How to Draw a Lion

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The African lion (Panthera leo) is known for being a majestic animal, often called King of the Jungle. Lions are very large in size, reaching lengths of nearly ten feet and weighing as much as 420 pounds. Cartoon movies such as Kimba, the White Lion (1966) and Disney’s The Lion King (1994) have made drawings of maned lions quite popular.

Would you like to draw your very own cartoon lion? Now you can, by following this simple, step-by-step drawing tutorial.

Scroll down for a downloadable PDF of this tutorial.

All you will need is a piece of paper and something with which to draw, such as a pen, pencil or marker. You may want to use an eraser along with your pencil to correct any mistakes. If you wish to color your finished drawing using crayons, colored pencils, or markers, feel free to do so.

In each step of this drawing guide, new lines made in that step are highlighted in blue. Lines drawn in previous steps are shown in black. You will be erasing some of your early lines, called guide lines, as you go along.

If you liked this tutorial, see also the following drawing guides: Tiger Face, Wolf, and Cartoon Tiger.

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Step-by-Step Instructions for Drawing a Lion

How to Draw Lion: Step 1

Begin by drawing a small circle.

How to Draw Lion: Step 2

Extend a slightly curved, rectangular shape from the circle.

How to Draw Lion: Step 3

Use a series of curved lines to outline the detail of the lion’s snout, nose, and mouth within the rectangle.

How to Draw Lion: Step 4

Erase the guide lines formed by the rectangle.

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How to Draw Lion: Step 5

Draw two small, curved lines within the circle to form the ear. Each of the lines will form a nearly enclosed, irregular shape.

How to Draw Lion: Step 6

Draw a series of curved lines below the ear, meeting in jagged points. This will begin to form the lion’s mane. Beneath the jagged mane, draw a curving, loosely “S” shaped line.

How to Draw Lion: Step 7

Draw the mane extending above the ear using curved lines of various lengths that connect in jagged points.

How to Draw Lion: Step 8

Enclose the shape of the mane by extending a series of curved lines from the top portion of the mane to the bottom portion. Allow the lines to overlap and meet in jagged points.

How to Draw Lion: Step 9

Erase the guide lines formed by the original circle.

How to Draw Lion: Step 10

Draw a circle overlapping the mane. Draw a second circle to the right of the first circle.

How to Draw Lion: Step 11

Connect the top of the circles using a single curved line. Connect the bottom of the circles using a series of curved lines that meet in jagged points.

How to Draw Lion: Step 12

Erase the guide lines formed by the circles.

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How to Draw Lion: Step 13

Draw a curved line extending from below the mane. Parallel to this line, draw a series of curved lines that meet in jagged points. Draw a third, similar line behind the second.

How to Draw Lion: Step 14

To draw the back legs, begin by extending an “S” shaped line from the stomach area. From the right of the figure, extend a series of curved lines in an “S” shape, and allow the lines to overlap and meet in jagged points. Extend two more roughly parallel, loosely “S” shaped lines diagonally from the rear of the figure.

How to Draw Lion: Step 15

Draw a foot at the end of each set of leg lines. To enclose the foot, draw one or two curved lines at the end of each set of lines. For the near feet, allow the curved lines to meet in two “U” shapes, forming toes.

How to Draw Lion: Step 16

Draw the tail using two long, “U” shaped curved lines.

How to Draw Lion: Step 17

Erase the guide lines from the legs.

How to Draw Lion: Step 18

Add detail to the face. Draw a “U” shaped line to form the eye, and shade the pupil. Draw a curved line above the eye and use another for the nose. Draw several dots above the mouth and extend nearly straight lines to form whiskers.

How to Draw Lion: Step 19

Use a series of curved lines, meeting in a sharp point, to draw the tuft of fur at the tip of the tail. Draw curved lines meeting in jagged points to add detail to the mane and shoulder.

How to Draw Lion: Step 20

Color your lion. Most lions are sandy or tan in color, but some are white or cream. Mane colors range from brown to blonde to red.

Printable PDF of the Drawing Guide

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