Izu the lion.

Well, I’m in the mood for big cats again today.  I was given permission to draw this handsome lion, Izu, by  the young and accomplished teen photographer Charles. His photography can be found here- http://www.flickr.com/photos/charlessf/

I spent the entirety of this morning  drawing this.  The foreshortening was quite challenging, but I think I pulled it off.

Izu’s mane was the most time consuming part of this drawing. I used a handful of cocktail sticks to score the paper and create his long and flowing hair,  carefully following the direction of the fur’s growth.


I wanted to suggest warmth in the prints, so I’ve tinted the drawing with a subtle golden hue.

The original graphite drawing.


  1. Love the way you express the size of these wakan igmus / big cats.

    1. Thank you! I always enjoy drawing big cats, they have an impact and presence that is really enjoyable to express through art.

  2. brilliant.
    Lion are actually not that easy.
    If i may present a challenge to you.
    It’d be great to see how you handle it.
    I’m actually going to see if i can get him to permit me to use this for a group challenge in a few weeks.
    So watch this space.
    I will also be doing it myself.
    he’s already permitted that

    1. Thank you!

      Very interesting, please keep me posted and let me know more about the challenge. Would several artists be drawing their own versions of this photograph?

  3. This is beautiful – fur is very difficult…I’ve always struggled with it when drawing animals!

    1. Thank you sarah. When drawing fur, I often use a negative drawing technique. I use an embossing tool such as an empty pen or a cocktail stick to create clumps of hair. When I blend my graphite over the indentations, it ‘skips’ over the dents creating the illusion of hair. You can add highlights to the fur with a kneaded eraser, or a regular eraser cut to a point with a crafting knife. It is vital that you always follow the direction of the fur’s growth.

  4. Dear drawer

    Can we have your permission to use your drawing from Charles’ photograph of the lion as our logo? Also, our company is going to be called ‘TriLion’ so I need the same lion in 3 ways – forward looking as above, looking to the left and looking to the right – can I have these?

    1. Hi Chloe. I’m afraid I was not given permission by the photographer to use the drawing in this way. Without permission I would be infringing on copyright law.

      However, I am proficient at logo design and would be able to do some work for you specifically. I would need a brief from you, and to understand what your company is about. I charge £80-£150 for a logo design, depending on whether the client wants multiple design options to choose from.

      I’m delighted that you like the drawing enough to want it as your company logo. I’m sorry that I can’t give you permission to use it.



  5. ivanaofori · · Reply

    Hi. I’m an IGCSE Art student, and I was wondering if I could have permission to draw this in my sketchbook. I looked for a way to contact the photographer but I couldn’t find one.

    1. Hi there,
      Thank you for your request. It’s fine for you to do that, providing you’re using it for your coursework. That’ll fall under Fair Educational Use, but it’s still polite to make note of the fact that the work is derivative, and is referencing someone else’s work :). I appreciate the enquiry, most people don’t take the time to ask.

      Educational Use- students
      are granted under copyright law, some additional rights to use copyrighted material, without getting
      permission from the copyright owners. The generic term Educational Fair Use refers to the rights
      instructors have to copy articles, display photos or artwork, films, etc., for classroom use without
      seeking permission from the copyright owner. Fair Use also permits use of copyrighted material in
      multimedia, web sites, online courses and other instructional products under certain conditions and
      limitations. Students also enjoy some similar rights when completing course assignments and
      assembling portfolios. These rights are limited to non-profit educational purposes. Those types of
      uses may not be continued outside the academic environment, except for portfolio purposes.

  6. Jaqueline Krehnke · · Reply


    How can I buy this print in High Size?


    1. Hi Jaqueline!

      I can certainly arrange that for you, what size were you thinking? I would be able to do you an A2 (594 x 420mm) on somerset enhanced velvet art paper for somewhere around £120… I’m willing to discuss other sizes and finishes, of course, (if that’s too big, too small or too pricey for you!). Thank you for your interest in my work, Jaqueline…I do custom pencil portraits too. What time would you need the artwork for? And may I ask what country it would need to be delivered to?

      Please contact me on my new email, owen.graphical@gmail.com. I love hearing from people on WordPress. How did you stumble on my old wordpress blog Jaqueline? I really MUST take up blogging again!



  7. Hi! I am the editor of my high schools yearbook and when looking for lions to put on the cover I found your drawing. We are interested in using your sketch for our cover, would we be able to use it?

    1. Hi! Of course you can. On the condition that you send me a photo of the yearbook afterwards 🙂

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