Feline Portraiture

Posted May 1, 2016 by Kerry McFall

cat portrait

“This wasn’t my idea!”, mixed media by Kerry McFall

As a rule, when I try to sketch a cat, they wait one minute so I can begin to draw their face, then they decide to take care of a little personal hygiene.  Predictably, most of my cat portraits have involved one hind leg in the air or a tail flag hoisted above a retreating patoot.  But I think this may be my solution: give her a starfish toy and get my husband to take a photo, then work from the photo!

This is Sparky, arguably the laziest cat in Corvallis.  She might be part Coon Cat.  Or not.  She is definitely asymmetrical.  Her chubby friend is Patrick, of SpongeBob SquarePants fame, whose one talent is that he sticks out his tongue if you push the button on his back.


The process, apart from the sneaky photo, was the fun part.  I started with light pencil, then some watercolor washes, using a sponge for background texture.  Black ink marker followed by dry brush watercolor and gouache for fur, followed by white ink for whiskers, more watercolor, and a few touches of colored pencil.  My resident critic/pet photographer says I need to do more stripes and detail on her body, but hey – the sun is shining, and when the sun shines in Oregon in May, I feel compelled to get outdoors!