veterinary painting of a slightly obese beagle undergoing a rib test
veterinary pencil sketch of a beagle undergoing a rib test


veterinary digital painting of a beagle undergoing a rib test with colors blocked in

palette and image prep

veterinary digital painting of a beagle undergoing a rib test – first pass in oils

'oils' in Painter

close up of veterinary final painting of beagle rib test


Rib Test
for early canine obesity


  • Client:


    New York, NY
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 ... a happy, healthy dog is the message...

Important subtleties

I love dogs. I am a dog person. When LLNS approached me about creating an image of a beagle undergoing a rib test (a quick test to see if a dog is beginning to put on weight) I was delighted to accept the project. My delight grew even greater when they mentioned they were after a realistically painted look – I enjoy painting, whether traditional or digital.  They sent me the following mockup, and I knew right away some adjustments were needed.

client image of a sad, heavy beagle-like dog undergoing a rib test

This is not a happy dog... nor a proper beagle

As a dog person, I knew this dog was not happy. And a happy, healthy dog is the message, so the head was raised and the body turned a bit to greet the viewer. Proportions and color were adjusted and idealized. A happy, healthy, perfect dog was drawn. A perfect dog that was just beginning to put on weight.

veterinary animated GIF showing correction of a rib test sketch

The hands needed to change – thumbs aligned on either side of the spine, fingers falling between the ribs

Important accuracy

The final sketch change was to move the position of the hands – a subtle but important adjustment. "Go to final" was given and the painting began. I used Corel Painter for the base colors because it's smeariness is still the best paint emulation. I finished with Photoshop because its brush controls are less complex and I didn't need the smeariness to render the bristles of hair.

My wife is my best critic – she says it looks like someone doing a handstand on a beagle. Yep... she keeps me humble.

Exceptional Talent

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