Part 3 of the Animals technical series is “Lion”. Photo taken by me at Blackpool Zoo.

The rock he was sitting on commanded a lot of my energy and attention. It felt like an endless, randomised march around the paper with B pencils of varying bluntness. A very textured and busy surface. Note the flea towards the bottom right (not really).

Graphite drawing of lion close-up rock


Fur was once again taken up with lots of erasing and use of the embossing tool. Sorry if these close-ups are a bit dizzying to look at. Imagine spending hours feeling the same way in the process of making it! Like a flipping magic eye. After a little while you need to lie down.

Graphite drawing of lion close-up fur


A little rough with the ear definition. It’s encouraging to know how far I’ve come in the short amount of time that’s passed since this. I find these sections incredibly tough to figure out with graphite alone, though. If it were all as simple as “make a very dark section and erase hairs”, I wouldn’t need telling twice. An eraser will only do so much, and there sometimes just aren’t any shortcuts but to draw what you see, the best you can.

Graphite drawing of lion close-up ear


A much simpler fur render on the front leg. Short, uniform strokes with 2B-4B. Another little graphite resolution on my slight return to it: become acquainted with blending tools with a more understated effect than just tortillons and blending stumps. Brushes, cotton swabs, tissue. It’s all cookin’ on gas, just more patience required with some of those.

Graphite drawing of lion close-up leg


Another eyeful. My regret with pieces so small (a 12″x8″ image) is that I can’t go to town on the irides and reflections. It’s a whole world reflected in that eye!

The tree was a fast, enjoyable render. A blunt 6B with blending stumps for all the fading.

Graphite drawing of lion close-up eyes tree


Perhaps 60 hours in total.

I conducted a timed limited edition run for prints of this piece, so no more are available, but the original work is still for sale here. 10% of all my wildlife sales go to WWF International.

Graphite drawing of lion at Blackpool Zoo

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