face to the right. Finally draw in his neck with two little curvy lines.
Time for the BODY!
Step 5: Okay, now that we’ve got the hard bit out of the way, let’s give him a body. Just draw a big jellybean… or… kidney bean (whatever you prefer to eat)
Step 6: Now just pop in some tiny legs to hold up his little body and massive head. Give him a tiny tail as well
Step 7: The final stage of the sketch is to add some detail – give him some teeth (which is just a few zigzags for his back teeth and straight lines for his front teeth). Draw a giant M at the top of his head, some big rings around his eyes and a rectangle for his collar
For the purpose of neat presentation, the above instructions were drawn digitally in Adobe Photoshop, but here is the sketch that I created in my online course video (see below)
Part 2: The Inking Stage
Get out those pens! Time for the thick outlines!
Step 8: Once you’re happy with the sketch, get out your thick black pen and draw in the main outlines of our dog in preparation for the details (we don’t want the circles around his eyes to be too dominant, so let’s leave them for now and draw over them with the thin pen next)
Step 9: Time for the details! Get out your thin pen and get crackin’ on some shading. For a nice wet nose, start with a tiny circle inside the nose and then shade everything in the nose except for the circle.
Put some shadows under the collar and on his background legs. For the ears, just draw lines next to the thick lines and shade them in (gives a nice sense of depth!). Now finally draw in some stray hairs and some stripes on the collar.
Part 3: The Colouring Stage
Time to colour that doggy in!
Step 10: The first pencil I’m using here is tan (which is something that people sometimes get when they go on holiday). Colour in his inner ears, his face patches and his legs.
Step 11: Fill in the rest of his body with the brown pencil
Step 12: Now add a blue nose – and because there’s a lot of brown going on here, he’s getting a magenta collar – whether he likes it or not!
Step 13: Now use the purple pencil to add in some subtle shading.
Because his teeth take up a big area of white space, a bit of purple looks really good here for subtle shadow. And a bit of shadow on the eye balls will make them look more speherical.
Also put a layer of purple over the tan in the background legs (just to knock them back a bit more).
Finally, let’s get out the white pen and put in some highlights.
Once we have finished the colouring in, we can then say with great confidence that we have just drawn a cartoon Chihuahua!
I hope you have enjoyed the above – drawing Chihuahuas is always fun. If you have not done so yet, feel free to draw along with me and see if you can do it too (I know you can!).
If you are feeling a bit naughty and want to come up with your own style of chihuahua, simply jump on to Google and find some images which you find interesting. There are different types of Chihuahuas –they come in a variety of hair types and colours. Now compare them to other types of dogs – what makes a Chihuahua look like a Chihuahua? Sometimes comparing your subject to different subjects will make you gain a better understanding of what you’re drawing.
I recommend you choose a few photos that you’d like to use as your reference. Then draw some rough cartoon sketches made up of simple, geometric shapes (as seen in Steps 1 to 7, above). Once you’re happy with the sketch, lay in the main outlines with a thick pen, followed by adding in details with the thin pen. Finally get out your pencils, markers, crayons and colour in your new creation! Remember to enjoy the process and have fun!
Always remember! Whether you’re new to cartooning or if you’re a seasoned pro, it’s very important to always practise! Like any sport or musical instrument, if you draw a little bit every day, you will be amazed at how good you really can become!
Thanks so much for reading this tutorial – if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me on Facebook or Instagram. If you enjoyed this tutorial and have found it useful, feel free to check out my course Cartooning for Beginners – How to Draw Cartoon Dogs!
Hope to see you again soon!