Updated: Aug 15
Cat Portrait Drawing in Pencil – Step by Step Guide
Clear and easy to follow step by step lesson showing how to draw a cat using pencil. This lesson improves student ability to use tone and contrast while sharpening observational skills.
Introduction – Basic Anatomy of a Cat for Art
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Although cats come in a wide variety of colors and breeds, they all share some similarities in their basic proportions. Cat legs are typical in their shape to other four-legged animals, like horses and dogs, but their feet are more sophisticated. Cats can actually turn their front paws inward and grip, which dogs cannot do. Their bodies are also very flexible. This means there’s a lot of different shapes that they can create with them. The sketches on this page show some typical poses that a cat might hold.
Cat Portrait – Easy Step by Step
For this Tutorial , you will need:
1 – Graphite 2H pencil sketch
2 – 2B Pencil for darker tones
3 – Eraser for whiskers
4. A picture of a cat (or use this one!)
• Draw a circle • Add a vertical central line and a horizontal line for the top of the eyes • Add two diagonal lines starting where the ears will be through the center of the previous lines
Portrait Drawing Lesson. Easy no prep portrait lesson using pencils. Includes detailed plan and art history portrait information, drawing templates and high quality images (plus an extension activity)
• Draw the circles for the eyes below the horizontal line • Draw a line half way between the eye line and the bottom of the head. This is the nose area. • The mouth will belong half way between the nose line and the bottom of the head
• Begin defining the shapes of each major area • Make small adjustments, using the lines • Start to observe where the darkest areas are on the face
This resource provides clear and easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions on drawing an eye. It includes templates and examples for students to use so they can draw their own.
• Add large areas of tone to build the shape of the face • Pay attention to the patterns on the cat’s fur. This will help to create personality. • Place some dots where the whiskers come out of the cat’s short snout
Free Download – Cat and Dog Drawing Grid Templates 8x pages!
Grid Drawing templates are a great way to learn observational drawing. Students can use either the full grid or rule their own.
• To create some more definition, shade around the entire edge of the head. This will be smoothed later. The cat will look lighter at first. • Continue to develop the tone areas while looking at the picture often • Here I have concentrated on getting some tone in the eyes and the cat’s left hand side of the snout. It should start to look three dimensional now.
• Add further toning and shading all over the face
• Use an eraser to begin to take out highlights along the nose, in the eyes and to tidy up earlier lines that are still visible
• Focus on small details in each area, like the fur pattern, eye reflections and the nose
• Using a sharp eraser, remove sections to create the whiskers and light fur coming from the ears • Soften the edges around the head and pay attention to the flowing fur in the image you’re using • Look for any other final details • You can use a blending stick if you like
Some other ideas! You can now try to draw a full body cat of your own choice!
Learn color blending and pointillism techniques using an outline of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. Great as a sub art lesson, as an early finisher or as part of your art curriculum.
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