Monika Zagrobelna is a Polish artist with a specialty in drawing animals and conceiving of animals that haven’t yet been invented. You can check out more of her work and follow along with her latest tutorials on her Facebook Page.
You can sketch the paws while drawing the skeleton. Imagine they’re pieces of wire, and that they must support the cat’s body.
Cats paws are unique — their deadly claws are hidden inside cute balls of fluff. All this fluff, again, makes them quite easy to draw. Let me show you! A typical cat has five fingers but uses only four for walking. The fifth one (a) is called a dew claw, and it’s positioned like your thumb. It doesn’t normally touch the ground. Each finger has a pad beneath, the same you have under your fingertips. There’s also one additional pad called pisiform (b). You can feel the bone it covers on the outer side of your wrist—in humans it’s not covered by any pad.
Yes, as multiple different shades are needed for overlapping fur. You can also blur them with your finger, an eraser, or a rubber. Colored pencils are greatly recommended for realistic drawings.
Finally, you can cover all the parts with loose skin, keeping only the outlines you need. I like to imagine I put the cat inside of one-piece pajamas — tight around the specific parts of the body, but loose in between.
Cats are amazing animals—they’re fluffy and cute, yet they’re not really so different from their wild cousins. Having one is like having a miniature panther in your house! They’re very graceful, with a body that’s designed for hunting, and this elegance makes them a wonderful subject to draw. They also make a great “model animal” — once you learn how to draw them, you’ll be equipped with basic skills necessary for drawing dogs — and even horses! They have a surprising amount in common. I’ll show you.
Monika’s quick sketches with heads added — note the importance of the ears.
Add the forehead. It can go straight from the nose line, but you can also create a “step” at this point, depending on the breed.
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Darken the eyes and add whiskers. You can also add a collar on the neck.
This process gives you a generic cat head, and now you can modify it to create the breed you want.
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Cats drawn from skeleton to skin with simple shapes and a little bit of practice. How to draw a cat’s head
Adjust the eyes. The eyes are the most important part to making a cute cat.
A cat’s skeleton can be simplified to a set of lines. You need to memorize the proportions and location of the joints along with their limits. But once you have practiced this a few times, it’s all you need to start a drawing of a cat.
The easiest way to learn this method is to look at a photo of a cat and to draw the “skeleton” you can see in its body. After dozens of such sketches this will become automatic for your hand. Tip: if you want to draw cats from imagination, try not to look at the photo after you start sketching — this way you’ll practice using your memory as well.
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Add depth to the ear by drawing a kind of half-rolled leaf. If this is hard for you, you may need to practice perspective and drawing forms in 3D first.
Draw the main features of the cat. Use lines to indicate a pattern in the cat’s fur.
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Yes, but to outline don’t press too hard, because you can make those little lumps of paper or even a hole, so just be a little careful.
Although muscles are more complicated than a skeleton, in case of cats they can be highly simplified. This is because cats have a very loose skin that covers the outlines of the muscles even in hairless breeds. This makes them very easy to draw!
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Draw the main features of the cat. Use irregular lines to indicate the fur.
Cats come in many shapes, but there’s a certain arrangement of proportions that creates a typical “cat face.” You don’t need to memorize them 100% — general rules are more important here. Start with a T-shape stuck to the imaginary head. These are the lines of the eyes and nose, and they should define the direction of the head even when you can’t see it yet as a whole.
Add the eyes using two small circles, sketch the nose and mouth. Sketch two half almond shapes protruding on each side of the head.
Erase the draft lines and add more details. You can add more details like whisker and fur.
To draw a cartoon cat, draw an oval for the body and a circle for the head, including a cross on the circle to guide you when drawing the face. Using the guidelines, draw the eyes, nose, whiskers, and mouth of the cat, and add 2 triangles on the top of the circle for ears. Then, draw the outline of the legs and paws, making the hind legs more circular. On the back of the cat, draw the tail, and then darken the outline. You can add details like tufts of fur or a collar before coloring in the drawing.
Finally, the outline of the paws. In short-haired breeds the tips of the claws in the hind paws can often be seen, so you can add them as a nice accent.
Every animal’s body shape is defined by two anatomical levels: skeletal and muscle structure. They can be hidden under fur and skin, but without them the cat would be shapeless. Fortunately, we don’t have to learn the shape of every bone and the name of every muscle — we only need to draw what is seen.
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Draw an outline of the body. Sketch a circle for the head and add two crossed lines at the center. Use a much bigger circle for the body and a curved line attached to it on the back.
Now you can draw the outline for the rest of the body. It’s rather blocky and can be similar in shape to a long loaf of bread.
We can draw them step by step: start by drawing a spherical base and the opening of the ear. This will establish their position and length.
Make eyes that look more like that of an actual cat, and make sure the limb and body sizes look realistic.
Draw an outline of the head and body. Use a circle for the head. Add a crossed vertical and horizontal line at the center of the head. Add a big oblong shape for the cat’s body.
Add the outlines of fingers and toes. Don’t forget about the dew claws in the forepaws, placed like your thumbs.
Sketch oblongs and circles for the thighs, legs and paws. Add also the tail.
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Sketch an outline of the cat’s limbs. Make the hind leg circular.
Finally, add the rest of the base and the little pouch covering the outer flaps.
Before you draw a certain breed, spend a few minutes analyzing pictures of it. How do you need to modify the face’s proportions to achieve that look? How long is the fur, legs, tail? You don’t need to draw every little detail, but some elements are necessary if you want people to recognize the breed.
You certainly can. Just be careful not to damage your eraser, sometimes the ink from the pen can rub off onto it.
After you draw the skeleton, you can start “dressing” it with parts of the body. Feet…
Add a muzzle. It has the shape of a sack pinned to the point between the eyes.
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Add more features of the head. Add the eyes and make sure they are at the cross-section of the face’s guidelines. Now add the nose.
Feel free to exclude whatever details you don’t want to draw. You don’t have to draw the fur, for example, or the little dots by its nose, or as many whiskers, or even the individual toes if you want a very simple look.
Sketch the limbs, tail, and nails. Remember to use small strokes to make it appear furry.
Add the guidelines for the face. Add the nose area, guidelines for the face, and the ears.
Add two small oblongs on the lower part of the head, add a curved line connected to these circles. This will be your guide in drawing the nose and the mouth. Draw another pair of two small oblongs at the bottom of the body’s outline and add a long rectangle shape on one side.
Sketch a circle and an oblong. These will serve as the guide for the head and the body.
Can I make the eyes with colored pencil, marker, and a regular pencil?
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When drawing, pay special attention to the spine. In cats it’s very flexible, and it’s limited only by the ribcage and the hips.
After you sketch the pose and the anatomy, you can make your cat complete by adding fur. The longer the hair, the “fatter” every part of the body must be. Also remember that hair grows in a certain direction all over the body. Don’t forget about that “one-piece pajama” look!
Draw details of the face. Make the eyes almond shaped, draw the nose and in framing the face, draw small strokes to make the cat appear furry.
Color the finished cat. Use colored pencils, crayons, markers or watercolors
Drawing a cat is easy to do. While there are many possibilities, this tutorial will show you how to draw a cat in cartoon style and realistic style. From here, you should feel able to continue your cat drawing abilities, helped by observing any cats around you.
Español: dibujar un gato, Português: Desenhar um Gato, Italiano: Disegnare un Gatto, Deutsch: Eine Katze zeichnen, Nederlands: Een kat tekenen, Русский: нарисовать кота, 中文: 画猫, Français: dessiner un chat, العربية: رسم قط, Bahasa Indonesia: Menggambar Kucing, Čeština: Jak nakreslit kočku, 日本語: 猫を描く, Tiếng Việt: Vẽ mèo, ไทย: วาดแมว
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If your cat is short-haired, you can add ovals in the front of fingers and toes to accentuate the shape of the bones beneath. Also, don’t forget about the pads, if they’re visible, and the pisiform in the back of the forepaws!
Sketch the main shapes. Sketch a circle for the head. The body is a rectangle with a curved line at the end near to the head. A big fat oblong is drawn for the thigh area.
Place the eyes in the middle of each “eye patch.” They shouldn’t touch the muzzle, and they should be slightly crossed with that original eye line.
Draw the frame first, then the eye shape, then the pupil, and finally the details around the pupil.
Draw the basic shape of each paw. Notice that the 3D view (c) is a combined version of two 2D views (a, b).
Sketch the basic feature of the face. Add the mouth area, ears and face guidelines. Try to make the muzzle short and squarish.
Sometimes you can just draw a smaller version of the cats shown here, just with more fluffy fur and wider eyes. For more ideas, see How to Draw a Kitten.
Sketch circles and oblongs for the thighs, the legs, and the paws. There is 3 oblongs used in the picture for each leg.
Cut the muzzle into half, then cut the upper half as well. This will create the length of the nose bridge. In some breeds it may be longer (in others, shorter), but a half of the muzzle is a “safe” choice for a generic cat.
Cat ears are very complicated, not only difficult to draw, but also hard to imagine in 3D. They can’t be simplified to any basic form, but they can be roughly converted to a set of parts: a base (a), a “roll” or a “horse ear” (b), two pairs of flaps (c), a pouch (d), and the “front yard” (e). Even when covered in fur these parts define the shape of the ear.
Sketch the outline of the face. Make the cheeks appear plumped and the ears pointy and protruding on each side of the head.
Can I outline my drawing with a pen and erase the pencil sketching?
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There’s no one-and-only correct order for drawing the body. Sketch it the way you want! Again, practice with a lot of different photo references to understand it better and to make the movement more automatic for your hand. You need to work out your own method that will work best for you.