Illustration of a red haired giant that is watching a red tabby cat grooming. Art by Kiri Østergaard Leonard, see more at

Personal Work: The Gentle Giant

``What a curious little creature!`` The Gentle Giant thought as he grew curiouser and curiouser himself.

You know that feeling when an image gets stuck in your mind and just won’t let go? In 2011 I did a sketch of a giant with a cat on his hand in my sketchbook. It was meant to be a concept for a coloring book, but I never took it further although often wanting to.

I recently came across the sketch again and pulled it into Photoshop, where I began experimenting with brushes I don’t usually use. I so often hear the advice that artists should experiment more, but I rarely follow it. I tend to get locked into my habits, this was such a nice change of pace though.

The illustration really grew on me, I found a couple of cool brushes with a very painterly and textural feel and I really got caught up in painting process, so here is my revised version of the gentle giant featuring my cat Mishu.

I’ve made a little step by step gif of the illustration process for your viewing pleasure. Just to give you an idea of how the illustration developed.

Also here’s a close up that you give you an idea of the great textural surface the brushes offered.

Texture Close up of an Illustration of a Gentle Giant with a Cat
Kiri Østergaard Leonard

Kiri Østergaard Leonard is an award winning illustrator and artist from Denmark, currently living in Austin, Texas. She enjoys working on projects within the fantasy and children's illustration genre.

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