I am not asked to draw cat pet portraits as often as dogs, but I have done a few.
The first feline shown on this page is far from being a pet though! It is a Scottish Wildcat which I had the pleasure of photographing a few years ago. I cropped right into those staring eyes and included just enough face to put the eyes into context in this drawing.
Those eyes of differing shades of green grab your attention and hold it, but I used many green pencils throughout the fur also. Other unexpected colours include indigo blue, orange, bright red and purple! Layers of these colours were included along with beiges, creams, browns and greys to build up those tiny fur strokes and give a realistic effect.
This is only a small drawing and I am thinking of making it into a tutorial for my pencil topics website where you can learn all about coloured pencil and give it a go yourself.
Scottish Wildcat close up
Although some people are lucky enough to spend many years with their cats, that is not always the case. This lovely boy left his owners well before his time and their kind neighbours commissioned this picture as a memorial for them.
I actually drew him twice as I wasn't satisfied with my first attempt. It was my first time with thick, fluffy fur and I didn't quite capture it the first time around. He looked more like a Persian than a Maine Coone! In such situations I will alter a portrait if possible, but if not, then I start over in order to produce an improved version.
In this instance the completed work elicited tears not only from the owners of the cat but also the commissioner, Rob.
Henderson, a memorial portrait of a beautiful Maine Coone
Pet portraits are most often commissioned in colour, but sometimes an owner will request a graphite picture, as was the case with Leo, one of my early drawings.
He is a smart ginger and white fellow and the apple of Penny's eye. This was drawn from a phone snapshot which was actually a great portrait when you eliminated the background from the photo. Unusually for indoor shots, the lighting worked well, as the shadows and highlights helped to give form and shape to his facial structure. Without the benefit of colour it is helpful to have side lighting, as in this portrait, to help show that the chin, cheeks and nose come forward from the rest of the head.
Although much of the fur appears white, very little of this drawing was left as bare paper. A very light layer of graphite was laid over all but the highlighted areas on the bridge of the nose and the edges of the cheeks.
The shades of orange fur were depicted with softer grades of graphite which give a darker tone.
Leo, in graphite pencil
Your cat is as much a part of the family as any other member, and deserves a pencil portrait, in either colour or black and white. All I need to create that special memory for you is a clear photograph that shows its character, markings and fur directions.
If you would like a head and shoulders portrait then try to get the camera close enough, but not too close otherwise the photo can become distorted. Take care to include the tops of your pet's ears and enough of the neck to allow a natural stopping point unless you want an extreme close up as with the Wildcat at the top of the page.
Please use the contact page to drop me an e-mail so we can discuss your requirements. I would be happy to work with you to create that special cat pet portrait for your wall.