When in Doubt, Draw a Cat

UPDATE: My cat, Hugo, passed on July 7, 2021. He will always be with me.

In the past few years, I've often drawn my cat. I have worked both full-time and part-time, sometimes in an office, other times in a store, and most recently in a hybrid office-consultant situation. The cat is here when I come home and is a readily available model for quick sketches. 

Page from sketchbook with notes to self and a list of favorite drawing subjects.

As you can see from this sketchbook, I have listed other things I like to draw. Drawing my cat is always a fallback position for developing a steady drawing practice. Most all of the things on this list constitute real things that I can either go see in the park or look at in my apartment. I will then draw them observationally from real life. 

The cat is focused!

I like to make drawings of my cat, because I love my little guy. Actually, he's overweight, alas, so he's not so little. He's black with green eyes, and he's often challenging to draw. Most often, I just draw his features, gestures, and expressions. He's easiest to draw when he's asleep. 

The cat is half-asleep while looking at birds out the window.

If you look at a cat for any length of time, they don't keep still and are constantly rearranging themselves.

These are fine pencils for drawing.

Since the cat does move a lot, I approach drawing the cat like the quick sketches at the beginning of life drawing sessions. Those quick poses are a way to get into the groove of drawing, like doing stretching exercises before a run or a long hike. 

Quick sketch of a cat waiting for dinner.

In the first image, I made a note that I had gone to a nearby park to draw but gave up because it was too windy. When it's too windy, draw a cat. 

While most of my cat sketches stay at this basic level, I have sometimes gotten fancy and combined cat drawings into something more elaborate. For Christmas 2019, I made small daily mixed media paintings with the cat as a character in a holiday story.

Part of a larger collage of little drawings made on construction paper.

Cats are a fine subject for fine artists. Leonardo da Vinci is reported to have said, "The smallest feline is a masterpiece." 

More cats on the Cat Sketches page.


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