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Gentle Lion

Updated: Aug 9, 2021

Africa has always had a special place in my heart. Even as a child, I knew one day I'd go there. I loved what I knew about African music, various cultures and clothing, village/tribal life, and African animals. So you can imagine how disappointed I was when I made my first trip to Nigeria on a mission trip and discovered no wild animals in Nigeria!

The second time I went to Jos, we visited the city's cultural center to find one lonely lion in a cage pacing. It's not exactly a safari, but he is so close you can almost touch him! (But few would risk it!) I wasn't very impressed with the old lion. He didn't seem like much of a king of any kind until the next morning when I could hear him roar from a few miles away at the compound where I was staying. Oh my goodness! A lion's roar resounds for miles like the ripple of waves that follows a stone thrown in a lake. No wonder he is called the king of the jungle--it's royal roar!

Since I never had the opportunity to see any wild beasts of Africa in their natural habitat, I thought I'd sketch what I dream of seeing in person one day. So I started a series of wild African animals with their young ones (see the others below--and yes, I know tigers don't live in Africa, but still...) and started with the lion. I love this sketch because it captures the power of this beast in the paws, his confidence in the eyes, and yet also his patient and nurturing side as he rests beside his little one, who looks ready to get into lion-cub mischief! Can you imagine the coarse hair in that mane and soft silky fur on his legs and spine?

This sketch is not for sale, but if you're interested in commissioning me to do a similar piece, either in pencil, brush marker, or acrylics, contact me here.

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