How to Draw Cats with Pencil for the Absolute Beginner

Common Gestures of a Cat

Cats are known for their flexibility and athleticism. This is one of the reason why they are fun to draw and may also be the reason why illustrating them in action could be a challenge. Observe the figure below and see how they change their form when captured in a certain motion. Use these frames/outlines as a basis if you want to draw the cats in these manners.

Running cycle

Stretching

When drawing the head, reference lines can be used as a guide for properly placing the facial features and checking if the proportion is right.

Little modifications are required depending on the kind of cat you wish to draw. Aside from the shape, the fur of the cat is also depicted differently depending on the kind. 

Here's an example of the process for drawing a head of the cat, particularly the selkirk rex.

  • Establish the angle of the head and the face features with the help of cross reference lines.

  • Convey the fur with long and broken hatches that flows with the contour shape of the head. This will be your guide for the layers of the fur coat. Keep in mind that the selkirk rex has wavy (and a bit unruly). Curve the lines almost randomly but don’t lose the ordered rows of the fur.

  • The fur should flow outwards from the tip of the muzzle and to the edges of the main outline.

To be able to properly express the fur coating, the lines should wave naturally to the contour form of the spherical surface of the head. As the line flows with the shape, it should also slant downward as you reach the main/outer outline of the head.

  • Establish the shade of the eyes. Re-establish the eyes with darker outlines and darken the pupil. 
  • Put some shade on the white portion of the eyes from the inner edges of the lids, and then smear it.

  • Darken the nose with scribbled shading and re-outline the mouth.

  • Elaborate the thickness and waved form of the fur to establish its layers further. Use the loose sketch you previously made as a guide. with a light source imposed coming at the front,  the farther portion of the head should be slightly darker.

The layers of the fur can be portrayed effectively by shading the lower area of each row and leaving some fur stands with observably brighter value. This step may take a little time to initiate but you have to go through this to effectively portray the texture.

  • Start from the darker portion (farther side of the head) and use heavy (but thin) line strokes. The flow of the fur (and how you apply the shade on it) should further describe the contour shape of the cat’s head.

The shade on the muzzle has a brighter value. Use subtle linear shading on it then slightly smear/smudge the lines. Darken the inner edges of the portion of the fur that outlines the muzzle, but remember that the eyes, nose and the outline of the mouth should have the darkest value.

  • Make your final retouches (re-darkening the darker portions and retrieving subtle grey outlines with a fine-point eraser or kneaded eraser). The layered effect on the fur becomes visually effective if the tones (lighter or darker) of the overlapping rows are in contrast.

This is an example of the contents inside our drawing manuals for absolute beginners. If you wish to see more instructions in drawing like this, visit the page https://l2draw.com/collections/drawing-for-beginners and grab a copy of the topics you wish to learn how to draw. Several examples are shown in each book with step-by-step instructions.  The processes are thoroughly discussed and broken down in a way that a non-experienced artist could easily follow and learn. 

 

 

 

 

 

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