Drawing kittens, inspired by Krishna Sadasivam

13 Nov

Inspired by the awesome drawing session by Krishna Sadasivam on Justin.tv and the cute Bengal kitten photos by Anita H. Engebakken on Facebook, I decided to do a rough sketch using a photo reference. This was meant as a study, but mostly to overcome the idea that I can’t draw.

Drawing kittens, part 4

You see, if you think you can draw a little bit, you can get a bit too comfortable and over-confident, thinking you don’t need much preparation, because you can crank out art like a professional. Well, as you can see in the recorded art session of Krishna on justin.tv, even a professional needs a lot of time to get it right when it comes to unknown subjects (in this case Wonder Woman, who Krishna had never drawn before). So everyone needs preparation. It is only when you’re familiar with your subject that you can take shortcuts and get your drawings finished in less time.

And even then, it is best to remain humble while drawing and don’t assume greatness where there is none. Drawing is mostly hard work and just a little bit of talent thrown into the mix (so, the opposite of what people who don’t draw usually think). Once you forget that, and assume you have talent, and nothing seems to work as you thought it would work, you can arrive through frustration to the wrong conclusion that you aren’t able to draw and lose confidence in your own ability to draw.

I left the mistakes I made in the sketch, for you to see. Bengal cats have a disproportionate long body, compared to other breeds and mongrel cats. I had to measure out the length of the kitten’s body in head lengths.

A few hours later I made this sketch of Kimburu Filfil Falconer. I’m slowly getting the hang of drawing Bengal kittens. The shape is still way off, but you can clearly see it is a cat and not some other animal.

drawing kittens, part 5

Now it is a matter of studying some theory and a lot of practice drawing. Furthermore, I should examine what the different parts of the animal feel like, so I can introduce some texture into the drawing. Young animals are often still quite lean and not as obese as adult animals (which is what I have, two somewhat older cats). Finally, these young animals (especially this breed) have tremendous power per gram of body weight. This feeling of power (and elegance) should be introduced into the pose as well, even if it’s not so clearly visible from the photo reference. As an artist, you want to pick the right moment, which is not necessarily the same moments as in the reference. This is what is called the artist’s impression, how you as an artist see the subject in your mind’s eye.

That is all.

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