‘Lion King’ animator creates tribute for Cecil the Lion

‘Lion King’ animator creates tribute for Cecil the Lion
Aaron Blaise renders Cecil the Lion as Mufasa

MANILA, Philippines – Like many of us, former Disney animator Aaron Blaise was upset over the death of Cecil the Lion. Aaron, who worked on The Lion King, saw similiarities betwen Cecil and The Lion King’s Mufasa, and created a tribute to the lion the best way he knew how: by rendering Cecil in the familiar image of Simba’s father speaking to him from the heavens. 

Cecil, who lived in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, was lured out of the park’s boundaries and killed by American dentist Walter James Palmer last July. Cecil was a favorite of many international tourists and was tagged for scientific study by the Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit. Cecil’s death was met with public outcry, with celebrities, including comedian Jimmy Kimmel, condemning Palmer’s hunting hobby. 

“When I heard the news about Cecil I got inspired to create a tribute image. It’s not much but hopefully it will make people think,” wrote Aaron on his blog post with the image. At the bottom of his work, Aaron added a quoted a line from the move: “Look at the stars. The great kings of the past look down upon us from those stars.”

https://instagram.com/p/5xLsH4pp2E/” style=” color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;” target=”_top”>My homage to Cecil the lion. #cecil #cecilthelion #Thelionking

A photo posted by Aaron Blaise (@aaronblaiseart) on


Aaron also worked on Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, and worked as co-director for Brother Bear. He has since left Disney and is currently reviving his painting career, according to his website. His love for animals goes way back to his childhood, he shares, as he drew and photographed the wildlife near the Everglades in Florida, where he grew up. “I’m 45 years old now and I find myself back in the head of a 12-year-old running through the woods,” he writes.

Aaron also included a time-lapse of how he created Cecil’s image. Watch the video below to see how he did it, and check out his the other time lapses and tutorials he posts on his YouTube channel. 


What do you think of Aaron’s tribute? Tell us in the comments below! – Rappler.com

Photo of Cecil the lion via Shutterstock.com

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