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Animal Illustration Inspiration: Character, Wild and Cute!

Read Time: 9 mins

If you're an animal lover and are looking for cute animal illustrations to include in your designs, then you'll love this article.

Cat Playing Inside a Packing BoxCat Playing Inside a Packing BoxCat Playing Inside a Packing Box

Today we're featuring a number of cute animal illustrations to encourage you to create beautiful animal-inspired projects.

Animal Illustrations From Envato Elements

Envato Elements hosts thousands of animal illustration inspiration and other great resources for artists and designers. Here are some of the best. 

Cute Animal Illustrations on the Ice (EPS, JPG)

Cute Animals Illustrations on the IceCute Animals Illustrations on the IceCute Animals Illustrations on the Ice

Cute animal illustrations don't come much cuter than this. With their wide eyes and friendly smiles, these are some very endearing cartoon cute animal characters, and the igloo in the background is a nice touch. But with the small shards of ice they're balanced on, they could be seen as making a more serious point about climate change too.

Cute Animal Illustrations: Music Band (AI, EPS, JPG, PNG)

Cute Animal Illustrations - Music BandCute Animal Illustrations - Music BandCute Animal Illustrations - Music Band

Looking for cool animal art? Animals are a popular choice for greeting cards, and this cute animal illustration is perfect. It's a really festive, feel-good illustration to get people in the party mood. This is pretty much what cute animal art should look like.

Vintage Animal Illustrations (AI, EPS, PNG, SVG)

Vintage Animal IllustrationsVintage Animal IllustrationsVintage Animal Illustrations

There are some great cute animal characters in this set of vintage animal illustrations with a woodland theme. It's easy to imagine them on the pages of a popular children's book. The inclusion of things like trees, leaves, acorns, and mushrooms gives some nice context for the animals' lives.

Vintage Animal Print Illustrations (AI, EPS, PNG)

Vintage Animals IllustrationsVintage Animals IllustrationsVintage Animals Illustrations

If you think these old animal illustrations have the feeling of vintage engravings, that's because they were sourced from engravings in old books. There's so much detail in these beautiful animal illustrations, so much realism, and so much dynamism in the poses.

Cute Animal Illustrations (AI, EPS, PNG)

Cute Animal IllustrationsCute Animal IllustrationsCute Animal Illustrations

Now we're definitely back in cute animal territory, with these 12 different animal cartoons. Realism goes out of the window, replaced by cute smiles, oversized heads, and shortened bodies. Start creating cute animal art with this set. 

Wild Animals Illustrations (EPS, JPG)

Wild Animals IllustrationsWild Animals IllustrationsWild Animals Illustrations

This fun wild animals illustration is created so that the sides join up to create a seamless pattern, meaning it could be used for a continuous animation or for tiled wallpaper. The cute goggle-eyed expressions make even dangerous wild animals look endearing.

African Landscape With Wild Animals Illustration (EPS, JPG)

African Landscape with Wild Animals IllustrationsAfrican Landscape with Wild Animals IllustrationsAfrican Landscape with Wild Animals Illustrations

This vector wild animals illustration is much more natural-looking than some of the others featured here. There's a lot more detail in the poses, and the artist has clearly done plenty of anatomical research to make sure the proportions are correct. A beautiful animal illustration. 

Old Animal Illustrations Engraving (AI, EPS, PNG, PSD)

Vintage Animal Illustrations - EngravingVintage Animal Illustrations - EngravingVintage Animal Illustrations - Engraving

Here are some more vintage animal illustrations based on the engraving style found in old books and manuals. It's great to see contemporary vector illustration techniques being applied to recreate styles from a bygone era.

Animal Illustration Art Examples From Placeit

At Placeit, you can make logos, T-shirts, mockups, and more—all without leaving your browser window. There are plenty of animal illustrations in all those template categories, so here are some great examples.

T-Shirt Design Creator With Cute Animal Illustration (PNG)

T-Shirt Design Creator with Cute Animal IllustrationT-Shirt Design Creator with Cute Animal IllustrationT-Shirt Design Creator with Cute Animal Illustration

Who says Halloween illustrations have to be scary? This is a great example of a creepy theme treated in a very non-creepy way. The illustration style transforms it from horror into something very kid-friendly.

Phone Case Design Template With Cute Animal Illustrations (PNG)

Phone Case Design Template with Cute Animal IllustrationsPhone Case Design Template with Cute Animal IllustrationsPhone Case Design Template with Cute Animal Illustrations

Animals are a staple of internet memes, and this cute illustration banner makes great use of cute animal illustrations paired with a heart-warming message in a creative typeface. You could see this getting a bucketful of likes on social media.

Watercolour T-Shirt Design Template With Wild Animal Illustrations (PNG)

Watercolour T-Shirt Design Template with Wild Animal IllustrationsWatercolour T-Shirt Design Template with Wild Animal IllustrationsWatercolour T-Shirt Design Template with Wild Animal Illustrations

This may be offered as a T-shirt design template, but it clearly draws on old animal illustrations in a traditional watercolour style. It's a good example of how you can create a complex illustration in a single colour.

T-Shirt Design Generator With Animal Print Illustration (PNG)

T-Shirt Design Generator with Animal Print IllustrationT-Shirt Design Generator with Animal Print IllustrationT-Shirt Design Generator with Animal Print Illustration

Who wouldn't want a hug from this stylish little dog? The purple-tinted sunglasses work really well with the purple background and the cute purple sweater he's wearing, and then the yellow border picks up the colour of the bananas. It's a well-thought-out composition and a great example of cool animal art.

Logo Generator With Wild Animal Illustration (PNG)

Logo Generator with Wild Animal IllustrationLogo Generator with Wild Animal IllustrationLogo Generator with Wild Animal Illustration

After all those cute animal illustrations, now it's time for something on the opposite end of the spectrum. This wild cat with fangs bared will strike fear into the heart of any viewer.

Animal Illustrations From Reshot

Reshot offers a growing library of animal illustrations for you to browse. And if you see any you like, the good news is that they're all free for you to download.

Wild Animals (EPS, PNG)

Wild animal illustrationWild animal illustrationWild animal illustration

Illustrations can be very effective without needing to be super detailed or realistic. Some of the wild animals in this cute scene are made up of just a few basic shapes, but we can instantly recognise them.

Dog Trainer App (EPS, PNG)

dog trainer appdog trainer appdog trainer app

What better way to illustrate the concept of a dog trainer app than by showing a dog jumping through the phone itself? This creative approach, along with the striking colour scheme and the dog's dynamic pose, make this a very successful animal illustration.

Animal Illustrations From Mixkit 

Mixkit offers a beautiful collection of animal illustrations that are completely free to download and use!

Festive Cat With a High Tail (PNG)

Festive Cat With a High TailFestive Cat With a High TailFestive Cat With a High Tail

This hand-drawn cute illustration is a great example of how artists can accentuate a particular pose to capture the character of an animal. With its high, elegantly curved tail and arched back, this pet illustration looks regal.

Festive Puppy Dog (PNG)

Festive Puppy DogFestive Puppy DogFestive Puppy Dog

And in this cute illustration drawing by the same artist, the puppy has a different character, with its flattened ears and raised paw—this pet illustration looks more friendly and playful. It has some of the characteristics of old vintage animal illustrations too.

Cat Playing Inside a Packing Box (PNG)

Cat Playing Inside a Packing BoxCat Playing Inside a Packing BoxCat Playing Inside a Packing Box

Cats are easy to buy gifts for: whatever you get, they'll enjoy playing with the empty cardboard box it came in. This fun design perfectly captures the energy of a cat diving into a box and sending those annoying little packaging chips scattering everywhere.

Cat Playing with A Ball of String (PNG)

Cat Playing with A Ball of StringCat Playing with A Ball of StringCat Playing with A Ball of String

Or here's another favourite feline pastime: playing with a ball of string. The string intertwines beautifully with the cat's limbs, but what makes this illustration work are the more unexpected choices like the bright red flowers and the way the cat's fur looks like a star-strewn night sky.

Puppy Dog Wearing a Red Santa Hat (PNG)

Puppy Dog Wearing a Red Santa HatPuppy Dog Wearing a Red Santa HatPuppy Dog Wearing a Red Santa Hat

And here's a more traditional, realistic digital painting of a dog in a Santa hat. The dog's tilted head, panting tongue, and loving expression make it irresistible.

Animal Illustrations From GraphicRiver

GraphicRiver is another option for finding creative animal illustrations. Here are some of the best options available:

Vector Set of Cute Fish Illustration (PNG, JPG, EPS)

Vector Set of Cute Fish IllustrationVector Set of Cute Fish IllustrationVector Set of Cute Fish Illustration

Here's a nice example of what fish animal illustrations look like. It's a really creative way to render underwater life in simple forms.

Australian Animal Illustrations Set (JPG, EPS)

Australian Animal Illustrations SetAustralian Animal Illustrations SetAustralian Animal Illustrations Set

In this example, on the other hand, the illustrations are simplified down to basic shapes, but the artist still manages to communicate some of the character and personality of the animals. The kangaroo with a baby in her pouch is particularly lovable.

Australian Animal Illustration Set Vol. 2 (PSD, JPG, EPS)

Australian Animal Illustration Set Vol. 2Australian Animal Illustration Set Vol. 2Australian Animal Illustration Set Vol. 2

This final set of Australian animal illustrations demonstrates yet another style, this time highly detailed and realistic. You can feel every spike, feather, and claw in these stunning vector illustrations. Also use this for inspiration to create animal character designs.

Cute Animal Faces (PNG, JPG)

Cute Animal FacesCute Animal FacesCute Animal Faces

Get a lot of inspiration just by thinking of the creative possibilities of painting cute animal faces. Choose from 30 different animal heads for cute animal characters. This set is perfect for animal character design, colouring pages, stickers, surface prints, avatars or posters.

Animal Illustration Tutorials From Envato Tuts+

With hundreds of free illustration tutorials published over more than a decade, of course Envato Tuts+ has covered its share of animal illustrations. Here are some highlights.

How to Create a Llama Illustration in Adobe Illustrator

How to Create a Llama Illustration in Adobe IllustratorHow to Create a Llama Illustration in Adobe IllustratorHow to Create a Llama Illustration in Adobe Illustrator

It's amazing to think that this beautiful llama illustration was constructed entirely from basic shapes like ellipses and rectangles, with various warp effects applied in Adobe Illustrator. You'd never guess from looking at the end result.

How to Use Brushes in Adobe Illustrator to Create a Colorful Flamingo

How to Use Brushes in Adobe Illustrator to Create a Colorful Flamingo How to Use Brushes in Adobe Illustrator to Create a Colorful Flamingo How to Use Brushes in Adobe Illustrator to Create a Colorful Flamingo

The flamingo lends itself perfectly to animal illustrations, with its unusual shape, vibrant pink colour, and characteristic leg lift. But what helps this illustration take off is the tropical background that really pulls the whole thing together.

How to Create a Polar Bear Illustration in Adobe Illustrator

How to Create a Polar Bear Illustration in Adobe IllustratorHow to Create a Polar Bear Illustration in Adobe IllustratorHow to Create a Polar Bear Illustration in Adobe Illustrator

From vibrant colour to almost no colour at all. This illustration captures the bleak beauty of the Arctic wilderness. The polar bear is very simple, with no detail on the body itself, but it works very well as part of the larger composition.

How to Create a Soft, Furry Kitten in Adobe Illustrator

How to Create a Soft Furry Kitten in Adobe IllustratorHow to Create a Soft Furry Kitten in Adobe IllustratorHow to Create a Soft Furry Kitten in Adobe Illustrator

What's great about this illustration is the way that the whole kitten is in darkness, with just a dramatic back light to pick up the outlines of the fur and some essential details. It puts all the attention on the fur, which is incredibly detailed and realistic.

How to Create a Cute Cartoon Kitten in Adobe Illustrator

How to Create a Cute Cartoon Kitten in Adobe IllustratorHow to Create a Cute Cartoon Kitten in Adobe IllustratorHow to Create a Cute Cartoon Kitten in Adobe Illustrator

Let's finish off with this adorable cartoon illustration of a cute Siamese kitten drinking milk through a straw. This little cat is full of mischievous personality, from the upturned eyes to the way the paws are gripping the bottle.

Learn More About Animal Illustration!

I hope this article has given you plenty of inspiration for your work as an illustrator, whether you're a beginner or more advanced. If you want to learn more about animal illustration, we have plenty of tutorials to help you. Here are some great places to start:

Or maybe you want to try some other animal design and illustration-related tutorials? Check these out:

Editorial Note: This post has been updated with contributions from Janila Castañeda. Janila is a staff writer with Envato Tuts+.

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