How To Draw Cartoon Lion

Drawing a cartoon lion or realistic lion may be a challenge for many of us. But it can be done easily following this tutorial.
I tried to make this task easier and create a tutorial that you can easily follow.

Almost all cartoon characters are created by combination of circles, ellipses, noodles or pear shapes.

I applied the same technique here.

As you see this lion is sitting. So the drawing sequence corresponds to its body position.

I recommend drawing the very first steps in this tutorial the same as you see here because these ellipses and circles will determine the lion’s size and posture.

click the image to enlarge


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Draw two ellipses as you see on the picture. The upper one is the lion’s head and the lower is lion’s chest. Draw them in the same position as here. Notice that the chest ellipse is positioned a little on the left. On the upper ellipse draw two perspective guidelines. The small circle below is the lion’s rump. When you observe real lions you’ll understand that lions have huge chest but small rump.

Enlarge the picture and you’ll notice that the pencil lines are rather rough. That is OK for now. You can make it the same or similar; we shall erase all unnecessary pencil lines later.

click the image to enlarge


Join the chest ellipse and the rump circle by slightly curved lines as you see on this picture. Draw a straight line – as if piercing into the crossing point of perspective guidelines on the head.

This is the axis and it will help you to correctly position the lion’s nose. The point where horizontal and vertical axis lines cross is the lion’s nose as you will see on the next picture.

click the image to enlarge

Draw the nose of and the muzzle (mouth) part of cartoon lion as you see on the picture. You can also join the neck and head circle by a curved line. Later, the lion’s mane will cover the neck line so it will not be visible.

click the image to enlarge

Draw all four legs in sitting position as you see on the picture. This should be very easy. Just approximate lines will be OK now, so don’t need to make it look very precise yet.

click the image to enlarge

Draw the ears. Add the chin – lion’s beard and outline the lion’s mane. Notice it the mane has a heart-like shape. The lower part of mane ends approximately in the middle of lion’s chest. Outline the contours of the tail.

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Let’s work out some parts on the head and the face. You can now begin to erase some of the unnecessary pencil guidelines. Draw the eye circles; notice that these are continuous lines coming from the lion’s nose.

You can gradually erase all the rest of initial pencil guidelines, so that your drawing should look something like this.

click the image to enlarge

It is good if you have a softer pencil handy, like B4 or B6 to outline the dark contours of the entire body. Do it now, as you see on this picture. Draw the eyes, darken the nose and outline the fingers on lion’s paws.

If the standard eraser is too clumsy then I recommend using pencil-type-eraser so that you can erase narrow places too.

click the image to enlarge


Color all the body as you see on this picture. You can do it using only graphite pencil or you can make it using colored pencils too. When you finished coloring the entire body don’t forget to draw the claws.

Click here to check out how to draw other cartoon characters.

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