The 12 Zodiac: Leo!

Hello everyone, and today will begin my 12 zodiac series of illustrations and blog posts!

I have had these illustration ideas waiting for their final phase for quite a while now, so I’m excited to finally be sharing these with you. I spent a lot of time looking up different things about all the zodiac signs so that each illustration would have the right symbols and colors for its corresponding sign.

So to begin this series, let’s talk about our first sign…Leo!


Leo—July 24 to August 23

Leo by Ciarra Stebbins. Find more at and @ciarra_13.

Since we are in the month of August, I thought it would be best to work on Leo. Leo’s are characterized as being warm, noble, loyal and humorous while some of their weaknesses are arrogance, vanity, and stubbornness. Do keep in mind though, if you are born August 19-25 then you could be a Leo-Virgo cusper. This means you can present characteristics of both signs!

Keeping these traits in mind I wanted the main lady of this illustration to have a very regal and fierce look about her. Her hair needed to be reminiscent of a lion’s mane since this is the main symbol and animal for Leo’s. She also needed to have the gold and yellow colors associated with the sign.

Work in progress of Leo by Ciarra Stebbins. Find more at and @ciarra_13.
Work in progress of the hair.


Work in progress of Leo by Ciarra Stebbins. Find more at and @ciarra_13.
Work in progress of the line art.

Orange was another color for Leo that I used throughout the illustration, with a lot of it being seen on the background sun motif and the sunflowers themselves. Sunflowers are one of the main flower symbols for this sign, but instead of making them a bright vibrate yellow, I wanted something a little more muted or closer to a burnt orange/gold. I found some good reference photos to use as a base for this.

Leo by Ciarra Stebbins. Find more at and @ciarra_13.
Close up of Sunflowers.


Body & Glyph

Leo by Ciarra Stebbins. Find more at and @ciarra_13.
Leo glyph detail.

Something I wanted for each sign was to make sure that their symbol or glyph was in line to the body part in which that sign ruled.  For Leo’s, you rule the heart which corresponds nicely to your “born leader” attitude and affectionate nature. The glyph itself is often interrupted as a simplified lion with other interpretations relating to your ruling “planet”, the Sun, or even two halves of a heart.

In my illustration I placed the glyph as a pendant over her heart with her hands encircling it, which draws your eye to the symbol, but not in an overbearing way. I also made her dress purple to relate back to the royal and regal personality traits of the sign.



Finishing Touches

Leo by Ciarra Stebbins. Find more at and @ciarra_13.
Gold details.

As is typically for me with most of my illustrations, I use a mix of supplies with watercolor being my core component. I also used colored pencils, some alcohol based markers, ink pens, and for the final flair…metallic gold watercolors. These are some of my favorite watercolors because they are rather versatile with how opaque you can make them, plus! Leo’s metal is Gold, so it was necessary to add a lot of this to really drive home the kingly and rich aspects of the sign.

Compared to when I first started this series back in 2017 with just black line art, my style and skill has changed considerably. I didn’t change too much from those original sketches, but I did make some upgrades when it came to anatomy, especially for the face since the original version had quite a different expression and style about the eyes.

I’m definitely looking forward to how all of these will look once finished and how things will change by the last illustration.


I hope you guys enjoyed the first of this 12 part series, and let me know what you thought. What zodiac do you look forward to seeing next? Do you believe in horoscopes, and do you identify with your sign?

Let me know in the comments below! 😉


“beautiful mornings and sweet dreams” love Amy and Ciarra-Come be a part of our community




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