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  • Diana Stelin

Can you teach me how to draw a cat


Oftentimes, one of the first questions I get from parents is: "Will you teach my child how to properly draw, give her techniques and specific guidelines?"


Or, I get a child who sits staring into space or looking at the work of their peers in a completely distraught state saying: "But I don't know how to draw a cat. Can you do it for me? Or can you at least show me?"


I remember when I was eight I had a teacher back in the Soviet Union, or it could have even been a peer student who said, "Here. Here's how you draw a cat."

She drew a heart-shaped snout, anime-type eyes, and some whiskers for good measure.

And guess what? I'm 40 years old and that template is still stuck in my head, because it was taught as that one way to do things.


I own a deck of cat cards, a deck of over 50 cards. There's not a single cat in it that looks like the one next to it, because there're dozens of different types of cats out there and it's so limiting to just know one way to sketch one. What if your cat is furry? What if it has short fur? What if it's a lion with a large mane, or a girl lion with no mane? How do you show a big cat vs a little cat?


The way I go about teaching how to draw a cat is by looking at different types of cats out there and talking about the character that particular child wants to portray. It'll be a vastly different character for a 4 year old than for an 8 year old, or for an adult. What's the difference in snouts between a cheetah and a lion? How is a cheetah's face different than any other cat's? Is there fir in the cat's ears? Are the whiskers light or dark?



Art classes are about learning about the world, opening up our imagination and being willing and open to experimentation. Let's not confuse it with math or science. Let's let art be about that connection with our inner child who wants to see and experience the joys of this world.


There'll be time for technique. It'll come when you're ready for it, typically for kids 10 and older. But in the meantime, let kids be kids, please.

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