How to paint a cat in realistic watercolor

Cats are such enigmatic creatures.

They’ve really got life sussed.

Over thousands of years, they’ve evolved alongside humans and graciously allowed us to think of them as our pets.

But all it takes is a moving object to catch their attention, and their inner wildness is sparked in a nanosecond.

I love seeing that wild expression in cats.

And who can resist the innocent, wide-eyed gaze of a kitten?

Not me.

It’s so heartwarming to see them experiencing the beauty of the world for the first time. 

When I saw this little kitty, casually balancing on the branch of a blossoming tree, I just had to paint her. I love the way her wild expression shows that she’s just spotted something very interesting.

In this mini class, I show you the process I followed to paint this sweet little friend.

I worked big for this painting, at 56 x 56 cm (22 x 22 in) so that I could capture as much detail as possible. 

As you’ll see in this video, the painting goes through a messy middle stage for a while, but it all comes together by the end.

I hope you’ll feel inspired to paint a watercolor cat too, and that you’ll have fun applying these techniques to painting other fluffy pets and mammals.

For help with painting the kitten’s reflective eye, check out this mini class where I cover it in more detail.

If you’d like to paint your pets, also have mini classes on how to paint a dog, how to paint a hamster and of course we can’t forget the goldfish.

If you give this kitten a go, I’d love to hear how you get on, so let me know in the comments below. And if you enjoyed the video, do leave me a message. I love to read them!

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12 Comments

  1. Vicky King on January 4, 2022 at 5:56 pm

    You are amazing! I am going to give this a try.
    Thanks for sharing

  2. Ginger on January 4, 2022 at 6:16 pm

    Love to give it.a try. Thanks, Anna

  3. Beth Carroll on January 5, 2022 at 1:22 am

    A perfect kitten. Thank you.

  4. Susan Sketers on January 5, 2022 at 1:32 am

    I have a beautiful cat to paint and this gave me a boost thankd

  5. Gail Brunt on January 5, 2022 at 2:39 am

    Loved this! Here is my little painting companion: file:///var/folders/b_/bk9m74dd0358ctzstxxkf8m00000gn/T/com.apple.Safari/WebKitDropDestination-4ToDQdvI/IMG_4504.MOV (Not sure if this will go anywhere..)

    • Gail Brunt on January 5, 2022 at 2:42 am

      Copy and paste into browser!

  6. Sarah McGehee on January 5, 2022 at 12:42 pm

    Loved the video. I have a Tabby that I will try to paint.

  7. Ann on January 5, 2022 at 1:17 pm

    That kitten could jump right off the branch, great vide

  8. Carolyn English on January 7, 2022 at 10:08 am

    Dear Anna,
    I really am amazed at the realistic painting of your kitten. It is an inspiration to me and it does inspire me to make more time to practice my watercolor.

  9. Teresa on January 10, 2022 at 12:59 pm

    Hello Anna. This is Teresa from Canary Islands. Your kitten painting is wonderful, it seems so easy when you do it… Thank you for teaching us so much. The way to paint a blurred background seems great to me and I am going to practice it following the short practices video at school in order to apply it to many other paintings.
    I was very amused by the end of this video, when your cat walks on the table and sits on top of your painting! The same thing happens to me with mine, they always choose the best place to rest! Oh my God! they can ruin all the work done with their cute and maybe “not so clean” paws…

  10. Ruthie Sullivan on January 10, 2022 at 5:52 pm

    VERY Inspirational! Thank you! I’ll give it a go, and I LOVE the ending!! True life at my house as well! LOL!!

  11. […] So I wanted to show you in this class how I painted the bright, shiny eyes in the cat painting which I shared the process for in this video. […]

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