How To Paint A Cat Portrait: 10 Easy Steps For Everyone

It’s a lot of fun to paint pets and sketch animals because the process itself is pleasing. Not only the copying of a photo but your brushstrokes and artistic decisions are also important. That’s what makes a painting so distinctive!

I like the grace of animals and their beauty. In this article, I’m going to introduce my method and provide you with ideas on how to paint a cat portrait and improve your painting skills.


Things To Prepare Before Painting A Cat Portrait

Before start sketching your lovely pet, you need to pay attention to some categories, namely tools and equipment. These are necessary since they will have a significant impact on how your painting looks and what vibe it gives out.

Atelier Interactive acrylic paints to construct daring color layers and to create a texture of the surface.

Old white porcelain dish abandoned: It is straightforward, it will not stain, and will offer me a good picture of my whole color blend.

16″ x 20″ Canvas or 8″ x 10″ canvas, or what you like

Brushes: 1″ Flat Brush; 1″ Angle Brush; Medium Round Brush (#3 or equivalent size)

10 Steps To Paint Your Cat Portrait (Detailed Guideline)

Step 1

Create the shape of a body, head, legs, and tail by drafting simple outlines. Notice the stance of your cat and attempt to mimic what you observe with your forms.

how to paint a cat portrait

Step 2

Cats have lovely faces! To correct, for the placement of its characteristics, set light vertical and horizontal indications on the middle of its head.

This step focuses on its eyes, nose, and mouth on these lines. Sketch its ears and paws next, then draw its ears.

Mix the lower circle of the tail with the oblong tail form. This cat is quite hairy, so I placed lines above and below the paws to depict hair ranks. Delete any preliminary sketch marks later, now that you have completed the drawing.

how to paint a cat portrait

Step 3

Now it's time for facial features. After drawing its eyes with pupils, draw all the little folds because the Persian cats are so flat on their front and beneath their noses.

how to paint a cat portrait

Step 4

I choose warm colors as this kitty is slightly orange-brown (Pearl Orange A214, Vermillion Red A145, Lemon Yellow A102).

First, pick where the cat's light shines. The light from the upper right corner looks here, and it indicates that the right side of the cat will be the lightest color.

For a cat portrait, two crucial elements are to paint hairs in the direction they develop (thus from base to tip) and to lay the fur in the appropriate direction on all sides of the cat's body and face.

Here’s what a fur map looks like when painting a cat portrait:

how to paint a cat portrait

Step 5

I see that there's very little light behind its ears and head and fur rings. Using Burnt Sienna A107, paint these sections darker.

how to paint a cat portrait

Step 6

Use cold tones in the shadows, where there is little light because this painting is using warm tones for the cat's hair. For this, apply Cerulean A123 both on the left and beneath the tail and the lines of the hair of the cat.

how to paint a cat portrait

Step 7

I think the ideal tone for the cat’s eyes is Olive Green A142! Add some shadows around her nose and beneath its chin to fully accentuate the wrinkles in its face.

For a picture, the eyes are of the utmost importance. It is vital to remember that the surface of the transparent horn shows highlights, whilst the shadows appear below the iris. This is particularly evident in the eyes of the cats since they have relatively small pupils.

how to paint a cat portrait

Step 8

Fill a mid-tone in all vacant places. Decorate the cat's fur by putting in individual hairs with a little brush, after adding a shadow behind the paws.

how to paint a cat portrait

Step 9

Darken the shadows to the left, the bottom of the tail, the torso, and the bottom of the face.

how to paint a cat portrait

Step 10

As the last step, I complete its face with the whiskers, the eyes, and fine hair in the ears.

Please note that they are not all the same length since their old hairs fall and new ones develop. Whiskers for a cat are also not the same size from bottom to end — they taper.

how to paint a cat portrait

Useful Tips On Painting A Cat Portrait

Create a roadmap for your cat’s fur and its skeleton structure. Remember: This should be done before painting the cat.

If it didn't work for the initial stroke, get rid of it and do it again!

People appreciate the young, little brushes. If you don’t feel that you’re making enough impact as desired, use a large brush.

Eyes should be carefully paid attention to. They are usually the first thing that we notice, and they provide us with hints about the nature of an animal. Paint more colors than you think, then in the end, add white brightness or an accent to make every eye come alive.

I think that filbert brushes are, perhaps, ideal for painting curved hair, where you paint parts of your hair instead of individual strands with the curled texture of the fur. The rounded curvature of the filbert brush makes the curving strokes gentler than a flat brush possible.

I'd use a circular brush for straight hair, which implies that the short hair lengths require a further stroke to create fur texture. Also, you should use a round detailed brush or a sword liner depending on the scale of the painting for fine information such as stray hair strings that you can find in practically every race.

The bove guideline is related to acrylic painting. If you want to try a different method, check out this video for a cat oil portrait:


You should try cat paintings, I strongly suggest. Don’t hesitate to use these methods as a guide to capturing your young kitten's antics, your ancient tomcat curled up asleep, or even one of the large cats at the zoo! No matter what feline model you pick, have fun!

Luna Tran

My name is Luna and I am a great cat lover and a cat owner of three lovely cats. I have owned many cats till now and have dedicated many years to nurturing and caring cats. Through this blog, I am here to share my knowledge and experience about cats.