How to Draw a Cat

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Video by markcrilley

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hey there everybody it’s mark Rowley I’m
back with another how
twelve in my ongoing series of
various animals we’ve had how to draw a
lion how to draw tiger leopard fish all
kinds of different animals this time I’m
showing how to draw a cat now a few
years back I did one on how to draw
kitten the face was turned a little bit
in a three quarter point of view this
time I’m going to be looking straight
ahead so that we can really focus on the
balance of the facial features well
people like to know what size I’m
working at in fact I would like to know
what size i’m working what size am i
working yeah well with the magic of this
drawing tool called a ruler we can see
that it is four inches from top to
bottom that works out to ten centimeters
and then I’ve just sort of divided it
right down the middle there so what’s my
waist me more time let’s go ahead and
start drawing a basic guideline for the
shape of the head okay so you can see
I’ve put sort of a circular shape here
maybe a little wider than it is tall as
you can see from top to bottom here just
a bit of a gap there this line across
the middle later on is going to show us
where to place the eyes and you can see
that I’ve left a gap here for the ears
which I think we should just go ahead
and do right now
okay so you see the ears are maybe a
little more rounded than you might
imagine and they don’t necessarily come
to a real point of the way we also tend
to picture cat’s ears notice this sort
of irregularity down here there’s like a
little bit of a wrinkle in the ear at
least in some of the cats in the photos
that I studied something that we don’t
normally notice until you look real
carefully but I’m going to go ahead and
add just a couple more lines here for
further defining the ears
so these two curved lines here sort of
define a part of the head but it’s
really going to be more fur that you’re
going to see here in fact quite a lot of
fur in the ears later on also here this
is just going to be an area of fur that
comes up to the really quite thin Ridge
of the ear that will become more visible
when we get into the shading part of it
let’s go ahead now though and draw the
so I covered quite a lot of ground here
in this step but basically the thing you
want to do is get these sort of oval
shapes to tend to my mind look a little
like they’re tilted down a bit the shape
of the outside of each eye and in terms
of placement and size there’s about one
eye space really two between them but to
that center line that can help you get
that where you need of course the cat
eyes have this famously unusual shaped
pupil that can be contracted or dilated
and I would say it’s a little bit in my
drawing here a little bit like a leaf
shape almost and then I went ahead and
started to indicate this in black area
I’m going to be shading this in later on
quite dark but there’s with a lot of
animals there’s very often a very dark
black area just below the eyes I think
it helps with keeping the Sun out of
their eyes or I don’t know what I’ll
just make up anything yes it helps you
keeping the Sun out of their eyes but I
was going to try to explain this shape
here to me it looks a little bit like
almost like side mirrors on a sports car
or something but hopefully that will
help you later on we’re going to be as I
said darkening all this in well let’s go
ahead now and draw I think I’ll draw
both the basic shape of the nose and the
okay so I tried to refocus the camera so
you might get a little better view of
this the nose you know we sort of think
of it as a triangle and indeed it
occupies a sort of triangular ish space
down here but it’s rather more
complicated than that because these
nostrils here sort of diagonally
inserted into that shape on the side it
almost starts to look like a mushroom
doesn’t it sliced in half that kind of
thing and then I noticed this when I did
the Khitan as well that you know we we
maybe imagine a mouth shape that curves
up like this on both sides but really
it’s only the central part that is
delineated and I decided to go in and
get the chin in place a lot of this is
going to be you know greatly refined
later on when it comes to drawing the
fur and part of the reason why I’m
sipping through so much right now is to
kind of preserve time and allow plenty
of time for showing how I draw the fur
but we’re almost able to get into that
real-time drawing I want to do some of
the patterns so I’m going to go ahead
and drop in some of the patterns here
above the eyes and to the sides of the
so it has to be said that every cat is
going to have a different pattern so I
don’t know if you necessarily want to
copy this line for line or stripe for
stripe I guess I would say but there do
seem to be you know from one cat to
another at least the ones that have this
type of patterning there does seem to be
a tendency to have a line that starts
near the eye a stripe that sort of
starts over here and trails off and then
I noticed in a number of photos these
sort of surprisingly vertical lines in
an area that you know human beings see
as the sort of eyebrow area and what I
want to do now is to add in just one
extra line here that’s going to help
sort of rope off a space where there’s a
lot of white fur and then add a couple
of rows of dots here that go right
across the snout of the region where the
I guess the area of the upper lip I
would call it so let’s go ahead and get
that in place and then I think we can
kind of stop with all these lines and
and get on to doing the real-time
so in this area where the whiskers
emanate from there are the surprisingly
regular horizontal rows of dots again
varying from one type of cat to another
but at least in one of the photos I
studied really bold some of these dots
here but as I said quite regular and
there might even be a hint of a fourth
horizontal row down here I’m just going
to sort of drop that and not quite as
dark again and on the photo that I
looked at on one of these cats it seemed
to be the darkest areas seemed to be up
here and it seemed to get lighter and
then I noticed that this one came this
row came right up until it almost
reached the area of the nose I think I’m
getting a little carried away with the
precision here this line here as I said
is going to delineate a white area an
area of white fur that comes right
outside of this this area here which I
said earlier is going to be quite black
so there’s this very bold the area of
high contrast right around the eyes well
I think maybe one last thing that I’m
going to do is to drop in some lines for
the neck and then maybe just a little
hint of where this fur begins to appear
and then at last we will be able to send
old man time lapse on his way off to get
a cup of coffee
gosh man you were working me hard today
and then we will get onto the real-time
part of the video
so the lines of the neck here I think
depending on the posture of the cat
maybe if it raises his head up high this
gets a little narrower in any case here
we see a jagged line that’s going to
help me know where to put this massive
amount of white fur into each one of the
ears but for now let’s go ahead and move
on to doing some real-time drawing in
the area of the eyes all right so let’s
go ahead and get into the area of the
eyes here this plot this part around the
whole edge the eye is indeed going to go
very dark indeed but I think I’ll sort
of hold off on that because it’s mostly
going to be done with a black
prismacolor colored pencil but let’s go
ahead now and start working on doing
some hopefully subtle shading here on
the interior of the eyes this is I guess
them the iris the sort of colored area
of the eye that would that fills in the
in the case of a cat seems to fill the
entire space whereas in human eyes you
have outside of this iris you have the
whites of the eyes and quite subtle the
shading in here in the photos I looked
at this the pupil area is going to go
but I noticed just slightly darker
shading near the edge of the pupil and
you could maybe go just a touch darker
at the top of the hole
iris then at the bottom now one of the
nice things about a cat’s face in terms
of doing a drawing lesson like this is
that it is very symmetrical and almost
anything that I do gets repeated just in
mirror image on the opposite side and so
what I intend to do is to flip all you
know do all those flip side parts of the
drawing and time lapse so as to conserve
time I’m going to go ahead then and do
that into every
you saw me do here I’m going to do over
there in time-lapse
so now we can start moving down into the
area of the nose one thing about the
shape that I put in here to be to begin
with that I didn’t really get to is a a
little bit of a dividing line right here
at the bottom that splits the nose into
two halves let’s go ahead and just
darken in this whole area again I’ll be
pulling out a black colored pencil later
on in the process to really you know
beef up the contrast to make this super
dark but for now I just want you to be
able to see what is we’re heading toward
and then in terms of shading I’m going
to put down a sort of a base layer of
gray here I guess would be pink if you
were doing this full color and again I
suppose different types of cats are
going to have different coloration down
here but I did notice in the photos that
I studied a little bit more darkness
down towards the bottom than at the top
so I’m sort of darkening things in just
a bit and you know you could maybe even
erase away a little bit up here near the
top so it’s tough to convey that now
what’s going to happen all across the
top here I guess I’ll just go ahead and
get started with this is that there is
pretty intense colouring just above the
nose and you know we’re not quite ready
to get into the part related to drawing
fur but it is sort of interesting that
across the top of the nose the sort of
bridge of the nose there’s this super
short fur it’s just you can’t even
discern the difference the hair is
almost it’s all so tightly packed and
I’m not really sure why the it evolved
that way I suppose you you can get away
with fur being long at the outside to
the edge you wouldn’t want it to be long
here across the nose would get in the
ways of getting away of the eyes I
suppose but it is sort of interesting to
notice the difference in length and I’m
just I can’t do all of this real-time
but I’m
just want to sort of show you how
there’s this interesting gradient fade
as it goes up and works its way up the
nose up the nose it went up my nose dude
no across the bridge of the nose it gets
lighter and lighter as it goes up here
and it’s sort of I guess I can you know
I’ll be refining this later on but you
can begin to see what I’m talking about
that there is sort of an interesting
change in color and then across the edge
I suppose I might as well just continue
with this it darkens up again over here
on the edges of the nose again probably
changing from one breed of cat to
another but even in cartoons in cartoony
drawings of cats you’ll often see two
lines right here to sort of convey that
shape of the the cat’s nose it is fairly
important that we suggest the structure
here and well anyway I’m going to I’m
going to refine this much further but I
suppose I can right now continue down to
the mouth and the area of the mouth
itself is relatively easy to draw
there’s a bit of shading that’s going to
occur right here near the bottom sort of
point of the nose and then just a little
almost little diamond shape or you know
circular shape of darkness here where
you may see the I suppose it’s the lower
lip or something but it pretty
immediately fades off into the fur of
the the chin I guess it would have to be
down here and by this line that I’ve
made very round and smooth is actually
meant to be the contour of fur that by
the time you get down here is starting
to get a little longer so I’m I’m kind
of redrawing this
to suggest that it’s fur rather than
some very smooth human-like chin we
don’t want my cat to have a human-like
chin in any case I think we can now move
on to drawing the ears we’ll get the
ears and then hopefully we’ll have
plenty of time left over for drawing the
fur alright so the first thing I’m going
to do here is to add just a little
pointy tuft of darker fur right here at
the tip again don’t know if this is true
of every single breed I don’t want to
speak for all cats you know I think I
speak for all cats when I say well curly
that was really bad but I I do find
myself having to repeatedly say yeah
this this may be true of some breeds and
not of others and indeed this next part
is no exception but I did notice that
the sort of wrinkled down here occurs
and I’m going to start shading into to
sort of convey what I’m talking about
that at least with some cat breeds you
don’t get this perfect perfectly smooth
triangular shape that the flesh of the
ear sort of bends in sort of wrinkles in
for whatever reason on some of these
cats and you end up with this shaded
area gets a little shady down here and
the if you’re you know if you can study
the photo really carefully you’ll
actually begin to get a sense of the
your wrinkling in here and creating this
secondary area I’m going to go ahead and
just continue adding the the pencil gray
all the way through what you know sort
of amounts to the interior of the year
and most of that most of this sort of
inside the back wall of the ear I guess
is my best way of describing it ends up
being obscured by
fer that is coming across now when it
comes to drawing fur my big thing is to
pay attention to the direction and not
just have a bunch of messy random
looking lines and the fur this massive
amount of fur that grows seemingly out
of the inside corner of the ear here is
going sort of largely horizontal with
the gentle curves to it it is quite
white and so even as I draw it now I may
be erasing a way to get back to the
white of the page sometimes you know
when you’re trying to draw something
that’s white you are just leaving the
letting the page itself be the white and
you end up drawing the sort of spaces
behind so like right here I’m kind of
trying to draw the darken in the back
part of the year so as to make this fur
look increasingly white as I said I will
maybe be erasing away and I’m probably
even going to pull out my beloved white
gouache to do some final touches later
on I keep thinking about the whiskers
the whiskers are also white and that
becomes a challenge for an artist to you
know to draw white lines basically as
what you’re being asked to do but maybe
it’s just because of the the lighting or
whatever but the this area there’s not
so much light reaching the fur over here
and so this part back here also is
getting going to get shaded in a little
bit well happily this is one of these
areas where I can tell you that the
other year is the same thing just
flipped around mirror image before I get
to that though I suppose I’ll just point
out quickly the direction that these
little hairs are growing in up here kind
of quite vertical right here in this
area whereas this line that I’d put in
initially again to describe fur kind of
radiating out from the inside from the
center of the
the face and that becomes kind of true
of the fur in general I like that phrase
radiating out it is sort of all pointing
out like the face of the clock or
something on the fur tends to grow
roughly speaking in that direction well
let’s go ahead now and I’m going to in
time-lapse do the other ear basically
exactly the same way
so you see the area of the ears
rising Li complex actually if you’re
trying to do a faithful in a realistic
drawing of a cat but it’s not necessary
to get so concerned with these details I
think if you get the basics of it you
know are people really looking at the
ears when they look at the your cat
I don’t think so they’re going to be
mainly looking at the eyes and the nose
and so forth so anyway I think it’s time
to start moving on to drawing the fur
and as I said I’m gonna I tried to
reserve some space here at the end of
this video so as to do some of the fur
real-time drawing for is notoriously
time consuming so I can’t promise that
you’re going to see everything done
real-time but I’m starting with these
stripes here and going ahead and
darkening those in as I said there is a
tendency for the fur to kind of radiate
out from the inside of the like from a
center point on the face and so this fur
here which is fairly short at least on
the type of the breed of cat that I was
looking at as I studied different photos
you can see the individual hairs and so
it is wise to make some note of the
direction that they’re pointing in and
begin to replicate that in your drawing
so I’m getting all that into place here
a little bit of whiteness I found in
this area near the ear which should
hopefully also conveys the you know
gives us some contrast there and helps
to your you know helps to convey the
shape of the ears I think over here
where I have a very simple circular
shape that’s going to have to go and be
replaced by a more jagged edge that is
you know filled with indications of the
fur by the time you get over here I
believe it is mostly horizontal
directionally speaking I believe there
is a horizontality to the cat’s fur you
know I went back and listened to the
kitten the video that I did on how to
draw a kitten and it’s filled with
terrible English accents so if you want
to hear me do more horrible English
accents go ahead and check out my how to
draw a kitten a video I will link to the
the whole the entire playlist of all
these various animals in the infobox of
this video the description and up here
between these two stripes seems to me
fairly consistent among striped cats in
the striped cat community they seem to
favor a number of smaller stripes here
in between straight up the middle and
I’ll be honest I’m just roof you know
this is not based on examining some sort
of pattern from a photo and trying to
carefully replicate it this is me just
sort of dropping in stripes willy nilly
willy Crilley with out with wild abandon
but you know probably there are people
out there watching this video who know
more about cats than I do probably it’s
guaranteed and they could tell me if
there is consistency in this patterning
I’m particularly curious about this idea
of there being maybe one major one here
another smaller one off to the side and
then this sort of patterning that I’ve
been talking about right up the middle I
wonder that is fairly consistent from
one cat to another or indeed do you see
them going horizontally across I have a
feeling you don’t I’m just gonna throw
it in my my ignorance I have a feeling
using my intuition I’m guessing that
it’s kind of like that in any case this
shows you the basic direction as we get
down here to the eyes again it seems to
me that there it’s lightening up and
getting whiter as we get closer
– to that initial shape of the eyes you
can almost kind of just in a shorthand
way I’m going to try to get some gray in
here that is not really showing the
direction of the fur just hope hopefully
helping you to see how white it gets in
this area just outside it’s like it goes
completely black just outside the eye
and then it goes white again just
outside of that black area and then you
get into the more mixed fur area I guess
now’s as a good a time as any for me to
go in and start continuing this darkness
up the bridge of the nose and you know
as usual I can sort of sense the the
length of this video stretching out
going minute by minutes into a longer
and longer video and I fear some people
just won’t even click on a video that is
30 40 50 minutes long so I do have to
sort of rein it in in terms of fetch and
showing everything from here on out real
time but how about if I shift focus on
the camera shift down to the lower part
of the face so that I can I start to
point out some of the shading down there
and then it may be time to just sort of
kick it into time-lapse and move towards
completion but let’s go ahead and draw
the lower part of the cat’s face okay so
I wanted to quickly show how this area
down here you know we had a circle down
there to begin with that probably needs
to be adjusted to suggest a slightly
more triangular shaped to the jaw as it
comes down here to the chin and I’m not
trying to indicate fur here right now
I’m just going in and getting some gray
so as to help you see the the shape of
this white area Oh pencil falling to the
floor recorded on YouTube for all
eternity but coming up here this
this whole basic shape down here is
defined by whiteness hopefully that is
true of a wide variety of cat breeds and
not just the photos that I studied up
here as we move north from the mouth can
we use directions north west from the
mouth point we are going to get some
shading in here and if you want to
really go for the details I do believe
you can see individual hairs again sort
of radiating out from the center of the
face but very short I believe the fur in
this part of the face very very short
very trim you know when they when cats
go to the barber they say please just
really keep it real short there across
the front of my face I just like can’t
stand it have it get real shaggy they’re
so across this area I had put in you
know a somewhat random shape I don’t
know if it’s you know based on a photo
that I looked at I don’t know if there’s
any consistency from one breed to
another but at least one type of cats
and there’s darkness sort of I’m making
it kind of a grey but right along here
as I said quite a lot of white just
beneath the eye and let’s see oh we’re
going to get down to this area where
you’re going to see the whiskers and I
thought maybe that could be one of the
last things I’m just going to sort of –
in a fair amount of gray here so as to
show you how you might be able to draw
whiskers in here with an eraser so I’m
kind of cheating a little bit here I’m
going to refine the shading quite a bit
later on but I wanted to get in sort of
a base of gray
here so that I can switch to a brand new
pencil right out of the box that has the
nice you know untouched eraser that will
allow me to go in here and start going
across excuse me
and hopefully you can begin to see how
this might allow you to do indications
of whiskers you do want to pay attention
to the direction the whiskers tend to go
and start horizontal near the top and
then begin with gentle curves to begin
pointing down I guess a little
diagonally you might say there also are
whiskers I don’t know they’re called
whiskers but white hairs of a sort right
up here in what we would think of as the
eyebrow region the eyebrow vien region
as we call it not nearly as many as down
near the nose I would say maybe three or
four at most but what I’m going to do
later on is use white gouache to make
this whiter still I thought I’d give you
the option for those of you who don’t
want to mess around with white gouache
which is an opaque white paint you can
maybe get away with just using an eraser
for conveying a little bit of the
whiskers well I am sad to say that I
think we have reached maybe the end of
the real-time drawing I hope you got
enough of my pointers on drawing the fur
I know that can be you know contentious
issue for some of my viewers they’re
like I got everything was fine until you
started racing through the fur well it
really is a time consuming thing to do
the kind of drawing that I’m going to do
here this morning for me it’s morning
for you it may well be middle of the
night but to do this kind of drawing
this level of detail is going to take me
like three hours altogether I would
think and I am NOT going to upload a
three-hour video
not the day anyway so I’m going to go
ahead and refocus so as to cover all the
rest of the fur and so forth and even
bring in my black prismacolor my trusty
black prismacolor which is really just a
fairly ordinary black colored pencil to
darken things and I’m going to do all of
that stuff and maybe just come back to
do a little bit of the gouache
application real time before we wind
down all right well as you can see I put
a lot of time into rendering the fur and
probably two hours all together to
achieve this effect and yeah sadly you
can’t just show all two hours real time
like that but you know maybe in the
future I can come up with finally the
video that focuses on fur and creating
the effect of fur but for now what I
want to do is add a little bit of white
gouache which is an opaque white paint
you have to dilute it with water a
little bit and then that allows you to
add some highlights like I’m going to do
right now to the eyes now of course you
could just try to avoid putting pencil
there or erase it away but with the
white gouache you can get real sharp
edges to the white that’s pretty hard to
do when you’re erasing away to the white
of the page and I didn’t mean to say
that oh you need to go out and buy some
white gouache I just wanted to show
people the effects that were possible if
you did decide to invest it doesn’t cost
that much invest I’m going to invest in
white gouache it’s only like two dollars
or something to get a tube of white
gouache but as I said don’t forget to
dilute it a little
with water well I’m going to go ahead
and finally one last little bout of
time-lapse here to use this white
gouache to get just that last bit of
contrast in here maybe on the some of
the whiskers and so forth and then I’ll
be back with a few final words
all right well there’s my video on how
to draw a cat please let me know what
you thought and my apologies for having
taken so long since the last animal
related video that’s why I put a little
extra time into this one I wanted to
make it something special sort of make
up for the lost time but hopefully I’ll
have another animal how to draw a video
a lot sooner but until them I want to
thank anyone who has supported me by
getting any of my books like Brody’s
ghost and Mickey Falls bothies graphic
novels and the realism challenge
probably the closest thing to what you
saw in this video today teaching you
drawing illustrating techniques and of
course mastering manga and mastering
manga too always super appreciative of
anyone who helps me out by getting any
of those books but let me go ahead and
lay down this pencil I want to thank you
all for watching this video I hope you
found it helpful and I’ll be back with
another one real soon


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