How to Draw a Cat
 ... cat drawings that 
even dog lovers would love!

How to Draw a Cat using charcoal and pastel


Here's how to draw a cat. This is not just any cat, but a "cool cat". 

A friend approached me to do a portrait of his cat. It is an unusual breed known as a hairless cat.

Drawing this cool cat was interesting because she does have hair on her face but the top of her head and body are practically hairless. This accounts for the visible folds of skin at the top of the head and on the body, which results in a suede-like appearance. 



How to Draw a Cat - The First Steps

  • First get the general shape with a preliminary pencil drawing...a cat sketch.
  • Next, plot out the general facial characteristics and the shaded areas.

Note that the mouth in this preliminary drawing is simply a small triangle. 


Begin to slightly experiment with pastel, as you see in the eyes. 



The Compositional Layout - Adding Interest for the Observer

There is interplay between the observer and the cat’s gaze. This is created by the fact that the cat’s body is turned away from us, yet the cat has turned around to look at us.

The foreshortening of the cat’s body heightens compositional interest. The subtle textured area (noted by the arrow in the lower right) plays an important role. It emphasizes the three-dimensional quality of the cat’s body projecting towards us.

The coloring of the cat is done by layering charcoal and pastel. 




Cat Drawings - The Cat’s Eyes

All the cat photos I worked from were taken in sunlight.

When a cat is in bright sunshine, its eyes close and resemble vertical slits.

Such eyes lack personality and tend to look cold. 

The problem I faced as a portrait artist was that the cat’s narrowed pupils didn’t offer the warmth and personality of open eyes.

By studying other cat photos, I drew the cat with its eyes wide open, while being careful not to lose the personality and the likeness of this particular cat.

The owner’s satisfaction with the final drawing confirmed that I had successfully captured the essence of the cat. Whew! 



How to Draw a Cat - The Cat’s Ears

Notice that the cat’s ears look realistically translucent. Using pastels and soft brushes, I covered this area, but it was done so delicately that the underlying paper peeks through. These kinds of added touches emphasize the realism of the cat’s ears.

Even when working from photos, as I did in this case, I always take artistic license to emphasize things or to omit things, which will result in my desired outcome. Are you interested in dog drawings? Click here or ... 


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