Character design - staying realistic

Character design - staying realistic

A guide to what things are realistic when it comes to lions

in this artical we will be looking at what makes a lion character realistic , we will be covering colors markings and other oddities

Please note: i will be placeing image credits under images, due to the nature of some image coming from new articals some of the content in links may be destressing

color and patterns

we all know lions come in tawny color but this color can look diffrent on diffrent lions, this comes down to the shading of the golden fur and how much black appers in the coat
Lions will always be darker along the back and lighter on the belly, this is common in the animal kingdom and it known as counter shading.

Red Image Look
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as you can see some lions look more red then others , the second lion is alot darker then the other two, and it wouldn't be a strech to make this into the colors of scar (just adding a  touch of red)
And with these color diffrances we allso have the pale 'white' lions , these lions are not white but a pale cream , they can apper white to pale cream as seen here

(both images from wikipidia)

no matter the shading they have a slight tint of tawny in the coat.
Time to cover some markings!!
Lions don't have many 3 that i can think of, ear spots, stripes and spots

as you can see these two have ear spots, this marking is very common in lions but some apper to have only a small amount or not at all, in the lion king this marking seems to be given as an ear rim. it allso appers while this marking is common in real lions it is rarer in the lion king this also appers to be the same with other common lion markings, This includes stripes and spots

In TLK we only know of one lion with a stipe , zira, this marking seems to be on 50% of lions but can be only a small line on the forhead or a deep stripe down to the lions sholders and dosn't apper to ever run to far past the sholder

another marking we see in lions is juvenile spots ,lions are born with these spots and loose them with age but some lions do keep them into adulthood,i am at this time unsure if young adult with spots keep them all there lives or if they loose them as they age , but if i should find this out i will update this, this sample image is of a 3 year old lioness, and a year later she still has these spots, her litter sister hasnt got these spots
Update: Can confirm a 19 year old lion has been seen with very pale spots on the leg and some on her belly
(photo taken by me)


An interesting thing about lions is the fact that females can have manes and males can not ,i grew up visting a zoo with a maneless male so i have a soft spot for them.
In the wild it is unknown what causes maneless males but there are theroys behind why including heat and thorns in plants making it harder to hunt and so on, in captivity a manless male is caused by desexing but could also be caused by illness but its more common to be the frist

Female maned lions are also a thing,these girls will often have a short vr of a males mane but keep the female face , they also apper to act like males,it is belived it is not genetic as maned females are infertile, while most will get this mane as they grow into adult hood it has been documented in a zoo of a 18 year old lioness growing a beard like mane, this was do to illness , due to her age it is unknown (atleast from what i could fine) if she is now infertile but i would assume as other maned lionesses are she would be.

Manes in females have also been spotted in white lion born in captivity.


I hope you enjoyed this article ,i  wasnt sure about the title so i hope it works out. do let me know your thoughts as id love to know 

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August 22, 2020
Usa Is not currently on the site
Super informative article! Now I want to give myself a challenge of making a totally realistic themed lion design. I love the detail and research in this :)

February 14, 2020
Bangladesh Female Is not currently on the site
Thank you for posting this, it helped a lot! I was going to make a maned lioness character and I didn't know they were infertile. This was a lot of help!

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