Review: How to Draw Cats and Kittens: A Complete Guide for Beginners


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The beauty of cats has been captured by artists through the ages, and no wonder: cats make purrfect models. Their flowing, flexible grace, combined with fierce strength and unbearable cuteness, and the incredible variety of breeds and colors has captured artists’ imagination. In How to Draw Cats and Kittens, artist and illustrator J.C. Amberlyn offers step-by-step guidance so you, too, can indulge your artistic side.


Amberlyn not only offers detailed basic information on art materials and techniques, but she also explores the behavioral aspects that make cats so unique. “Knowing your subject,” she says, “gives you greater ability to depict it realistically.”

The book covers cat anatomy, kittens from birth to six months, cat expressions, cats in motion and at rest, and various cat patterns and breeds. She even has a section on how to draw the sheen of a black cat’s fur with pencil.


I loved the section on anatomy, because it shows how an understanding of the cat’s basic anatomy will help you draw a more realistic cat. By illustrating the structure of various parts of the cat’s body, and gradually filling in details, Amberlyn breaks the drawing process down to its most basic elements.


One of my dad’s cat drawings

My dad loved to draw and was quite good at it. He taught me how to draw as a young child, and I have fond memories of afternoons spent drawing with him. I still have some of my “early works” that my parents saved, but once I started elementary school, any artistic talent was destroyed by an art teacher whose harsh words “you can’t draw” stuck with me for most of my life. This book is inspiring me to try again.

How to Draw Cats and Kittens is a joy just to browse through and admire the gorgeous illustrations. This is a wonderful book for children who are budding artists, and adults who are trying to rediscover their creative side.

How to Draw Cats is available from Amazon.

Interior images ©J.C. Amberlyn, used with permission

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*FTC Disclosure: The Conscious Cat is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on Amazon and affiliated sites. This means that if you decide to purchase through any of our links, we get a small commission. We only spread the word about products and services we’ve either used or would use ourselves. I received this book from the publisher. Receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. All reviews on The Conscious Cat will always reflect my honest opinion

5 Comments on Review: How to Draw Cats and Kittens: A Complete Guide for Beginners

  1. Allison
    November 3, 2017 at 8:51 am (4 years ago)

    I am sorry for your negative experience with an art teacher. Teachers should always encourage not discourage.

    I am glad that you found a book that is inspiring you to draw again. My husband recently picked up a book on drawing cats for me and I felt that itch too.

    • Ingrid
      November 3, 2017 at 4:24 pm (4 years ago)

      Isn’t it fun how cats can inspire us to do all sorts of things, including drawing?

  2. Patricia
    November 3, 2017 at 4:13 am (4 years ago)

    J.C.Amberlyn is a really good artist. I had a really horrible first grade teacher that at first gave me a real bad impression of teachers and authority. It had nothing to do with art. I am very artistic. Her illustrations give me real good clue on how to draw cats.

    • Brenda
      November 3, 2017 at 8:43 am (4 years ago)

      Awwww! It hurt my “heart” when I read your account of the so-called art teacher. I hope you follow in your dad’s footprints and draw to your heart’s content. Bless you!

      • Ingrid
        November 3, 2017 at 4:24 pm (4 years ago)

        Aww, thanks, Brenda. I’m definitely going to pursue drawing!


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