Friday, January 6, 2012

From Sketch to Finish No. 1: Kitty Cat

Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been? 
I've been to London to visit the Queen.

I've never drawn a house cat before. Isn't that strange? For each new thing one draws, there is a bit of a learning process. You think you know how a thing looks, so you draw it and realize quickly that you didn't really know. 

Then, you find reference photos and accidentally spend three hours looking at cute kittens on google. 

Next, you draw more cats that may or may not look like your reference photos. But, you start to really see what a cat is about. 

Then, you start playing with shapes as you adapt your kitty to your own style, hoping against hope these atrocious pictures will never appear online. The expression "There are many ways to skin a cat" should have been "There are many ways to butcher a drawing of a cat."

But, eventually, something nice happens on your page, so you keep it and keep on sketching.

Finally, you grow tired of sketching, pull out your canvas, and work out the rest of your snags and tangles with paint, which can be layered to hide your less successful moments. I think he turned out pretty solid in the end:

  I think I shall have to draw more cats. I'm allergic to and suspicious of the real thing, but they are rather attractive animals. Happy Paint Party Friday!

Another cat I made from these sketches. This guy's already in my shop as a super cute postcard.


  1. "Thoroughly untrustworthy"...I love it! Your narrative of learning to draw the cat is so entertaining! Looking forward to reading and seeing more :)

    Sadee @ a Picturebook Life

  2. Great post! You're illuminating!
    Happy new year!

  3. What a great journey into the land of cat painting! I like your little cats a lot.

    I was wondering if you could change your blog to work like PPF's blog works. I can't put in my URL into the box, I had to subscribe to wordpress so that i could have something that works. If you accepted name/URL, those of us with our own websites could comment more easily. Thanks!

  4. Oh how sweet. Great post and step by step process. Nice job.

  5. Very nice painting!

    Happy New Year and
    Happy PPF!!
    Mixed-Media Map Art

  6. I love this post and am so glad I found your blog via PPF as your work is gorgeous! If you ever visit my blog you'll see I'm a bit of a mad animal lover, mostly dogs but all animals rate with me so I love to see other artists' animal work! Your cat is so cute and i love the sketches leading up to him as well. I can also totally relate to the losing 3 hours of your life googling reference photos phenomenon - happens to me all the time!

  7. So true about thinking you know what a thing looks like, until you try and draw it. I love all these kitten sketches, and the card is fantastic, perfectly sums up my feelings about cats. I mean, I like them in theory, it's living with them that's difficult. Oh wait...that's men.

  8. Great exploratory sketches and love your final painting ~ thanks, namaste, Carol (Share the Creative Journey) Happy PPF ^_^

  9. Loving seeing your process of drawing cats and they look great. Happy PPF, Annette x

  10. There's nothing to be suspicious about cats - they are clearly their own master and we are their servants...

    Loved your little lesson you shared here and the most delightful result :)

  11. This is such a fantastic post, Charlie! I loved getting a glimpse into your process (I too have spent many, many hours mesmerized by cute cat photos in a google search for reference! Ha!)


    p.s. There were a lot of compliments on your "Steampunk Librarian" this holiday season when people stopped by my house!

  12. Your post makes me laugh as I adore the scary furry little things! Haaa.
    Your sketches are wonderful.
    The final piece of Black Cat with Bow is GREAT!
    Wishing you a wonderful 2012!
    Sheri Cook/HappyHorseStudio

  13. You are so funny. I love your kitties.

  14. Thoroughly untrustworthy! LOL! What a great post and great evolution of kitty drawings. Great results!