How to Draw Lion Face & Head Step by Step

This step by step tutorial shows how to draw a lion’s face and head going from a basic shape sketch to a finished line drawing.

Lion face drawing step by step
Lion face drawing step by step

As a lion’s face is fairly complex this is a very detailed tutorial with many steps. If you are going to be following along using pencil and paper please be sure to make light lines for the initial steps of the drawing so that you can easily erase them later.

Step 1 – Draw the Major Shapes of the Lion’s Face & Head

Lion face proportions drawing
Lion face proportions drawing

Start the drawing of the lion’s face by first breaking it down into more basic shapes.

For an explanation of why you should draw this way see:

Beginner Guide to Learning to Draw

Lion basic head shape step by step drawing
Lion basic head shape step by step drawing

Construct the lion’s head as in the example above:

  1. Draw a straight vertical line through the middle of your drawing area followed by an intersecting horizontal line towards the upper end of the first line
  2. Make a circle around the intersection to get the rough width and shape o the upper part of the head
  3. Draw two circles to indicate the basic shape and size of the ears
  4. Towards the bottom end of the large face circle draw two more circles (slightly overlapping the big one) to represent the end of the snout
  5. Draw a half circle below the two “snout” circles (slightly narrower in with) for the bottom jaw
  6. Project a set of lines from the large face circle towards the bottom jaw half circle to act as construction lines
  7. Draw two curves staring from slightly below the horizontal line towards the “snout end” curves to create construction lines for the snout
  8. Draw the outer shape of the mane as two sets of curves

Step 2 – Draw the Facial Features

Lion facial features drawing
Lion facial features drawing

Draw the basic shapes of the major facial features and erase some of the construction lines from the previous step so that your drawing does not get cluttered.

Add cheek bone shapes on the sides going from the area around the outer corners of the eyes and eventually curving inwards towards the nose.

Next add more details of the snout area starting from some small curves around the nose to the larger curves that first go inwards and then outwards around the eyes.

Lion eye shape drawing
Lion eye shape drawing

Draw he eyes directly above the horizontal line (with the inner corner going below the line) from step one with the shape as in the above example.

 

Lion nose shape drawing
Lion nose shape drawing

Draw the shape of the nose as the example above.

Step 3 – Refine Shape of the Face

Lion face shape lines
Lion face shape lines

Now refine the outer construction lines of the face from step one to a more precise shape of the lion’s head.

Lion face shape drawing
Lion face shape drawing

Step 4 – Draw the Smaller Details of the Face

Lion face detail drawing
Lion face detail drawing

Now work on the smaller details of the lion’s face.

Add the inner curves of the ears pretty much following the outer curves.

Draw the bottom part of the mouth with the outer corners sort of “hanging down”.

Lion eye details drawing
Lion eye details drawing

Add the pupil, reflection area and indicate the upper shaded area inside the eye. Also draw the curves of the upper and lower eyelids as in the above example.

Lion nose details drawing
Lion nose details drawing

Add a tiny “split” towards the bottom of the nose as in the above example.

Step 5 – Add Some Basic Fill/Shading

Lion facial features details drawing
Lion facial features details drawing

Fill in/shade the areas of the eyes nose and mouth as in the above example. You can also start going over some of your light sketch lines with a more solid stroke to finalize the drawing.

Step 6 – Draw the Inner Mane & Chin Fur

Lion inner mane and chin fur drawing
Lion inner mane and chin fur drawing

Draw the inner part of the mane fur as well the fur on the chin.

You can pretty much indicate each little fur clump with just one or two lines. Try and make each clump of slightly different shape, size and length to make the fur look natural.

Step 7 – Draw the Mane

Lion mane drawing
Lion mane drawing

Draw the rest of the lion’s mane. Generally the fur clumps will be smaller around the top area and larger around the bottom where the fur is longer.

Step 8 – Draw the Whiskers

Lion face drawing
Lion face drawing

Finally add some whiskers to finish the drawing.

Lion whiskers drawing
Lion whiskers drawing

Lions generally have a set of tiny black dots around the upper area of their mouth that the whiskers grow out of. Draw a few rows of these before drawing the whiskers.

Draw the whiskers thicker towards the base and thinner towards their outer tips. Also be sure to draw them of various length and curving in slightly different directions to make your drawing look more natural.

When the whiskers are done you should have a finished line drawing of the lion’s head.

Conclusion

A lion’s face and head can be very complex to draw but you can make it easier by first breaking it down into more basic shapes and then refining your drawing step by step down to the smaller details.

For another similar tutorial see:

Dog’s Head Front View Drawing – Step by Step