Spirit of the North Wind Picture

Yes, it's Suicune! Everyone's favorite Qilin/Wolf/Cheetah/whatever the hell you think it is.

I've seen arguments for all of those. To be fair, Suicune as a Qilin DOES balance out the Phoenix and Dragon motif of the Johto legendaries, as it seems to be of a bit more importance than the other two Beasts (as of Crystal, anyway). Dunno why, but whatever.

I could be a total nerd about it and quote Bulbapedia:

"Suicune is based on the Chinese and Japanese Qilin, a form of unicorn that has traits of deer, giraffes, and other beasts. It is able to walk on water and is known to be a powerful and peaceful creature. The horn on Suicune's head matches the description of the beast's antler's and the long dragon-like muzzle. It also appears that Suicune, unlike its kin, is a herbivore due to its molar teeth, face and eye orientation.......unlike Entei or Raikou, its teeth are blunt, as if those of an herbivore"

So, naturally, I had to paint a more "realistic" interpretation of Suicune, based on existing real or mythological creatures. So this is Qilin Suicune. I've seen plenty of wolf-Suicunes (some of which are quite amazing), a few cat versions (which does fit better with Raikou and Entei, which don't look the slightest bit like dogs). I've seen some mix and match critters, but not one rendition of Suicune as a straight up Qilin.

For those not in the know, a Qilin is (as mentioned above) something like an Asian unicorn. Main differences are the fact that a Qilin usually is depicted with fish or dragon scales, a dragon-like face, and sometimes claws rather than hooves. They have a single antler, rather than a spiral horn.

So there you have it. My hand hurts; this was painted start to finish in a single, non-stop 8-hour session.

Suicune is one of my favorite pokemon, to be sure. Back in the day, when Gold and Silver first came out, I was a bit skeptical about the way a lot of the newer pokemon looked... until I saw Suicune. It's a good defensive tank, it makes a fantastic HM slave if you DON'T want to have a legendary as part of your fighting team, and it's quite gorgeous.

Frankly, it's also easier to reconcile its defensive prowess with the scaly hide of a Qilin, rather than a creature like a wolf or cat. Just a minor detail, though. As in, I would BELIEVE this creature is quite sturdy, knowing that, despite its graceful appearance. I could get REALLY nerdy and remind you that scaly hide gives a natural armor bonus in D&D. And the pokemon artwork can be pretty ambiguous when it comes to the composition of some pokemon coats. Unless it's got Pangolin scales like Sandslash, or big oversized ones like Magikarp, most pokemon that logically WOULD have scales are not depicted with them, and Suicune's body is smooth enough (compared to, say, Entei) that you cannot prove one way or another whether it has furry hide, smooth hide, or scaly hide. ;D Its skin is drawn as featurelessly as a fuzzy Pikachu OR a sleek Dragonair.

Anyway, Pokemon is (c) Nintendo, as we all know.

If you'd rather look at a Suicune I've made in the official art style, go here: