Leonard Filgate Text

Leonard Filgate



"I have been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember. It has always been a part of who I am. In the early days I was inspired by the work of comic book artist, Hal Foster who created Prince Valiant. As a child, my frequent visits to the museums of San Francisco introduced me to the works of Rembrandt, other Old World masters, and the art of China and the Far East, all of which inspired me. Later, my inspiration came from Maxfield Parish, N.C. Wyeth, and Howard Pyle. 

Dragons and other mythical, magical, and imaginary creatures with serpentine or reptilian traits have long held a special interest for me. Blending the cultural traditions of dragons from Europe and the Middle and Far East with our contemporary world, provides me with endless ideas to create unique and gentler dragons for this New World. 

I started the Dragon Series of original paintings in 2012, inspired by my love of fantasy, music, and all things whimsical. My dragons are not your typical comic book/science-fiction dragons—they are fun and playful and have anthropomorphic qualities that I hope make people take a second look and put a smile on their faces. The musician dragons I depict are influenced by the music I listen to while working, and by the many musician friends I know and have known."

- Leonard Filgate


Leonard Filgate was born and raised in San Francisco, California. He is a self-taught artist and illustrator. With the exception of a five-year stint in the U.S. Merchant Marine, he has always worked as an artist and illustrator. He has explored a wide variety of artistic genres and media during his long career, including maritime paintings for the U.S. Navy and private individuals, landscapes and cityscapes, portraits, murals, unusual still-life paintings, whimsical/fantasy paintings, reproductions of Japanese screens, props for a Warner Bros. Television pilot, and storyboards and backdrops for commercial video and television studios, and starting in 1997, illustrated children’s picture books.

While best known for the artwork and books he created based on the RIP SQUEAK® characters he and his wife, Susan Yost-Filgate developed for a successful series of children's books and images, he continues to explore other subject matter, including the dragons.

Filgate’s work has been collected around the globe and he has exhibited in many venues across the US and Canada, the highlight being a major solo exhibition at the Delaware Art Museum in 2005/2006. In 2003, he was the featured illustrator for the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and the Edward James Olmos Family Festival. His work has been included in the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance's Every Picture Tells a Story exhibition, which has traveled to the Bremen Museum in Atlanta, the Spertus Museum in Chicago, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, and others. His work has also been shown in over 60 galleries across the US and Canada and was recently included in the Imaginary Worlds exhibition at the Fresno Art Museum in Fresno, California which ran from September 2015 through August 2016. Filgate was inducted as an artist member of the New York Society of Illustrators in 2006. 

He continues to create whimsical dragon paintings and illustrations for new children’s books through several publishing ventures, FilgateArt Press and Cotton Candy Books.