Lion King animator's wonderful illustrated tribute to Cecil the Lion

Disney's Aaron Blaise has drawn on the spirit of Mufasa to create a stunningly emotive scene.

Blaise's illustration echoes the epic return of Mufasa in The Lion King

One of this week's big global news stories has been the illegal killing of a lion called Cecil in Zimbabwe, by a dentist from Minnesota. Now one of the animators on the Lion King, Aaron Blaise, has created this stunning illustrated tribute to Cecil.

It's accompanied by a quote from the 1994 movie's climatic scene, in which the ghost of dead king Mufasa, voiced by James Earl Jones, returns to speak to his son Simba.

Since posting the image, Blaise has been inundated with requests for prints, which he's now selling on this website. There are two versions, one with and one without text, and all profits will go to animal research organisation WildCRU.

Blaise, who has worked on numerous Disney animations over the years, including Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas and Brother Bear, has also shared this time-lapse video, providing a fascinating insight into his technique:

Liked this? Read these!


Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in design and technology. He was previously associate editor at Creative Bloq and deputy editor at net magazine, the world’s best-selling magazine for web designers. Over two decades in journalism he’s worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella. Follow him on Twitter @tom_may.