Tag Archives: lion eyes


Lion sketches

"Studies for Full Bellies", mixed media, copyright 2012 by Kerry McFall

It struck me as ironic today that I was sketching lions who live in Botswana, where high summer is about to take over, while watching snowflakes drift past my windows…  The above is a photoshop combination of two studies I did this afternoon of my favorite lion photo from our safari last month.

The two lionesses were young adults, and had clearly just gorged themselves, probably on an old bull buffalo that we had come across about an hour before… poor old guy.  Their bellies were “tight as ticks”, as my grandma used to say, and although they were clearly interested in something in the distance, they were too full to move.  Beautiful creatures, unscarred, oblivious to us in our “jeep”.  From what I could gather, if you stay sitting down in a wheeled vehicle, they don’t notice you – vehicles aren’t edible as a rule, and they simply don’t give a rip about any predators since they are at the top of the food chain.  If you stand up, though, anything on legs just might look like prey.  Yikes.  This could be crucial, given that the jeeps were essentially just like the Disney Indiana Jones ride vehicles, same non-existent shock absorbers, nothing resembling windows or doors, but sans seatbelts.  So we stayed sitting down.

I’d like to do a larger painting of these ladies at some point in the not too distant future.  But first I need to study lions a little more –  I was surprised to discover for instance as I did the eyes that lions do not have pupils like cats.  Lions’ pupils are just round like people pupils, not almond shaped like a housecat.  Who knew?  It doesn’t take much of an arch to an “eyebrow” or a slant to an eyelid to make them look absolutely evil.  But their big puffy ears are like teddy bear ears.  And their chins are fuzzy… and in this case, slightly blood-stained.  Eww.