Thunderbird. Ink on drawing paper. 6.5" x 8.25"
Thunderbird. Ink on drawing paper. 6.5″ x 8.25″

The Thunderbird is an enormous avian cryptid resembling a vulture, sometimes depicted with reptilian or Pteranodon-like features. Reports of Thunderbird sightings and encounters extend back centuries. In the ancient world, giant mythological birds were referred to as Rocs. This cryptid’s name draws from American Indian legends of a large spirit bird (Lakota: Wakį́nyąn) associated with thunder, lightning, and the cardinal direction West.

My depiction of the Thunderbird was made with Pigma Micron pens on heavy drawing paper. In these cryptid illustrations, I try to emulate incredibly detailed engravings (think: Gustave Dore, Albrecht Dürer), emphasizing the distinctive characteristics of the monsters. The storm clouds were a challenging aspect of the composition, and getting the cross-hatching right in their swirling, billowy shapes was perplexing at times! I may need to do a few pen-and-ink cloud studies before my next attempt. This small project was a fun diversion from painting for a bit

Thunderbird (initial pen drawing)
Thunderbird (initial pen drawing)
Thunderbird (concept collage)
Thunderbird (concept collage)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s