Time to create some lion drawings to honor the king of the jungle! This ferocious animal is fortunately not as dangerous when converted into a cute cartoon character. Using a few round shapes is all it takes to create a lovable version of this animal.
Of course since this tutorial is all about vector drawing, we also need to create stunning shadows and reflection using a few basic tricks that are quite easy to achieved. You can start with the basic video version below and then proceed with the written version of this tutorial.
Start this drawing lesson by sketching the cartoon character. As you ca see, the illustration is quite simple and not too much details are shown. Convert your illustration into a digital file and open your vector software.
It's now time to add a few outlines on the character. In the original illustration, the area around the eyes and the nose was soft and round. While adding the outlines, I felt that a more pointed line would be better.
Once all outlines are created, add a new layer and create basic shapes filled with plain colors. Of course, these shapes must be placed behind the lines created previously.
Every vector application comes with a gradient tool. Use this one to add a basic shadow on all parts of the lion. Only the eyes and the pupils must be left intact.
Create another layer and add dark shapes to illustrate stronger shadows. This new layer must be placed between the one with solid shapes and the one with the outlines.
These shadows are nice, but too dark to be effective. We need to use the transparency tool to partially hide the top part of each shape created in the previous step. The shadows are now softer and easier to read.
Shadows are nice, but adding reflection is the ultimate step to give more depth to our lion drawings. To do so, create another layer and place this one just below the first one (the outlines).
Duplicate the solid shapes created earlier and color these new elements in white. To make sure that the effect works properly, scale down these new shapes a little to give some room around the reflection.
Once again, you need the transparency tool to partially hide the bottom part of the white shapes. I usually use a 45 degrees angle when applying transparency.
Finally, you can alter the color of the outlines with a color closer to the one from the shape near each line. Good job! The result is a cute cartoon lion that almost looks 3D!
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