How to Draw a Cat with Colored Pencils

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Before You Start Drawing Your Cat

Cats are fantastic animals, and each one is unique, making it an excellent subject for drawing exercises. Using coloured pencils and a reference picture, this step by step will show you how to draw a picture of your favorite cats.

The Reference Photo

Cats don’t sit still for long and not when you need them to. That’s why it’s essential to have a photo to use as a reference for this project. Before you begin, select or take a picture of the cat you want to draw.

A lounging position like the portrait we use is great for any cat. It tends to show their personality and often when you get the most intense look in the eye. While it is a gray striped cat, you can apply these techniques to cats of any color and pattern.

Equipment and Techniques

The methods applied in this tutorial involve the basics of drawing ideas with colored pencils through careful shading, blending, and layering. With masking fluid, and a hint of gouache, the cat, lives with realistic detail.

You will require to have a set of colored pencils and graphite and a good eraser. Paper of your selection, cotton swabs, masking fluid, and white gouache paint is necessary to complete the lesson.

Start Outline Sketching

As always, start with a detailed sketch of the cat based on the picture. An excellent black pencil is all that is needed.

Use a rough rule to suggest where your cat’s stripes or other marks will be. Also, identify the size, shape, and position of the eyes and indicate the direction of the whiskers.

This is an excellent opportunity to decide how many of the cat’s breasts and legs will display and if you want to make any changes to the pose. Work on all of these initial details to make it easier to fill in the details as we go.

When the pencil sketch is as accurate as you want it to be, we will start coloring it. As you work, erase a small section of a black pencil and replace it with a colored pencil.

Start With The Eyes

A cat’s eyes are often the most enthralling part of a photo, so we’ll start in that area. It includes some fine details on the cat’s fur.

You are using your black pencil and a few preliminary strokes of color for the fur on the cat’s head and around his ears. Notice how the color strokes grow. It follows the natural direction of hair growth, which is worth paying attention to any animal.

Outline the eyelids — both top and bottom — with a sharp pencil. It may take five or six times to get the right intensity, and you may need to sharpen your pencil frequently.

Tip: A

Handheld pencil is the most efficient option to use while you work. It generates less pencil waste and is easy to pick up when needed. That’s not to say that electric sharpeners aren’t helpful. They are great for quickly preparing a brand new box of pencils and exposing it to lead.

The shading color of the Eye Area

Now it’s time to start adding color. The cat’s eyes are a brilliant green, though yours may be a yellow-gold or even blue. Select the three best colors for your cat’s eyes. The example uses light green and cadmium yellow simultaneously with turquoise for the darkest area.

Start with delicate shading on the iris of the eye. Pay attention to the shadows, which are usually closest to the pupil, and work with bright colors around the sides of the eyeball. With the proper shading, the eye can have a global look and outgoing paper.

The cat pupil slit is doing with a heavy black pencil. Go in and over this area using circular black strokes that follow the shape. Leave a white highlight in the middle. But off to each the left or right a bit, depending on the way of the light. This little bit adds realism to the portrait.


Select which side of the cat you want to work on first. It may be more comfortable to work from left to right, so you don’t waste your work if you are right-handed. The truth is actual if you are a leftie. If you choose to start from the opposite, use a slip sheet (scrap paper will do) to protect what you’ve got.

More Fur Shading on the Face

Drawing any animal’s hair requires patience, attention to detail, and building a pencil in layers. In this step, stripes coming from the eyes are forming with many layers of black. Some leave color while other areas are apparent.

Small, dark black strokes draw into the ear again. These go on to indicate the direction that the hair is growing and hiding. Small light strokes also start down the nasal bridge of the nose, and the hairs are usually tiny.

Shape the Nose and Beard

At this stage, you can return the whiskers. Use minor black marks to suggest where the beards on either side of the nose came from it. They usually arrange in even parallel rows.

You can see that this artist’s masking fluid is helpful for animal whiskers. Although you can use only dark, thin lines, it doesn’t quite catch the luminescence of fine, long hair. Run a thin line of masking liquid along your beard marks to avoid getting too close while shading the face. We will remove it and refine the spreading area later.

The nose has made up of pink, white, and Alizarin Crimson. Rub them between layers with a cotton swab to create a soft texture and blend them.

Add your Cat’s Stripes

More significant, flatter fur color shapes need between each stripe. To suggest a tabby color coat, use a blend of yellow ocher and natural umber shades. Smooth black, white, and gray cats can practice a few hints of color, so try to attach some.

At the same time, continue to add black strokes to the layers and build up the stripes. The deeper you can take into the cat’s coat, the extra realistic the drawing will be.


If you perform a line too dark, like on the left edge of the cat’s mouth here, do an Exacto knife to scar off excess color. This is a more sensitive process and will remove minor blemishes than an eraser. This will result in small, white strokes that you can leave to add depth or lightly fill with a softer touch.

Continue filling in the Texture and Detail.

With both shading and stroke, the cat continues to work down. Use your color and black pencils to choose the hair to suggest.

Keep an eye on your highlights and obscurations as you work. It is not unusual to need 5-7 layers for the darkest areas of the coat.

Drawing Whisker

Beards are often the most challenging part of drawing a cat. They are white but also need a soft line to give them form. It is almost impossible to erase enough color to make it as white as you want. Also, a white colored pencil does not have enough power cover for the job.

The solution to the colorful beard was the masking fluid we used before and a little white paint.

Remove the masking fluid and draw the framework back in for the whiskers. When the coat colors behind the beards are almost complete, paint the white area with gouache to make the beards clean and bright. Build it up in thin layers until your beards shine.

Background Completion

Shade the background with a large light yellow ocher, burnt sienna, and colored pencils to complete the cool drawings. Burn colors with a tissue between each layer.

Notice how the background is darker on the right and lighter on the left. This indicates the light source coming from the same direction of light to the pupil. This is a simple way to finish the photo and give it genuine visual interest.


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