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Learn How to Draw a Cat
in Four Easy Steps

How to draw a cat main

Cats are one of the most popular pets throughout the world. And learning how to draw a cat is an equally popular subject with aspiring artists.

They (the cats) adopt so many different (and at times quite comical) poses that they're a constant source of inspiration for people looking to learn how to draw.

 This tutorial sets you on the way with a simple way of learning how to draw a cat that shows you the main proportions and how to achieve that silky feline 'flow' associated with the way cats move - or just as often lounge around...

All you need is a pencil, paper and eraser -plus if you want, a photo of a cat.

Or you can print and copy these sketches if you prefer.


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How to Draw a Cat - Stage 1

Here, I've placed several of these basic shapes such as circles, triangles and so on over the cat photo from the top of the page.

When learning how to draw a cat, you need to look closely at the way in which its leg joints run. The back legs for example appear to hinge the opposite way to our knees.

So in this view the cats back left leg seems to sit at what to us might appear to be an awkward angle when lying down.

How to draw a cat photo with shapes

However, rest assured, the cat is perfectly comfortable and natural. They always are...

How to draw a cat flowlines

Now look at the main photo again. this time I've added what I call flow lines.

I've done these in blue so you don't get mixed up with the basic shapes in red.

If you get the flow-lines sketched in lightly and then build your basic shapes around the these lines, it really helps to get not only the proportions correct, but the pose as well. This means you also start to develop its personality. 


How to Draw a Cat - Stage 2

Now I've removed the photo so you can see the shapes that are left. See how the shapes give the correct outline? I've taken away the flow lines as well, for clarity.

How to draw a cat shapes

Even though the red outline is vary basic it's in the correct proportion - which is always vital when working out how to draw a cat - or any animal for that matter.

At this stage forget about angles, views and even perspective. All you need to concentrate on is getting the basic set of shapes needed to produce the cat.

I'm tempted to say that each individual shape you add gradually builds up into a complete Kit, but that's an awful joke, so I won't mention it...


How to Draw a Cat- Stage 3

You're well on the way now to getting your sketch looking like a cat.

In this section, you need to observe carefully how the various cat parts are drawn more accurately, using the basic shapes as your guideline.

However, even in this section of 'How to Draw a Cat', you should still take your time and not worry about getting it spot on first go.

Make sure you keep your 'realistic' lines fairly light so if you do have to rub them out, you won'y also lose your guidelines.

Once you're happy that things are looking OK, put the final  lines in a little stronger - or even ink them in with black ink.

Once this is dry, you can then erase the pencil lines and the outline will be much neater.

How to draw a cat 3

But don't worry yet about the facial details or the markings on the fur. I've actually put one or two suggestions of markings on the fur to show you how you create the three dimensional effect with the lines.

Continue to draw the 'realistic' shapes in fairly lightly.

There's a good reason for this when learning how to draw cats - or indeed, any animal with fur...

...a solid line as the outline gives the impression of a very hard edge, whereas the broken line simulates the softness of fur much better.


How to Draw a Cat- Stage 4

You're now on the final stage where you add the all important shading and markings to give it a roundness, shape and character.

How to draw a cat final

Note how I've included some shadow under the cat to 'anchor' it to the floor, otherwise it would appear to be floating in space.

I've made no attempt to produce a 'like for like' shadow of every part of the cat - just enough to lie it down on the floor, where it wants to be anyway...

The tortoise-shell cat's markings depicted here look quite complex to draw, but you can see that all I've done is broadly follow the markings on the photo and used a sideways scribble. This gives a nice loose effect and also helps to add to the impression of fur.

Again, I've used these markings to emphasise the round body and legs.

I've also included a close up below of our feline friend's face so you can understand the details better.

How to draw a cat face

Note the end of a cat's nose drawn this size. It's no more complex than an elongated 'T' shape. To emphasise the length of the nose, note how I've put a slight shadow on the right hand side, starting between the eyes and running the length of it.

Underneath, the mouth is like a flattened, upside-down letter 'Y' which joins it.

The eye socket in a cat is invariably almond shaped, but the visible eye itself is a relatively round shape.

In low-light conditions, a cat's pupil dilates (ie it becomes a much bigger, dark circle). In sunny conditions, it closes up to the familiar narrow, vertical slit.

Remember, the more you practice, the more satisfaction you'll gain and the better you'll get at learning how to draw cats.


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