Wouldn't you like to learn how to draw cats? Being a cat lover myself, drawing cats and kittens have always been one of my favorite artistic past times. The steps featured here will simplify and help you proceed with drawing cats using a few key drawing tools.
Drawing cats can be done using the brush tool, the eraser tool, and the smudge tool. You do not even need to make up custom brushes as we will be using the default brush sets. The textured brushes that you need to look for are a sponge brush, a chalk brush, and a fine point brush.
Using a combination of these textures with the three tools mentioned, you will be amazed at how easily you can draw in complicated fur. Having said that, basic drawing skills are a requirement, especially knowing how to create quick gesture sketches that focus on form.
This will help you see shapes and motion of your subject with ease and to reduce guessing games of what goes where. Ideally, you should have mentally picture the shapes that compose a cat and then transfer this knowledge down to create a drawing.
As with anything, learning how to draw cats require that you should start off by studying the cat's form. It could be as simple as having a quick look at a cat's anatomy to build up a quick gesture sketch. For the gesture sketch itself, look for triangles, circles, and squares.
Once the initial sketch is done, create a layer underneath it and shade it in completely in a way that it matches the initial gesture sketch. The purpose of this is to create a backdrop to add details. From here, lock the layer down and start to block in shading.
Locking down the layer will prevent you from coloring outside of the solid backdrop. With a chalk brush, block in shadowed areas under the chin, the near, the underside of the mouth, and the indents in the eyes. At the same time, suggest where the fur direction is headed with simple long strokes.
Once you have a rough object, go ahead and merge both the gesture sketch and the backdrop together. The hard lines found on the gesture sketch will be used to create additional shading when you start to smudge the entire cat drawing together.
The smudge tool in combination with a chalk brush head will create jagged edges. Use it to blend in the gesture lines with the rest of the drawing to simulate fur. However, be careful on direction. You do not want to smudge in a way that looks unnatural.
The process of smudging is usually in small short bursts back and forth. The idea is to create bands of color value to give an illusion of fur (especially those found near the neck region). It's also a good idea to continue blocking in areas to be smudged in for creation of more bands.
All smudge direction should have a central focal point. That means gesture lines that are at the edge must be smudged inwards as though collapsing on a point in the center of the cat object. Similarly, creating fur bands will require smudging outwards of the central point.
The size of the smudge tool can be changed to fit the job. Swap to a smaller sized smudge brush for facial features whenever necessary and use larger smudge brushes for larger areas of fur like the body. Remember to always follow the natural flow of fur.
You will be spending a lot of time in this step in order to draw realistic fur. The brush tips that is most useful here will be the ones that look like a sponge. It will create the necessary streaks of fine fur without manually having to draw individual strands.
With the brush tool set to the sponge tip, lightly draw in bands of fur that corresponds to the direction of the fur. Increase or lower the size of the brush to work on large or smaller areas respectively. Use a lighter color near the mouth and nose region to make the snout stand out.
Even with the advantage of the sponge texture, you will still need to draw individual strands. The area that has the most would be the inner ears. Consider swapping to a single point brush head and carefully draw in those single strands.
Lastly, the chalk brush head is still very useful for finishing up think details like the eyes, mouth, and nose. You can even use it to dab in whisker points. Once you are done with this step, the final step would be to add weight to the entire cat through lighting and shading.
Showing a light source and how it hits the cat is a crucial part in learning how to draw cats. The best way to do this is on a separate layer with a round brush. The soft edges of these brushes will seamlessly blend a unifying hue over a large area.
Always start with the edge of the cat drawing and move inwards. After that, you can glaze in smaller areas like the snout or the nose bridge. Keeping it on a different layer will help you adjust the lighting as needed without damaging all the hard work up to this point.
The eyes may also need attention. Use the chalk brush to block in some white to give an illusion of reflection. Do so for the nose as well to give a healthy looking cat. Redraw in any additional fur around the face to make it a bit more realistic.
Always do the whiskers last, and preferably, on a different layer. This is to ensure that you can go back and redraw the fur without the whiskers covering up the cat object. When drawing whiskers, use the points on the snout and fan out each individual strand.
Should anything look out of place, try flipping the entire canvas. Sometimes, looking at it through a flipped version will help you pick up subtle things that may not look right. Once flipped, the rest is just finishing up the details.
To make colors stand out a bit more, set up a global contrast smart filter (Photoshop only) to adjust the lighting. Otherwise, duplicate and merge the entire drawing to form a separate layer. Put this new layer on top of your original cat object and then set the layer's blend mode of the layer to soft light. Then, scale the opacity accordingly to adjust color contrast.