This comprehensive tutorial will guide you through the process of drawing a lion’s full body from a side view. Each step is accompanied by detailed illustrations to help you grasp the techniques easily.
Before we begin, it’s important to note that this tutorial also covers the “no mane” version of the lion, which can be used to draw a lioness or a younger lion.
If you are using pencil and paper, remember to start with light lines that can be easily erased for the initial five steps.
Step 1 – Sketch the Basic Shapes of the Lion’s Head & Body
To begin, outline the basic shape of the lion’s body and head. This step focuses on establishing the overall proportions and does not include finer details. Visualize the body as a loosely shaped bean and the snout as a slight bucket shape. Draw a curve to define the cheek and another curve for the top of the head. Join the head and neck with two lines, and add horizontal lines to estimate the leg length.
Step 2 – Outline the Legs
Next, draw the simplified shapes of the front and back legs using straight lines with slight curves around the joints. Use larger curves to indicate the upper front areas of the paws.
Step 3 – Add the Tail & Ears
In this step, sketch the ears angled slightly towards the snout and going through the middle of the head’s top curve. For the tail, create a wave-like shape, thicker at the base and thinner towards the tip. Lions have a brush-like clump of hair at the end of their tails, so outline the general shape of that brush with two curved lines.
Step 4 – Refine the Organic Outline Shape of the Lion
Now, refine the construction lines by adding smaller bends and curves to define the lion’s body shape. Draw the second set of legs on the “far side” of the lion, slightly smaller than the legs facing the viewer to create perspective.
Step 5 – Draw the Facial Features & Toes
In this step, add the facial features and toes to bring the lion to life. You will typically see two or three toes on each foot in this side view. Outline each toe with a curved line.
To draw the lion’s eye, cover the top part of the iris and pupil with the top eyelid. Add a pair of lines that define the shape of the inner end of the eye, running slightly down the snout and joining some distance away from the eye. Draw the nose with a wider front that narrows into a curve. Indent the front mouth/lip area into the head and shape the mouth itself with a downward and then upward slope.
Step 6 – Add Details to the “No Mane” Line Drawing
In this step, draw hints of fur along the head/face and individual fur clumps on the end of the tail. Also, draw the claws on each toe, starting from the middle and curving downwards, with the base thicker and the tip thinner. Pay attention to the details of the face, such as the inside of the ears, the top of the eyes, and the bottom of the chin. Add hints of the bone and muscles along the back leg and draw the small toes at the back of the front legs. This completes the line drawing of the lion.
Step 7 – Draw the Mane & Additional Fur Clumps
The lion’s mane is characterized by a random shape. The hair around the top of the head tends to face slightly forward and then curves backward along the neck. The hair at the bottom of the mane either hangs down or points slightly backward.
The mane consists of various-sized fur clumps. Draw these clumps with different curves and twists while following the general direction of the hair as described earlier. Add hair along the belly area and small clumps of fur near the elbows and top of the toes facing backward.
Step 8 – Clean Up the Drawing
Erase any construction lines covered by the fur and go over your drawing with darker lines to define the final shape.
Step 9 – Add the Whiskers and Finalize the Lion Drawing
In this last step, add the lion’s whiskers. The whiskers grow from a set of dots in the upper part of the mouth area. Lions have several rows of these dots along their face, with the outer dots being smaller and the middle ones larger. Vary the thickness, length, and curvature of the whiskers to make them look natural.
Drawing a lion’s full body can be challenging, but with this step-by-step guide, you’ll be able to tackle it with confidence. If you’re interested in drawing a lion’s face from the front view, be sure to check out our tutorial on that topic.
For more similar tutorials, take a look at:
- How to Draw a Horse From the Side View Tutorial
- How to Draw a Rabbit Step by Step Tutorial
- How to Draw a Squirrel From the Side View Tutorial
- How to Draw a Frog Step by Step Tutorial
- How to Draw an Eagle Head Step by Step