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How to Draw a Super Cute Kitten Step by Step

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Who doesn't love kittens? They're so cute and fluffy! In this tutorial I will show you how to draw a fluffy kitten from scratch, with a bow on its neck for even more cuteness. As a bonus, I will also show you how to shade and color it quickly in Adobe Photoshop!

Disclaimer: this process only shows how to draw a kitten in one particular pose and style. If you want to draw a more realistic cat, check out this tutorial:

1. How to Sketch a Kitten's Body

Step 1

Start with a simple rectangle—this will be the main body of the kitten. You don't need to use a ruler for this; it's just a sketch.

rectangle body

Step 2

Draw a circle next to the rectangle. This will be the head. Again, it doesn't need to be a perfect circle.

rectangle and circular head

Step 3

Imagine a cross in the center of the kitten's face, and then "move" it towards the direction the kitten is looking in.

head direction

Step 4

Draw a vertical line under the body to touch the "ground". Then sketch the perspective of the ground to know where to put the paws.

ground perspective

Step 5

Draw one set of paws...

paws in perspective

... then the other one. Can you see now what we needed the perspective lines for?

how to draw legs in perspective

Step 6

Finally, draw the tail.

cat tail

2. How to Draw a Kitten in Perspective

Step 1

Draw the front of the kitten's shoulder. Leave some space for the neck.

kitten shoulder

Step 2

Draw the back part of the shoulder.

cat shoulder drawing

Step 3

Draw the other shoulder using the perspective lines as a reference.

cat shoulders in perspective

Step 4

Draw the fluffy thigh...

cat thigh drawing

... and create another one in the back.

cat thigh in perspective

Step 5

Draw stumpy legs reaching the ground.

cat legs drawing

Step 6

Attach paws to the legs.

cat paws drawing

Step 7

Add one more finger on the side. It should be roughly rectangular.

cat fingers drawing

Step 8

Connect the hind legs with the thigh.

cat hind leg drawing

Step 9

To create the tail, cross its line with width-lines...

cat tail drawing

... then outline them.

how to draw cat tail

Step 10

Finish the form of the body.

how to draw cat body in perspective

3. How to Draw a Kitten's Head

Step 1

Attach a teardrop-shaped muzzle to the circular head.

kitten muzzle

Step 2

Divide the muzzle into four parts.

kitten muzzle proportions

Step 3

Draw a line across these parts to define its 3D shape—it's the outline of the muzzle seen in side view converted to this 3/4 view.

kitten muzzle in perspective

Step 4

Draw two lines from the middle of the muzzle towards the brow line.

kitten eyes proportions

Step 5

Draw the forehead, creating some space for the eyes.

kitten forehead

Step 6

Put circular eyes in that space.

kitten eyes drawing

Step 7

Draw the triangular nose under the halfway point of the muzzle.

kitten nose

Step 8

Draw two lines going downwards the muzzle from the nose.

kitten mouth

Step 9

Use these lines as guide lines for the smile.

how to draw kitten smile

Step 10

Draw the chin right under the smiling mouth.

kitten chin

Step 11

Go from the corners of the mouth and around the face to define its outline.

kitten cheekbones

Step 12

Attach cat ears to the top of the head.

kitten head
kitten ears

Step 13

Add details to the shape of the ears.

kitten ears in perspective
how to draw cat ears

4. How to Draw a Ribbon Bow and Finish the Drawing

Step 1

Draw a collar around the kitten's neck.

how to draw cat collar

Step 2

Draw the center part of the bow under the kitten's chin.

how to draw a bow

Step 3

Draw wavy sides of the bow.

how to draw a ribbon bow

Step 4

Copy the waves towards the center, creating the folds.

how to draw bow in perspective

Step 5

Outline the folds.

how to draw a cute bow

Step 6

Finally, draw all the kitten details over the sketch. Feel free to go your own way here!

how to draw a cute kitten

5. How to Prepare a Drawing for Digital Painting

We're done with drawing, and here's a bonus part, if you want to color your kitten digitally. You just need a graphics tablet and Adobe Photoshop for it, and a set of basic brushes, for example the one you can download here:

Step 1

Prepare your line art for digital work. If you've drawn it traditionally, clean it up and remove the background first:

Step 2

Open your digital line art and create a New Layer underneath.

how to add a new layer in photoshop

Step 3

Click the line art layer and lower its Opacity to make it only half visible.

how to change layer opacity in photoshop
half transparent line art

Step 4

Take a hard, precise brush (for example Ink from my set), select a vivid color, and draw a basic outline of the kitten on that lower layer. Make sure the outline is closed!

how to draw an outline in photoshop

Step 5

Use the Magic Wand Tool (W) and click the area inside the outline.

how to select the inside of an otuline in photoshop

Step 6

Fill the area using the trick described in this one minute video:

how to fill an outline in photoshop

Step 7

Lock transparent pixels for this layer. This way you'll be painting only inside the outline from now on.

how to lock transparent pixels in photoshop

6. How to Shade a Kitten in Adobe Photoshop

Step 1

Select a dark shade of gray, about 25%.

how to select gray

Step 2

Paint over the kitten body. Can you see how locked transparency keeps the color from crossing the outline?

paint darkest shadows

Step 3

Select a brighter shade, about 50%.

how to select colors in photoshop

Step 4

Take a brush with transparency controlled by the pressure of your pen (for example my Sketch Detail). Paint the body of the kitten, staying away from the lines.

sculpt ambient occlusion

Step 5

Take the Mixer Brush Tool now (hold the Shift key and press B four times). We need its default settings, so if you have used it before, open its menu and select Reset Tool.

how to use the mizer brush tool

Step 6

"Paint" over the shading with this tool to soften it. This is how it should look under the line art.

how to blend shades in photoshop

Step 7

Let's continue with another level of shade. This time make it quite bright, about 70%...

brighter shade

... paint the surface illuminated generally by the light source...

brighter shading

... and blend it with the Mixer Brush Tool.

blending shades

Step 8

Take an even brighter shade (about 90%)...

bright shade

... give more light to the directly illuminated parts...

how to shade a kitten in photoshop

... and blend it.

how to blend colors in photoshop

Step 9

Finally, pick white...

white shade

... give it to the brightest points...

how to shade an animal in photoshop

... and blend it all.

how to shade softly

Step 10

That was light. Now we need to add a special kind of shadow that will give detail to this lighting sculpture. Take the Lasso Tool (L) and select an area that's behind another object, for example the paw in the background.

how to select with lasso tool

Step 11

Take a very soft brush, a dark shade, and gently darken the area right behind the obstacle.

how to paint darkest shadows

Step 12

Do the same with all the other blocked areas. Can you see how detailed it became?

how to paint sharp crevice shadows

Step 13

Hold the Control key and click both layers, and then right click them and select Merge Layers. We're going to paint right over them now.

Take that shading brush again and paint over the soft shades and the line art to cover them with patches of shades. Use the Eyedropper Tool (hold the Alt key while painting) to pick the shade from an area, and then paint over it. This is a great method to create the impression of fur.

how to paint with basic brushes in photoshop
how to remove the line art in photoshop
how to make the line art disappear

7. How to Modify Your Digital Painting

Step 1

The best thing about digital painting is that it can be modified freely! So let's say we want to change the shape of our kitten's tail. Go to Filter > Liquify and use the Forward Warp Tool (W) to reshape it. Be careful—you have only one Control-Z in this mode!

how to use liquify filter

This mode allows you do everything with the painting! I decided to make the eyes slightly smaller with the Pucker Tool (S).

how to warp in photoshop

OK... now they're too small, so I'd better modify the muzzle to fit them.

how to modify painting in photoshop

And the ears turned out too big for this big muzzle, so let's change them too.

how to reshape painting in photoshop

I... think it looks more like a big cat now, so let's adjust the rest of the body to that bigger size as well.

how to change shape of something in photoshop

Step 2

The neck is too short for this bigger kitty, so let's fix it. Use the Lasso Tool (L) to select the head and drag it to its new position with the Move Tool (V).

how to move selection

Step 3

Use the Lasso Tool (L) again to select the area that's missing from the body now.

how to select empty space

Step 4

Go to Edit > Fill and select Content-Aware. Press OK and see the neck filled!

how to fill empty space in photoshop

Step 5

After all these modifications, we need to adjust the shading too. So take your shading brush and paint it again.

how to paint details with basic brush

8. How to Color a Digital Painting

Step 1

Shading is not everything! Let's add some color now. Right click the layer and select Duplicate Layer. Change the Blend Mode of the copy to Multiply. This mode makes the dark parts of the layer darken the colors underneath.

mutliply blend mode

Step 2

Lock transparent pixels for the original layer. We're going to paint on it again.

lock transparent pixels

Step 3

Take a soft brush and color the kitten freely. First the general colors...

how to color quickly in photoshop

... then the details.

how to add colors to a grayscale painting in photoshop

Step 4

Our kitten is shaded, but it looks very dark. Let's add some light! Duplicate the upper layer again and change its Blend Mode to Overlay. This mode makes the bright parts of the layer lightening the colors underneath, but its dark parts work just like the Multiply mode...

overlay blend mode

Step 5

... so we need to make some adjustments. Right click the layer and select Blending Options. Go to the Blend If section and drag the upper black marker to the right. Can you see how the dark parts of the layer disappear?

how to use blending options
remove shadow

Step 6

To make the transition smoother, hold Alt and split the marker. You can now drag both halves to achieve the effect you want.

how to use blend if in photoshop
soft shadow transition

Step 7

There's one more problem with the Overlay mode, though—it brightens both bright values and dark values the same, but black shouldn't reflect so much light, no matter how strongly you illuminate it! Blend If has a solution for this problem as well: just drag the lower marker to exclude the dark parts from the Overlay Mode.

how to exculde dark parts of the layer
how to manage values in photoshop

This marker can be split as well.

how to split blend if markers
soft blending of light and shadow

If I got you intrigued by this powerful, yet relatively unknown tool, check out this quick tutorial to understand how it works:

Step 8

This shading is very rough, though, so we need to adjust it manually now. That's how it is with Photoshop—it does some magic, but in the end it's you who must create the painting!

Take your shading brush and paint the details using the Eyedropper Tool all the time to keep everything as suggested by the lighting.

draw tiger face
how to paint creature in photoshop

Step 9

When you're done, you can create another level of detail by making the image bigger (Control-Alt-I)...

how to make image bigger in photoshop

... and painting with a very small brush that wasn't available in that previous resolution.

how to draw fur in photoshop
big cat face painting in photoshop
how to paint sabertooth cat
cat paws how to draw
cat fur how to draw

Step 10

You're done! Now add some shadow and/or background, and save it in a smaller resolution to publish (nobody needs to see the "working" resolution). You can also experiment with sharpening for the final touch (Filter > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen).

how to paint a beast in photoshop

So Cute!

Now you know how to draw a kitten, and how to paint it quickly digitally using Adobe Photoshop. What? That painted kitten doesn't look like a kitten? How dare you! Wild bear-cats need love too...

Before you go, don't forget to check the date!

how to draw a cute kitten step by step
how to quickly paint a feline creature in photoshop
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