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Lioness of Chobe

Posted by Matthew Bell on
Lioness of Chobe

My latest original drawing: ‘Lioness Portrait’ is of a beautiful lioness, photographed in Chobe, Botswana. Chobe also happens to be one of my favourite places in the world to visit, with its incredible array of landscapes, from wetland to open savanna and the abundance of game and birdlife that one can see there. Chobe is also home to the worlds largest population of elephants!

Back to the drawing, and I am admittedly picky about which photographs I use as references to draw from, and look through many hundreds before settling on one that I believe will make a great artwork. As soon as I saw this image, however, I got in touch with the photographer and asked her if I could use it for my next drawing. Fortunately she said yes, and I got to work!

The angle of the lionesses head, the clarity of the eye, the perfect proportions (not at all distorted by the camera) and the general ‘aesthetic sense’ of the photograph were what made me believe it would make a great drawing

The drawing took me around 28 hours to complete (over a 3 week period). Fur is very time consuming to draw as every bit of fur is one stroke of the pencil, and there are many individual bits of fur on the neck and head of a lioness! I always draw in ‘layers’ and start my drawings with a very light shade and slowly work darker from there. With this lioness I started with an almost skin colour tone and added in the yellows, greys and browns, working darker and darker as the drawing evolved

It was one of those drawings where it is difficult to know when it is finished, but after fiddling with it for a good few hours after I initially felt it was finished I finally put down the pencils and took it in to be framed. The original has gone to its new home in Hout Bay, Cape Town but I now have stunning prints of this stately lioness for sale on my website


Next up, a pair of elephants!


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