Cat Portrait Commission – Pen and Ink

Ahhhh…how I love pen and ink! It has been some time since I have done a pet portrait, but I recently had a commission for a beautiful, Siamese cat. 

I worked from photos like I normally do, but the cat itself was difficult to photograph because of the dark markings on the face and there was some glare on the photos. It was a bit challenging to render, but even so, I think it turned out very well.

The final drawing was approximately 10″ wide by 8″ high and was done with my Rapidograph 3×0 (.25) pen on smooth Bristol paper. 

The fine pen was terrific for the face, but I started to question my sanity when I began to fill in the fur on the back half of the cat, most of which was dark brown to black. It went faster than I anticipated, though, and I think the fine pen lines worked really well to captured the subtle fur patterns, rather than just filling it in as a solid black.

This is an early photo of the pencil work as I blocked in the fur markings, etc. I always make sure my pencil areas are marked in before beginning any ink. If it doesn’t look right in pencil, it won’t look right in ink.

I did NOT fill in the fur on the back entirely with pencil (except for the tail), but rather just marked where there were changes in the direction of the fur as a sort of map to doing the pen work.

The final, finished drawing.
Once I finished with the pen work, I let it dry thoroughly overnight and then took my kneaded eraser to the whole thing to remove any stray pencil marks. I think the final turned out well and hope that the owner enjoys both the cat and the drawing for many years.

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2 comments

  1. As the servant to 10 cats ~ 6 of whom are Siamese cat; I think you have done a wonderful job of capturing their look! I give you a LOT of credit for drawing each piece of hair! :))))

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