How to Paint a Cat's Face


A beloved pet and companion with striking features, the cat is a desirable subject for painting, particularly its face, which is dramatic and full of expression. While there is certainly no formula for creating any sort of art, painting a cat's face does not have to be the daunting task that it seems. By breaking down the feline features into more basic shapes and adding necessary shade and color, you can bring the cat's theatrical visage to life.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • 1 fan paint brush
  • 1 small-medium paint brush
  • Plastic palette
  • Canvas or canvas board

Painting the Cat's Face

  • Draw a rounded, downward pointing triangular shape that is approximately four inches at its top (its widest point) in the middle of your canvas. Round the bottom point so that the shape resembles a round-bottomed, flat-topped heart. This will be the outline of the cat's face.

  • Draw two wide triangles on top of the left and right side of the face outline. These will be the cat's ears.

  • Mix one part burnt umber, one part raw sienna and one part black on your palette. Dip your small brush in color. Apply paint over your pencil lines, omitting the line between the ears and the face. In the middle of the face outline paint two circles approximately 1/2 inch apart. These will be the cat's eyes.

  • Paint two vertical lines coming down from the inner corner of each eye using the same color. The lines should slant inward slightly and should each be approximately 1/2 inch long. At the end of the lines, in between them, paint a downward pointing triangle. Fill in the triangle with the same color. This will be the cat's nose.

  • Paint a vertical line of approximately 1/4 inch coming down from the cat's nose. The line should reach the bottom of the face outline. On either side of this line, paint three or four horizontal lines of approximately 1/2 inch each. These are the markings of whiskers. Clean your brush.

  • Mix two parts raw sienna, one part burnt umber and 1/2 part white on your palette. Dip your small brush in this color. Fill in the outline of the face and the ears with this color, leaving the darker lines and markings uncovered, and leaving the eyes blank. Clean your brush.

  • Mix one part black and two parts burnt umber. Dip your small brush in color. Apply this darker color to the tips of the ears, at the outer corners of the eyes, under the eyes where the cheek area is on the forehead and wherever else you would like to place darker markings. Clean your brush.

  • Brush your dry fan brush against the wet paint on the cat's face and ears using short, up and outward leading strokes. Blend as much or little as you want, allowing the colors to soften and spread to create the illusion and texture of fur. Clean your brush.

  • Mix one part Hooker's green, one part cadmium yellow and 1/2 part yellow ochre on your palette. Dip your small brush in this color. Fill in the outline of the eyes with this color. Clean your brush.

  • Dip your small brush in black paint. Apply a small dot to the center of each eye. These are the pupils.

Tips & Warnings

  • Depending on how fluffy you want to make the cat's face, use shorter or longer strokes with the dry fan brush.

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