Minimalist Line Art: Dog & Cat Canvases

Image contains two white canvases; one with a minimalist line drawing of a dog on it, and the other with a line drawing of a cat. They sit on a teal background with a black marker nearby.

Do you have four-legged friends in your life? Our family has two: our sweet dog, Pumpkin, and our very opinionated cat, Flynn. I wanted to create some pet themed artwork, but drawing a realistic portrait of an animal isn’t exactly in my skill set. If you can relate, I’d like to share a really easy and fun alternative – minimalist line art!

Line art is an art form where you can choose to keep things wonderfully simple. The minimalist style I’m using today uses no color, just straight and curving black lines that show the basic outline and important details of an object…or in this case, animal!

You’ll need:

blank canvas (mine are small 5×7 canvases, but any size will work!)



black permanent marker (I used the thicker end of my Tombow MONO Twin)

sketch paper

Step 1: Create a rough pencil sketch.

Let’s face it. No one is going to pick up a pen and magically draw a perfect outline for…well, anything…on the first try. So, the first step is to play around with lines to see how you want your animal to look. I did this on paper multiple times before I did anything on canvas. Experiment with different shapes and lines until you have an outline you like. My dog has floppy ears, but if yours has pointed ears, play around with creating those instead. You can always trace an outline of a photo or other image to help you with a starting point, too.

Image contains a white canvas with a pencil sketch of the outline of a dog. It sits on a background of sketch paper covered with similar images, and a marker and eraser sit nearby.

Step 2: Sketch your art with pencil on canvas.

Do this very lightly, to serve as a guide for where your marker will go.

Step 3: Trace your pencil lines with permanent marker.

Now, it’s time to create your finished product. Trace over your pencil lines using the Tombow MONO Twin. Don’t overthink it, remember, this is meant to be minimalist!

Image contains a white canvas with an image of a black line art dog. A marker and eraser sit nearby and the background is paper with sketches of the image in pencil and black pen.

Step 4: Erase your pencil lines.

Once your marker is dry, erase any visible pencil lines. Then, your canvas is ready to display!

Image contains a white canvas decorated with a line drawing of a dog looking over its shoulder. It sits on a teal background with a black marker.

Here is a look at my sitting kitty. Feel free to experiment with having your cat in a standing position, or to try other pets too, like birds, fish, hamsters, horses, rabbits, and more!

Image contains a white canvas with a line drawing of a seated cat. It is on a teal background with a Tombow MONO Twin marker next to it.

All that’s left to do is display your work! This project also makes a great gift for an animal lover, someone who got a new pet, or someone who lost a beloved furry friend. You can draw these animals on cards and other surfaces as well as canvases, and use them anywhere you like.

Image contains the pet portraits displayed in Amy's workspace, alongside books, pink drawers filled with pencils, pens, and markers, a large assortment of colorful markers, and bins containing other supplies.

If you try this project, I’d love to see how yours turn out! Make sure to stop by and join the Amy Latta & Friends Facebook Group so you can share your project photos and we can all be inspired. See you there!

Image contains two canvases; one with a line drawing of a dog and one with a line drawing of a cat. They sit on a teal background with a black permanent marker.

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