How To Paint a Realistic French Bulldog [Video]

Zann Hemphill Frenchie Dog Painting

French Bulldog Painting Demo

This video shows the start-to-finish process I went through to paint this super cute Frenchie in oil, as a timelapse. You can watch the whole thing in a couple minutes and then see the specific steps broken down below.

This piece was a commissioned portrait I made for a client from one of his photos, and went on to become a fantastic gift for his girlfriend!

For other dog portrait paintings, check out my Dog Portrait Gallery on the Paws By Zann main site.

1. Getting the Sketch Right

The first step for me in any dog portrait is the sketch. This is where I’m mapping out the major elements of a dog’s face so all the lighting and detail are describing the right thing.

During this stage I’m looking for anatomy landmarks, for example, where the nose, eyes, ears and mouth sit in relation to one another.

2. Adding Fur to the French Bulldog Painting

Next up, I start blocking in my shadows. In this case, the deep wrinkles around his nose, and the shadows in his mouth are the darkest places on the canvas.

I’ve also added a lightly abstracted background, based on the tulip field from the reference photo. I like abstracting anything that goes in the background of my portraits to make sure it doesn’t distract too much from the subject.

Black French bulldog painting in oil

3. Fun Frenchie Details

Lastly, and only after the lights and darks look right from far away, its time to add details.

For this big happy face, that meant a lot of little shaggy fur strokes and a few bright rogue whiskers. With short-haired dogs (and particularly, wrinkly short-haired dogs), I find a little bit of texture goes a long way. Most of the shape has already been described in the blocking-in process, and it’s important to not lose that roundness by accident when adding texture.

More happy dog art in this post >

Frenchie dog painting art

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Thanks for reading,


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Zann Hemphill

Zann Hemphill is a practising pet portrait artist, writer, and video producer.

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