How to create a Lion inspired vector logo design in Illustrator

Join me on this small endeavor, which is to create a memorable and brand-able, lion inspired, fully vectorized logo using Illustrator. We’ll even see how to customize an already amazing font to make it fully coherent with our logo design.


I was messing around in Illustrator and on a piece of paper trying to come up with a nice looking lion illustration. Caught up in the moment I decided to come up with a tutorial to share with you guys and ended up with a simple logo.

The image below is what we’ll be recreating :

Vector Lion Final

The Tut!

Now that we’ve seen what we’ll be recreating it’s time to open Illustrator and jump right into it. Note that, as most of my projects, I started on piece of paper but after I got in Illustrator my vision changed drastically and I twiddled with the design so much that by the end, the final result didn’t even resemble the prior drafts anymore. This is the reason why we’ll be focusing on Illustrator alone.

Step 1

Vector Lion Step 1

Let’s open up Illustrator and create a new document, The dimensions you choose aren’t really important. Grab the Ellipse Tool by pressing the [L] key and draw an oval sensibly in the same proportions as the one above

Step 2

Vector Lion Step 2

Now we’ll use a technique I learned from a few of Chris Spooner’s tuts definitely worth checking out. Draw a circle elsewhere on the artboard and drag out the right most point with the Direct Selection tool. Add this to the Brush palette as a new brush and select the Art Brush option. Make sure the direction of the brush is correct.

Step 3

Vector Lion Step 3

Press [B] to select the Brush tool to draw in thick strands of fur around the lion’s head. Don’t worry about the inner areas of the shapes, just pay attention to the new outline you are creating.

Step 4

Vector Lion Step 4

Once brush strokes have been added, select them all and go to Object->Expand Appearance to convert them into solid shapes. Select them all again along with the underlying oval and using the Pathfinder Tool press on Unite.

Step 5

Vector Lion Step 5

This is probably the hardest part of the tutorial as this step will define the basis of the Lion’s face. You’ll probably encounter a lot of trial and error and I recommend using a rough draft to create the exact shape you’re looking for. The technique is to create half of the lion’s face and use symmetry to complete it. Grab the Pen Tool and start drawing then give it a color using the following hexadecimal value #F5F5DC.

Step 6

Vector Lion Step 6

Once you’ve got the right shape select it and copy and paste it using the [Ctrl + C] and [Ctrl + F] combo. Select the object and reflect it by right clicking on it and choosing Transform->Reflect. On the dialog box that will come up, select Vertical and press OK. Now all that’s left is to align it with the other object and unite the two objects by selecting them and, using the pathfinder tool, clicking on Unite.

Step 7

Vector Lion Step 7

Grab the Pen Tool and start drawing the outline of one of the eyes and give it a color of #DCDEBF.

Step 8

Vector Lion Step 8

With the Ellipse Tool draw a perfect circle by holding the [Shift] key. Place it as it’s displayed in the picture above.

Step 9

Vector Lion Step 9

select both the outline and the circle objects and copy and paste them using the [Ctrl + C] and [Ctrl + F] combo. Select the objects and reflect them by right clicking on both shapes still highlighted and choosing Transform->Reflect. On the dialog box that will come up, select Vertical and press OK. Now all that’s left is to align them with the other. You can use the align tool by grouping both eyes and centering them on the artboard to keep everything fully symmetrical.

Step 10

Vector Lion Step 10

Use a series of circular shapes to illustrate the lion’s whiskers. Give the shapes the same color as the lion’s mane.

Step 11

Vector Lion Step 11

Using the Pen Tool draw half of the shape we’ll be using to illustrate the bottom of the lion’s mouth. Now, using the same technique we’ve been using this whole time, copy and paste a copy of the shape, reflect it, align it with the initial shape and unite them. Give the shape the same color we used on the face.

Step 12

Vector Lion Step 12

To break that symmetrical look we’ve been striving for this whole time, using the Direct Selection Tool, mess around a bit with the anchor points on the right part of the shape.

Step 13

vector Lion step 13

Again with the pen tool draw a rounded trapezoidal shape and two strands of fur right on top. Select both shapes and using the Pathfinder Tool click on Minus Front.

Step 14

Vector Lion Step 14

Make a copy of the shape, reflect it and and position it to the right side of the lion’s face.

Step 15

Vector Lion Step 15

We’re done with the mark and are ready to work on an adequate type for our logo. We’ll be using the “Banana Brick Open Font” by Artmaker. Once you’ve downloaded it and installed it on your computer, go ahead and type ROAR in all capital letters.

Step 16

Vector Lion Step 16

Once that’s over with, select the type object and expand it using the ever so handy [Ctrl + Shift + O] keyboard shortcut.

Step 17

Vector Lion Step 17

To fill the little cracks that make this font so unique but not quite fitting in this case we’ll be using some rectangular shapes that we’ll align along with the inner sides of the letters and unite them with the Pathfinder Tool.

Step 18

Vector Lion Step 18

You may need to use the Direct Selection Tool to rectify any leftover and undesired anchor points. Don’t forget to complete the shapes’ outlines by using the Pen Tool to close off any open paths.

Step 19

Vector Lion Step 19

The last cracks on the two “R’s” should be erased using the Direct Selection Tool to move up the anchor point and intersect the path above. Delete the extra anchor point to the right and close off the object with the Pen Tool.

Step 20

Vector Lion Step 20

Now that we’ve cleaned up our font, using the Direct Selection Tool, select all the top anchor points and click on the “Convert selected anchor points to smooth” on the top toolbar.

Step 21

Vector Lion Step 21

Select the bottom most anchor points and increase the letter’s legs size by a couple of pixels to make the letters more discernible. You’ll have to include the bottom inner anchor points of the letter O as well to keep everything uniformed. At this point you can increase the tracking, by manually nudging each letter using the arrow keys, in order to avoid having the letters touch each other.

Step 22

Vector Lion Step 22

Finally using the Rectangle Tool, draw a perfect square by holding the [Shift] key while dragging out. Align it with the bottom of the letters and and round the top portion to give it the same appearance as the letters.

Here is the final result

Vector Lion Final

For those of you interested I’ve included the Illustrator source file to use to your heart’s content, including three color combinations possible, however make sure you follow the “Terms and conditions” in order for all files distributed on this site.

Download the .EPS file

Well I hope you had fun reproducing this logo and that you learned a thing or two. By the way don’t forget to share this post if you truly enjoyed it.

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