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Sometimes I work in ink and wash. This is a griffin I  drew from a Schleich collector toy that I set on a stack of  books across the table from me.  I wanted to see if I could capture the leg and wing on the left side coming toward me and make this creature look believable. I used india ink and a dip pen for the line work and a brush for the washes and thick texture around forelegs, neck and head.

I don’t know if it is something in the air in Indiana, today, or just coincidence, but Ryan has just posted a phenomenal and complete ink and wash of a woodland scene and has written a great story to go with it. Take time to check it out. It is worth the trip.


  1. This is terrific! Being a commercial graphic artist, I love the lines and angles. Captured nicely!

    • Thank-you, Ryan! I really studied the foreshortening on this one. I am linking to your post because it is such a beautiful example of ink and wash. Funny how we each posted in black and white today? Must be something in the air in Indiana.LOL

  2. I do love mythological creatures. Griffins are one of my favorites. I think it turned out nicely.

    • Well, since I read that Tolkien is your favorite author and know you also admire his artwork, I consider this high praise and you have brought me sunshine today. Thank-you Yousei!

  3. I LOVE it Leslie! this is very well done indeed! love pen and ink. I like Indian ink and have incoporated it in some mixed media painting. Indian ink has shellac in it and you can throw salt at it and form gorgeous crystals. I am reminded of the Griffin in Tenniels Alice illustrations. I wonder why of all the mythical creatures, the dragon seems more popular as far as tattoos are concerned?

  4. Wooooow.
    I like it a lot.
    You’ve represented the griffin excellent.Now i remember of a roumanian artist who is dead now,but his drawings are magnificent.I will make a new post with a few of his drawings 🙂
    Thank you for sharing it, Leslie!

    Enjoy your day,my friend! 😉

    • Thank-you, Alina. I am glad I reminded you of someone long forgotten. I will look forward to seeing his work. 🙂

  5. Great info about the mythical creatures, and I can now see why the Dragon is so popular with its wrap around neck! Loads of information to be had on your site Leslie! This has inspired me to do a post about tattoos now!

  6. well, i know my griffins and this is great.
    Especially the work in the wings

    • Thanks, Kokot. Those Schleich figures are so realistic that it makes it fun to use them for models.

  7. Wow, this turned out great! Thanks Leslie!

  8. Definitely believable, and amazing. I love mythology and this rocks. I swear! You could illustrate books. Magic. Thank You and Cheers and Namaste. 🙂

    • You are so very kind, Bliss. I think I really don’t have all the techno skills for that, but I have illustrated for a book that my sister wrote. I think I announced that while you were on break but here’s the post:
      My photoshop skills aren’t as honed as a freelance illustrator might need. For the simple illustrations I did for my sister, I was able to follow the publisher’s directions so that worked out.

  9. I admire this greatly; it shows true skill without computer manipulation, which is not as common as it used to be before Photoshop. There’s something to be said about the visceral beauty you’ve captured in this piece. Great job, again, and thanks for sharing!

    PS: You SHOULD illustrate books!

    • Thank-you, Vanessa. No manipulation. I do set levels so the image looks like my artwork.

  10. Beautiful ink drawing Leslie. It could easily make a tattoo. For me the gryphon is the symbol of divine power, hence its established place in heraldry. I think of nobility, and superior might when I think of the gryphon. We see it on lots of heraldic crests.

    • Thank-you, Heather. Yes, Wikipedia referred to it as the guardian of the divine so I can see how you interpret it as devine power.

  11. This is wonderful, Leslie! You really accomplished great things, painting from life here. It’s really good!

    By the way, I really enjoyed Ryan’s post, too. Thanks for the heads up.

    • Thank-you, Beth. I do think when an artist works from life, he sees different. Sometimes my foreshortening is exagerrated and I am better about not saying too much. When it works, it’s such a “rush”!

  12. He is very VERY cute! For griffin, that is :D! Aren’t they supposed to be scary?

    I love ink washes drawings, but haven’t yet tried them. I think it is a very brave thing to do. Yours is executed beautifully.

    Ink must be in the air not only in Indiana. Here in Chicago I have combined ink with watercolor yesterday for the first time.

    • Thank-you, Alex. I suppose they could be scarey or O’kay depending on what my business is with him, LOL! I should spend more time working in ink. I really do enjoy it.

  13. I grew up reading every piece of mythology I could get my little hands on, so I am excited to see your tribute to the griffin! It’s a great drawing with nice line work, and I love how you positioned it so it looks as though it is breaking free of its boundaries.

    • Thanks, Bree! When I do single objects like this, I often set it off with a right angle like this or position it walking into a frame. I remember being really into the stance that his hindlegs assumed as well as he seems to have just been startled.

  14. This is neat Leslie – getting the parts to come out takes skill and you have got it right.

    • Thank-you, Stephen. The hardest part of this was getting the wing that comes out toward the viewer to read right.

  15. Howdy! I came here from Alex’s blog while on the prowl for more art blogs.

    His pose strikes me as very “catlike”, like when you sneak up behind a cat and clap your hands, hehe.
    I love ink & wash drawings like this.

    • Hi Sam. Thank-you for the comment. I can’t take credit for the pose, only the perspective I chose to draw it from. I like ink and wash, also, and don’ttake enough time to do more of them.

  16. I like griffins and I like this one very much. The wing is superb. Between you and Ryan I want to run out and get some ink and a brush and do a black and white sketch. You are very inspiring!

    • Thanks, Carol. Ink, done like this, is great paractice for seeing value and still get some of the feel of watercolor.
      It would help me to do more of them.

  17. Wonderful sketch Leslie! So the wash is watercolor or ink?

  18. While the guardian of the divine appeals to me greatly, and your rendition is itself divine, I am a fan of dragons, I must admit. Perhaps because of the Chinese Astrological sign, and the dragon I was married to.

    • 🙂 There is a cartoon my Grand daughter and I watch when we are together on a Saturday called “Jane and the Dragon”. If dragons were like the one in that cartoon, I like dragons better, also!

  19. This is amazing. I remember my frustrations working with ink in my college art class (charcoal was what I really excelled at) but I did manage to finish a project that didn’t turn out half bad. This, however, puts it to shame. You really do have a fantastic talent.

    • Hi Half-Pint. Thanks for the comment. Ink washes are a lot like watercolor. I like the challenge that drawing in ink requires. Uhm….I’m not so hot with charcoal. I really do believe there is something about our individuality in the media we end up being most comfortable with. Did you have to take art as a required subject for your degree? …or did you choose it as an elective?

        • Half Pint
        • Posted February 28, 2010 at 2:31 am
        • Permalink

        It was a mixture of both. Usually people would take art appreciation and a basic humanities class. I took humanities and an Intro to Drawing class. We started out with basic graphite, worked with ink and charcoal, and even dabbled in printing. During my senior year of high school I’d also been introduced to watercolor and acrylic paints. I took to acrylics, but watercolor was… Difficult would be about the nicest word I can think of right now. I’m fascinated with watercolor, but it’s not something I’ve ever been that great at.

      • I thought I wouldn’t like watercolor, either, but had an “anything goes” kind of teacher who wouldn’t let us get down on ourselves. I think he allowed me to make the mistakes that I needed to make to be able to use watercolor. LOL That is cool that you took drawing!

  20. Hi Leslie;

    I come quite often, don’t always comment, I just enjoy the art. Like a thief in the night. 🙂

    I was looking at the Griffin and the image of the tunnel below.

    Totally different concepts.

    I like the realism of the tunnel scene and the tranquility, the Griffin has a surreal appearance and yet sobering.

    Thanks for the enjoyment 🙂

    • Thank-you Ichabod. Enter anyway you want, “thief in the night” or proclaiming your arrival! Yes, that seems to be something I suffer from. I try so many different things……use reference material, draw or paint from life, paint a dog here, draw a person there. I suppose I should start thinking about pulling myself into control, here, NOT! :)Really like your new blog look!

  21. I like it. It’s fun, and a little different. It kind of makes me want to try ink wash.

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. By New Blog Banner « Shiteki Na Usagi on 02 Mar 2010 at 10:47 pm

    […] of the process that went into creation of each piece.  Some of my recent favorite ones are:  a griffin, a yellow tabby, and some adorable potato heads. Possibly related posts: (automatically […]

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