A Bronze Lion Ready to Jump from my Sketchbook
How to draw a lion ready to jump.
One of my attempts to work on how to draw animals, I tried to capture the energy of this bronze with black ink.
This small Greek statuette is 10.3 cm (just over 4 in.) high and 14.2 m (just over 5½ in.) long. It dates from the 5th century bce and is made of bronze. That is all I know about it, except that it belongs to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
I am very inspired by how expressive it is. While you would hardly call it realistic, especially because of the way its head is shaped, there is an incredibly expressive quality about it. It feels as though the lion is ready to jump.
How could I draw this lion? I chose black ink, with my usual fountain pen, and added a few strokes of colour with pencil here and there.
For this drawing, I used:
a graphite pencil for the sketch
a regular fountain pen with black ink
white paper (my sketchbook)
red and green coloured pencils and a grey ink brush for details at the end.
Step 1 – Sketching THE lion with pencil
First things first: I sketched the lion with pencil. What I wanted to capture was the tension of the lion ready to jump. The head, which is unrealistic, looked almost like that of a snake or a dragon at a certain point, and I struggled a little. I drew the rest of the body and came back to it later. Never give up! The sketching took me less than 15 minutes.
In the short video above, this runs from 00:00 to 01:47. It actually took me 13 minutes.
Step 2 – Drawing the lion with ink
For the second step, I used my usual fountain pen to draw with ink.
As I have mentioned in other posts, you may notice that I sometimes use the fountain pen upside down: I have always done that, for as long as I can remember, since I was a child writing with a fountain pen at school. I turn my fountain pen when I want to draw tiny details (or write smaller). I think not all fountain pens allow that – I prefer fountain pens with a round tip.
I made a rookie mistake here: I am right-handed and I drew with ink from right to left, so I smudged a little ink at the beginning with my drawing hand. Lesson learned!
In the short video above, this runs from 01:47 to 02:37. It actually took me 2 minutes.
Step 3 – Adding volume and details
Last but not least, the last step was to add hatching (always with my fountain pen) to recreate the impression of volume and texture. This task took 20 minutes, the longest of the three steps.
Finally, I added a little shading under the statuette with a brush pen, and some red and green colouring with pencil to create the texture and colours of bronze.
In the short video above, this runs from 02:37 to 04:06. It actually took me 20 minutes.
And voilà! In about half an hour, you too can have another page for your sketchbook, and another lion to add to your collection of drawings.
I hope you have enjoyed this post. As always, I do not pretend to be a teacher, a seasoned artist or an expert in anything. I am just a very motivated learner who finds a deep joy in a regular art practice.
If you liked this post, you will almost certainly like some other projects based on sculptures. Enjoy!