Grid Drawings - Learn How To Draw A Cat

Grid drawings are simple enough for people who are daunted by the task of drawing a picture without a starting point. Even professional artists are known to use grid drawings to enlarge small objects, so never underestimate the power of this technique! You might wonder how you can draw a picture on a grid, but is quite simple as you can use graph paper with large squares, or even make your own grid as I did in this tutorial. Grid drawings are also useful for enlarging a small object when sketching, although in the subject I drew for this picture I did not do that. However, when I was in high school our geometry teacher had us each enlarge a picture from a small comic strip to draw on a 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet of printer paper, which shows this drawing lesson could work in both math and art. Drawing on a grid can be quite fun, and this is an art project that can be tailored to the ability level of most anyone. You can buy graph paper with large squares for this drawing project, or make your own as I did with a ruler. Personally, I always prefer to make my own grid paper as I can customize it to my needs this way!

Here is what my completed sketch of Maxx on the grid turned out.  The markers help to cover the marks made by the grid.
Here is what my completed sketch of Maxx on the grid turned out. The markers help to cover the marks made by the grid. | Source
I used a ruler to create grid on the reference photograph of Max, which will be the guide I use for drawing on my graph paper.
I used a ruler to create grid on the reference photograph of Max, which will be the guide I use for drawing on my graph paper. | Source

First I used a ruler to create a grid on the reference photograph of Maxx. 

I used the grid on the reference photograph to guide where I should begin drawing the picture of Max.
I used the grid on the reference photograph to guide where I should begin drawing the picture of Max. | Source

On my blank paper I also made a grid, and I will use the grid on the reference photograph to determine what I should draw in each box.  Using a graph for drawing is a helpful technique for focusing on one part of a drawing at a time.

Here I have begun to add more details to the cradle Maxx is sitting in.  It is a doll cradle, so small enough for a kitten.
Here I have begun to add more details to the cradle Maxx is sitting in. It is a doll cradle, so small enough for a kitten. | Source

When I start sketching in the details on the graph, I usually start at the top working with one box at a time.  Sketch in each square of your graph however you wish, but focusing on one square at a time is the easiest technique for me.

Here I am beginning to sketch the outline of the cradle Maxx is in, and the top part of his body peeking out.
Here I am beginning to sketch the outline of the cradle Maxx is in, and the top part of his body peeking out. | Source

One satisfying element of the grid drawing method is watching your picture slowly take shape.

Here I am rounding out the bottom of Maxx's cradle, and changing other details on the sketch as I go along.
Here I am rounding out the bottom of Maxx's cradle, and changing other details on the sketch as I go along. | Source

As I draw my cat on the grid, I look at the reference photograph to make sure I am emulating what I see in each box.

Here I began to sketch the diagonal bars on the doll cradle Maxx was sitting in.
Here I began to sketch the diagonal bars on the doll cradle Maxx was sitting in. | Source

Adding the eyes and other details to Maxx makes him look more lifelike already, but there is still much to add to my sketch at this point in the process.

Here I have added the bottom portion of Maxx's cradle.
Here I have added the bottom portion of Maxx's cradle. | Source

I created a YouTube video to demonstrate how I used the grid to draw each portion of the cat.  The grid method is a good tool that will help you focus on sketching rather than allowing your mind to wander.

The grid drawing method is also an easier way to concentrate since just starting from scratch can be a daunting task if you have never sketched before.

Here I finished adding the bottom part of Maxx's cradle.  Also, I added the details to his eyes and ears.
Here I finished adding the bottom part of Maxx's cradle. Also, I added the details to his eyes and ears. | Source

The sketch of Maxx begins to come together once I add the bottom part of the cradle.

In this video Maxx looks more put together since he is now fully sketched out.

I used an ochre colored marker to begin coloring in Maxx's fur.
I used an ochre colored marker to begin coloring in Maxx's fur. | Source

I should have used a light gray marker to accurately portrait to color of Maxx's fur, but I opted to use a brown marker without thinking much about it at the time.  Actually, I like how Maxx turned out with light brown fur, but next time I plan on drawing him with his actually light gray coat.

Adding more of the ochre color to Maxx's fur.  Markers are a good medium for covering up grid lines.
Adding more of the ochre color to Maxx's fur. Markers are a good medium for covering up grid lines. | Source

I defined Maxx's tail and the other features of his body with a darker brown marker, but colored in the majority of his fur with the light brown marker.

Coloring in the blanket with a purple marker.
Coloring in the blanket with a purple marker. | Source

The vibrant purple marker was perfect for coloring in the blanket in Maxx's doll cradle.  However, there was no blanket in the reference picture, I simply used artistic license to create this detail in my sketch.

Here I am adding more of the purple color of Maxx's cradle.
Here I am adding more of the purple color of Maxx's cradle. | Source

The blanket looks very bold as I continue to color it in.

Here I finally completed coloring in Maxx' purple blanket, and his pink cradle.
Here I finally completed coloring in Maxx' purple blanket, and his pink cradle. | Source

I used several different shades of pink to color in Maxx's doll cradle.  Well Maxx is not a doll, but he used to love sleeping in that little cradle.

I have colored in Maxx's light blue eyes, and now I am filling in the background color.
I have colored in Maxx's light blue eyes, and now I am filling in the background color. | Source

I colored in the top-half of the background with a navy blue colored marker.

I am continuing to color in the dark blue background behind Maxx.
I am continuing to color in the dark blue background behind Maxx. | Source

I continue to color in the navy blue portion of my Maxx illustration.

I have completed coloring in Maxx, and all the grid marks are now covered.
I have completed coloring in Maxx, and all the grid marks are now covered. | Source

The grid is now completely covered since I used to the markers to finish coloring in my kitten Maxx.  This illustration is special to me since it helps me to commemorate the life of a special kitten I had many years ago.  The video below also shows what the completed illustration looks like.

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Comments 9 comments

Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

Super instructions!! My daughter gave me a Pet Painting class for Christmas. They took our pre-submitted pet photos and somehow copied the outlines and grey-scales on the canvas. What fun! And the product is great too!


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 5 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Thank you for reading my hub Truckstop Sally. I love to draw, and share this passion of course! Glad you enjoyed the drawing project your daughter arranged for you.


kabirunAhmad profile image

kabirunAhmad 5 years ago from Philippines Mindanao MSU Marawi City

I find this stuff interesting, well i think i need to read it again and again to learn it...


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

A great idea and help to learn the right proportion when drawing.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 5 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Kabirun,

Thanks for reading!

Hello, Hello,

Glad you enjoyed this tutorial!


crystolite profile image

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

Interesting hub with cute pics,am really glad you learnt how to draw the stuff perfectly well.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 5 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

cystolite,

Glad you enjoyed this hub.


kathryn1000 profile image

kathryn1000 5 years ago from London

I like that.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 5 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Appreciate your comments Kathryn1000!

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