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40 Inspiring Animal Vector Art Illustrations

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In today's article, I'm going to show you 40 pieces of inspiring vector art animal illustrations. See how a variety of artists render things from fur to feathers, scales to horns, and more. I'll also share with you links to tutorials here on Vectortuts+ so you can gain insight into how animal illustrations and effects can be created.


In 2012, it's a personal goal to illustrate more animals... not a hard task to ask of myself since I absolutely adore animals! Part of the research into illustrating animals, I decided to look at how other vector artists rendered creatures in their own style, as well as looking at how they have incorporated their critters into their compositions, and how they give them a unique character. So let's get into it!

Domestic Animals

Domestic animals are those which have previously been wild but are now tamed and living alongside humans. These can be anything from your cute cat to the farmyard animal.

As we live side-by-side with these animals, as artists we're much more likely to be able to attach emotions and character to our companions. As a pet owner of two cats and a dog, I can definitely say no two domestic animals share the same personality, and this is true with the range of characters displayed here.

Domestic Animal Tutorials

Creating a Detailed Furry Dog Portrait with Art Brushes

Create an Adorable Puppy with Negative Space and the Paintbrush Tool

Creating a Personalized Pet Portrait in Illustrator CS5

How to Create a Cute Bunny Vector Character

Flight Animals

Animals of flight include not only our feathered friends, but also insects such as butterflies. Looking specifically at how the wings are created. Are the feathers constructed individually or are we given an impression of the overall wing?

Flight Animal Tutorials

How to Make an Attractive Vector Butterfly

Create a Feather Brush and Set of Detailed Wings in Illustrator

How to Create a Curious Owl in Illustrator CS4

Create Textured European Goldfinch Characters

Wild Animals

Wild animals are the untamable, roaming beasts and beauties beyond our doorstep. Whether you think of the dominant, dignified African lion or maybe that cheeky squirrel, which seems to play havoc with your washing line, the majority are of the furry kind.

Wild Animal Tutorials

Create a Kung Fu Panda Diptych in Adobe Illustrator CS5

Creating a Maneater Vector Girl through Collaboration

How to Create a Stylized Vector Grasshopper

Water Animals

Water animals aren't just restricted to fish, but also creatures such as turtles, dolphins, whales and sharks! Again we look at whether to render the scales of fish individually or would you just give the impression of scales by adding a highlight here and there?

Water Animal Tutorials

How to Create a Stylized Underwater Scene

How to Create a Vector Goldfish in Six Steps

Create an Artistic Vector Fish with Layered Effects

Create a Traditional Japanese Koi Carp Illustration

Mythical Animals

Finally, for the mythical beasts that are portrayed in stories we're told as children, lessons we're taught in history and movies we watch as adults. As there isn't an abundance of stock images out there for your standard dragon or unicorn, the way they are rendered and illustrated are completely left to the imagination of the artist.

Mythical Animal Tutorials

Create a Friendly Dragon with Gradients in Illustrator

Creating a Mysterious Cheshire Cat in Adobe Illustrator


I hope today's article has inspired you to look more into each one of these artists further to compare how their body of work is to their animal illustrations and to maybe try out some animal illustration yourself.

If you'd like more creature inspiration, why not check out previous articles here on Vectortuts+ on animals, such as: 70 Cute and Cheeky Vector Animal Characters and 50 Vector Illustrations, Furry Critters and Fuzzy Creatures.

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