Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase by clicking on an affiliate link, Nevue Fine Art Marketing may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Affiliate relationships include, but are not limited to, Bluehost, Tailwind, Skimlinks, SareASale and StudioPress. To learn more visit Affiliate Link Disclosure Policy
Drawing Cat Eyes
Would you like to learn how to draw realistic cat eyes?
In this easy drawing tutorial, I am going to share with you all of the steps I take when I draw detailed cat eyes.
Learning how to draw a cat face starts with learning the cat’s anatomy.
For information on a cat’s eye anatomy visit – Eye Structure and Function In Cats
The proportions are essential for drawing realistic cats, and in my opinion, the eyes are something you should put extra time in.
Some people believe that the eyes are the windows of the soul and, in most cases, are the focal point of any portrait.
How To Draw Cats Eyes For Beginners
What you will need for this drawing tutorial:
- Reference image (The reference I am using for this eye drawing tutorial is courtesy of Pixabay.)
A Set of Tombow Mono Professional Drawing Pencils or your favorite graphite drawing pencils.
Pencil grades needed for this tutorial:
Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Board Pads 9″ x 12″ Velum or your favorite drawing paper.
I recommend practicing on a drawing surface you will be using for your final drawing.
Over the years I have tried multiple brands of drawing paper. For my drawing style, Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Board Pads 9″ x 12″ Velum is the best. I use this paper for all of my commission drawings and original drawings.
Erasers needed for this tutorial:
Blending Tools needed for this tutorial
Blending tools are optional. The majority of my drawings are done with graphite and erasers. I create soft value changes by adding multiple layers of graphite on the drawing surfaces. I will, however, use blending tools for softening lines.
Step 1 – Sketch The Eyes Of The Cat
The first step of drawing the cat’s eyes is to sketch the contour (shape) of the eyes lightly on the drawing surface.
There are several different drawing techniques you can use to draw the shape of an eye.
- Sketch the eyes freehand
- Use the grid method
- Trace the eyes with graphite tracing paper
- Use a lightbox
Drawing the contour of the cat’s eyes accurately is an essential step in a realistic cat drawing.
You can shade the eyes perfectly, but if the proportions of the eyes are incorrect, the finished drawing will look off.
I use the grid method for all my realism drawings.
I know many artists who trace the subject on the drawing surface or use a projector.
One of the problems I have encountered with tracing the subject is that the line traced on the drawing surface will be difficult to erase. The dark line will create a problem when you start to blend in the values.
If you are not familiar with the grid method you can watch how I use the grid method step by step in a tutorial I have on TableWise of you can purchase the video tutorial.
- How To Draw Realistic Drawings – TableWise (Monthly Fee – Try it free for 30 days)
- Purchase Video Tutorial – Watch as many times as you wish.
Draw Realistic Cat Eyes Tips
- Use an H2 pencil to lightly sketch the shape of the cat’s eyes
- Do not press hard with the pencil so you can remove and blend the lines easier
- Make sure the proportions of the eye drawing is correct
- Pay close attention to your reference image when blocking in the detail. (The reference I am using for this eye drawing tutorial is courtesy of Pixabay.)
- Study the cat’s pupils. The pupils can range from large circles to skinny capsule shapes depending on the light source
- Check your sketch for mistakes by looking at your drawing and your reference image sideways and upsidedown. It is easier to identify uneven shapes when you look at the picture at different angles
Pixabay is a vibrant community of creatives, sharing copyright-free images and videos. All contents are released under the Pixabay License, which makes them safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist – even for commercial purposes. (Source: Pixabay)
Step 2 – Shade The Cat’s Eyes
Begin by studying the reference image and identify where the darkest values are.
Start adding graphite to the pupil and inner part of the eye with a 2H pencil by using light lines that overlap each other.
Tip – Make sure that you use light, even pressure, and do not leave spaces between the lines you are drawing. You can make the area darker by drawing over the area with softer leads when you have completed conditioning the paper with your 2H pencil.
Conditioning the paper with a 2H pencil will prevent the finished drawing from having “white dots”.
Using a harder lead like a 2H pencil will allow you to add graphite slowly to the valleys of the “tooth” of the paper.
Some artists get impatient and use a softer lead to draw the darker values just to speed up the drawing process.
A softer lead will draw a darker line but there will be a lot of white spots and imperfections that will be noticeable because the soft lead does not reach the bottom of the valleys of the “tooth” of the paper.
The white imperfections will make your drawing not look as realistic. Cat’s eye does not have a bunch of white dots all over them.
Take the time to condition the paper with your 2H pencil.
After you have conditioned the drawing surface you can continue to add value to different areas by drawing over the conditioned areas with softer leads. This process will also allow you to erase and blend the values easier.
Start shading in the eye and add the shadow of the eyelid and the tones along the bottom lid with your 2H pencil.
Study your reference image and add in all of the details of the eye.
The values should complement the values of the darkest parts of the eye like the pupil.
Use your kneaded eraser to lift lighter areas and pay attention to the highlights and reflection of the cat’s eyes.
Keep referring to your reference image and adust the values and details before moving on.
Drawing Fur Around The Cat’s Eyes
Shading the eyes is just the first step.
You will want to add the soft fur around the eyes to complete the realistic drawing.
Start by studying the direction, color, and length of the fur from your reference image.
Lightly draw the fur with an HB and 2H pencil.
Blend the fur with your Loew-Cornell Blending Stump.
Remove highlights with your
Draw Realistic Cat Eyes With Color
The rules for drawing realistic cat eyes are the same no matter what medium you wish to use.
The only thing different is when it comes to adding different values of colors.
Drawings Of Cats Eyes
Here are sone examples of cats that I have drawn over the years so you can observe how I have drawn cat eyes with pastels.
Learning how to draw a cat’s eye starts with observing images of the cat’s eyes and how other artists draw and paint the cat’s eyes.
More Draw Realistic Cat Eyes Tips
- Use high-quality art materials
- Keep your pencil sharp
- Do not touch your drawing surface
- Always refer to your reference image
- Add layers of graphite slowly
- Work from dark to light
- Lighten areas with an eraser
- Only use blending tools for the finishing touches
- Do not rush the process
More Drawing Tutorials
- How To Preserve Pencil Drawings
- How To Keep Graphite Drawings Clean
- How To Draw Realist Hair
- How To Shade Drawings
- The elements Of Shading
- How To Draw Realistic Eyes
I purchase all of my art supplies from Blicks.com. They have great prices, free shipping if you spend a certain amount, and ship items quickly.
- Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Board Pads 9″ x 12″ Smooth
- Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Board Pads 9″ x 12″ Velum
Shading Pencils Set
- General’s Factis Magic Black Eraser
- Tombow Mono Zero Refillable Eraser
- Prismacolor Kneaded Rubber Erasers
- Alvin Dry Cleaning Pad