Animals with Pastels: Cat

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This course features:
4 Hours of Instruction
19 Videos
4 eBooks
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Lesson Description

In this lesson series, we’ll create a representational drawing of a cat with soft pastels and pastel pencils on PastelMat paper.

Lesson 1 - Introduction and Transfer

In lesson one, we'll review the materials used for this lesson series and transfer the image to our drawing surface.

Lesson 2 - Background and the Eyes

In lesson two, we'll apply PanPastels to the background and begin work developing the eyes with pastel pencils.

Lesson 3 - Underpainting

In lesson three, we'll begin applying soft pastels to the body of the cat to act as an underpainting for subsequent applications.

Lesson 4 - The Head - Part 1

In lesson four, we'll begin addressing the head of the cat with more precise detailing.

Lesson 5 - The Head - Part 2

In lesson five, we'll complete adding textural details to the head of the cat.

Lesson 6 - The Body

In lesson six, we'll complete the drawing by addressing the body of the cat with soft pastels.

Lesson Materials

  • Rembrandt Soft Pastels
  • PatelMat Paper
  • Pastel Pencils
  • PanPastels

Lesson Resources

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Reference Image

Finished Drawing

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Lesson Discussion

    • Ann, first page of the ebook that you can download from the resources Tab:

      You may use any brand of pastels or surface that you wish. However, keep in mind that the quality of the pastel that you use and the surface plays an important role in the results you will achieve. Higher quality materials usually result in higher quality results.

      I’m sure that you will have a more than satisfactory results with the Faber-Castel pencils. This is my number one choice too. 🙂

  1. Hi Mat, I must have missed an explanation on matpastel paper. What is the difference, what is brand and who sells it? Or where is reference for it? Love the programs you do!!

    • Hi Gail,

      The videos are playing normally and the video downloads are also working. How is your internet connection? This video series is presented in 4K resolution. If your internet connection is slow, you may choose a different file format. You can do this by scrolling over the video and clicking on the gear icon.

  2. Please accept my gratitude for this website and the quality of the courses offered. This is no doubt the best $97 dollars that I ever spent. The hours of enjoyment that have derived from the effort spent are priceless during a pandemic. The scope of this site is remarkable. I don’t know how many books someone would buy to try and match this site but beyond the cost of books, there is the added value of watching a gifted artist combined with a gifted teacher. Thank you.

  3. Hi, Matt!
    I´m Pilar, from Seville (Spain). I don´t know if you remember me (I sent you and e-mail with my graphite Rhino piece of art).
    I have a question: I have Canson mi-teintes, instead of Pastelmat. But I only have different tones of cream, ochre, brown… not greys. What tone do you recomend me for the cat? The lightest? Medium? Darkest?
    Thanks a lot (and forgive my bad english)!

  4. Hi again, Matt!
    I´ve found a grey piece of paper of Canson Mi-teintes, but not so light as the one you use.
    It´s a middle grey. So… I have a lot of colors, but not light grey!! :-((
    What should I use for best results?

  5. Hi Matt
    I have watched several of your video instructions they are all superb! In your opinion what is the best medium for animals pastels, or colored pencils?

    • Hi Sandra,

      Either medium is great. Really any medium is great. Some subjects lend themselves to certain media. For example, for subjects that are linear, pen and ink may be a good choice of medium – but you could use any medium that you wish and still be successful.

  6. Hello 🙂

    You talk about being patient throughout the process of your videos. About how long did it actually take you to do the pastel drawing of the cat? I think I need to work on my patience level when I’m trying to draw. I find myself wanting it to be done so I think I rush more than I should.
    And thanks for your excellent instruction and demonstrations, they have all been great!

  7. What pencil sharpener are you using that keeps the pastel pencils so sharp. Normally, I have been using a razor cutter but i’m not good at making a sharp end.

    • Hi Alberto,

      I usually use a blade and sanding paper to sharpen pastel pencils. If I’m too lazy to do this, I’ll grab a hand-held pencil sharpener with a larger opening or a metal one for the smaller pastel pencils.

  8. Hi Matt,

    I’m just over a couple weeks in, as a member and wanted to let you know how much I admire all your work and how much it inspires me to actually try to get something done! Watching this whole cat come to life, was very helpful. The explanations and the actual demonstration are just enough to follow along with confidence. Great teacher, you are!

  9. Thank you Matt, I have just watched the Cat tutorial and look forward to trying it. Your explanations and guidance give me the confidence to tackle my first ‘real’ pastel project.

  10. Hi Matt,

    Just a short note to thank you for your wonderful lessons, which have helped this beginner get a great start and inspired me to keep going. After taking several of your drawing courses, I decided to dive into the pastel course. I just completed the cat pastel drawing and I can’t believe how well it turned out. My family/friends are amazed at my progress (as am I) so thank you for sharing your expertise, insights, and talent. I cannot wait to draw the parrot!

    Warm regards,

      • You’re welcome! I just completed the parrot, which like the cat also turned out far better than I could have imagined. I just took my time and followed your advice at every step. I plan to “fly solo” on my next animal pastel, hopefully applying the skills and knowledge I acquired from the cat and parrot lessons. No pressure (!), but I hope you can someday add a few more animals to this pastel animals course.

  11. Hello. I have been enjoying the drawing and colored pencil courses so I jumped into the pastel course – which seems much more challenging! The pastels do not behave as nicely as pencils. How do you deal with the pastel on your fingers? I found that I kept running to the sink to wash my hands because wiping them on a towel left too much color behind and muddied the work.

    • Hi Sandy,

      If I’m going to be doing a lot of blending with my fingers, I like to keep a moistened and folded paper towel handy. I use this paper towel to keep my fingers clean. I also try to use a different finger for different colors so I have to use the wet paper towel less.

  12. Just started. Have been doing the “25 Days to Better Drawing” course. I just finished a pastel painting of a ginger kitten and am thinking about doing more animals as I have been doing mostly landscapes so I think I will add this course too. Thank you for the opportunity to improve my drawing\ painting skills and move out of my comfort zone.

  13. Thank you Mat for this demo of doing cats. I have just completed my interpretation o f this long haired tiger cat that is actually is a dead ringer of my own cat Gigi with the exception that Gigi has less orange and more gray in her fur. I am very happy with the results. I took additional photos of my cat to better capture her fur coloring and slightly more golden tones in her eyes. I’m going to continue doing the dog next.

  14. I just finished this lesson and found it incredibly helpful. I did some things differently – I drew the sketch of the cat free-handed and put in a blurred, outdoor background, for example – but I followed the rest pretty much step by step, and I learned SO MUCH about layering this medium. Pastels are funny in that there is a very small “sweet spot” where you go from not enough layers to just the right amount, and it’s all too easy to cross over into Too Many Layers Land! lol I actually had to take an Xacto and scrape off some layers in a few areas because I crossed that line. Anyway, thanks so much for this incredible course and for the site overall. Is there a place where members can share their work? Thanks!!!

  15. I’m trying to draw details with the pastel pencils, but the marks don’t show up over the underpainting very well. I’m not sure if it’s because the tooth of the paper has been filled up or something. The paper is pretty “toothy” (Strathmore 400 series Pastel paper). My Faber-Castell pastel pencils have this problem, and so do my Carbothello pastel pencils.
    The pastels I used so far are from Arrtx,.
    I also have some soft pastels from Prismacolor. These thin sticks will make marks that show up better, but the edge dulls immediately, so they are not much of a solution.

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