12×18 colored pencil done on “Artagain” paper. Original unavailable, in a private collection in Georgia. Photographic reference from L. Weitzman.

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For those of you who don’t know what this cat is, it’s a King Cheetah.. born in a preserve in Africa. I’m lucky enough to know the person who took the picture. She had the opportunity to not only photograph the cat, but to touch him too… the act of which has left an indelible mark on her soul.
At one point, there were three King cheetahs in zoos in the US, one each in Cincinnati, St. Louis and San Diego.

The king cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is a rare mutation of the cheetah characterized by a distinct fur pattern. It was first noted in what was then Southern Rhodesia (modern-day Zimbabwe) in 1926. In 1927, the naturalist Reginald Innes Pocock declared it a separate species, but reversed this decision in 1939 due to lack of evidence; but in 1928, a skin purchased by Walter Rothschild was found to be intermediate in pattern between the king cheetah and spotted cheetah and Abel Chapman considered it to be a color form of the spotted cheetah. Twenty-two such skins were found between 1926 and 1974. Since 1927, the king cheetah was reported five more times in the wild. Although strangely marked skins had come from Africa, a live king cheetah was not photographed until 1974 in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. Cryptozoologists Paul and Lena Bottriell photographed one during an expedition in 1975. They also managed to obtain stuffed specimens. It appeared larger than a spotted cheetah and its fur had a different texture. There was another wild sighting in 1986—the first in seven years. By 1987, thirty-eight specimens had been recorded, many from pelts.
Its species status was resolved in 1981 when king cheetahs were born at the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre in South Africa. In May 1981, two spotted sisters gave birth there and each litter contained one king cheetah. The sisters had both mated with a wild-caught male from the Transvaal area (where king cheetahs had been recorded). Further king cheetahs were later born at the Centre. It has been known to exist in Zimbabwe, Botswana and in the northern part of South Africa’s Transvaal province. A recessive gene must be inherited from both parents for this pattern to appear, which is one reason why it is so rare (info from Wikipedia).

  • Complete 10-14-2004 in 5.48 hours spread over 5 days


bbk01500, big cat, black, cheetah, nature, pencil, wildcat, wildlife

I love what I do and I do what I love.. been drawing for over 60 years now – I hope I’ve got it right.

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  • Coralie Plozza
    Coralie Plozzaalmost 7 years ago

    In the thumbnail picture I thought this was a photo …beautiful …well done

  • Tron
    Tronalmost 7 years ago

    Nicely done Barbara! excellent work!

  • debfuller
    debfulleralmost 7 years ago

    Awesome drawing.

  • MaKayla Songer
    MaKayla Songerover 6 years ago

    Ohhh! I love King Cheetahs! I’ve been meaning to draw one myself… I just hadn’t got around to doing it yet. May I ask what brand of colored pencils you were using? The colors are extremely vivid and vibrant to be on such dark paper. His eyes are so beautiful… Amazing, as always. :D

  • On this one I used Prismacolor and the paper is called “Artagain” but I keep forgetting the manufacturer. Good luck..

    – BarbBarcikKeith

  • Magaret Meintjes
    Magaret Meintjesabout 4 years ago

    Please feel free to go to above link for more info.

  • Ann Warrenton
    Ann Warrentonabout 4 years ago

    September 28,2010 Wonderful…

  • Betty Smith_Voce
    Betty Smith_Voceabout 4 years ago

    Wow – This is a truly magnificent creation of the King Cheetah! Superb.

  • paintingsheep
    paintingsheepalmost 4 years ago


  • RCTrotman
    RCTrotmanover 3 years ago

  • David Clarke
    David Clarkeover 3 years ago

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