Draw Basic Guidelines for the Kitten Face
The first step in drawing a kitten face is to lightly sketch a circle for the head. This circle will serve as a basic guideline. We will use it to fine-tune the shape and size of the head later on in the drawing. Also, I’m using a 2B pencil. We want these first marks to be light, so you can also go with a harder pencil like an HB.
After the circle, we can sketch some guidelines to help us draw the features of the kitten’s face. A look at the reference photo shows us that the kitten’s head is angled to our left and tilted upward. Therefore, the next guidelines we draw need to be curved to reflect these angles. I think we’ll start with a horizontal guideline first. Start at the left side and draw a guideline toward the right side of the circle and curving downward.
Then, sketch a curved vertical line. Remember, the kitten’s head is facing to our left. As you draw guidelines on this circle, imagine that the lines are following the curved surface of a sphere. This will be helpful in adding dimension to the drawing.
Next, we’re going to sketch two more curved lines parallel to the first horizonal guideline we drew. We will sketch one line above and one line below the current line. These new lines will help us to place the kitten’s eyes. You can sketch the lines all the way to the edge of the circle, but it’s not necessary. I’m stopping a little short here, as you can see with this first one. Then sketch the second line below. This line will be a little bit closer to the original guideline than the one above it.
Draw Outlines of the Eyes, Nose, and Mouth
Let’s draw the outline of the kitten’s first eye. You are going to see me take several attempts at getting the shape and positioning just right, so don’t draw along with me just yet.
The last two horizontal guidelines I sketched during the last step are meant to help locate the top and bottom of the eyes. The tricky thing about cat eyes is they have a sharp diagonal angle from the inner to the outer corner. As I keep looking at the reference, the downward angle of the inner corner becomes more apparent. So, I position the inner corner between the center guideline and the lower guideline. Then, I see that the eye should be a little closer to the center vertical guideline.
Another tricky thing about drawing this eye outline is that we don’t see the outer corner all that well due to the curvature of the eyeball. Anyway, here’s when I finally get a satisfactory outline that seems to have the shape, size, and positioning that allows me to move on for now.
Now, we can draw the outline of the second eye. This one will go much more smoothly and will be done all in one shot. You should have an easier time noticing the angle created by the lower inner corner and higher outer corner that I was talking about while drawing the first eye.
The inner corner of this eye should be aligned with the first one, still between the center and lower horizontal guidelines. Then the outer corner should be much higher, between the center and upper horizontal guidelines.
We can start drawing the nose next. I keep checking the bottom of the eyes. The reference shows me that the eye on our right should be lower than the other eye and should be aligned with the top of the kitten’s nose. So, I’m going to slightly adjust the lower edges of each eye.
Now, if I sketch a horizontal guideline from the bottom of the right eye, it’s lower than the other eye. It also shows us where to align the nose. Align one corner of the nose under the center of the eye. Then sketch a pointy bottom.
Below the nose, draw shapes that form the mouth area. Start sketching a line from the left of the nose going downward. This line should protrude slightly beyond the outer edge of the kitten’s right eye. Then place a line on the other side that comes out as far as the center of the kitten’s left eye.
Sketch a vertical line down the center of the nose and beyond the lower tip. Use diagonal lines to connect this middle line to each lower end of the mouth area. Check that the slope of the corners is similar to the slope of the eyes.
We can draw the mouth next. The reference photo shows a closed mouth or a mouth that is barely open. I think I will draw a mouth that is more visibly open than the reference. Draw a line for the opening just under the nose. Sketch another short line just under that.
Then we can begin drawing the kitten’s jaw. Based on the facial features we have already established, we should draw this jaw significantly smaller than our initial spherical guideline would indicate.
Complete the Outline of the Head and Ears
Let’s continue to shape the outline of the kitten’s head. Extend the jawline from under the mouth area. Next, start shaping the side of the kitten’s face. Notice again that I am not drawing precisely on top of my circle guideline from the first step. Instead, I am drawing alongside it. The circle guideline is meant to be a guide, nothing more. It’s very apparent that our little kitten’s head is much smaller than our circle would suggest, so it’s okay to make those adjustments.
Next, let’s identify the top of the kitten’s head. First, I’m going to locate where the ears should be. This vertical guideline shows that the ear on the right is aligned a little to the right of the eye. I’m also judging the amount of space between the eye and the top of the head. It tells me I need to bring the top much lower than the circular guideline. The other ear is aligned just to the right of the nose. Then, I see I need to bring the head outline much closer to the eye.
To draw the outline of the first ear, we already marked where along the head one edge begins. The other edge of the ear connects right along where the outer edge of the eye is located. So, we’ll mark that. Also, it looks as if the top tip of the ear is aligned somewhere above the area of the inner corner of the eye. We can mark that as well. Now we can simply connect the marks to complete the ear outline, while still purposefully drawing the lines in a manner that properly shapes the ear.
We already identified where the second ear connects to the head. However, the ear should connect with a more diagonal line. Next, we need to find where the other side of the ear connects. The reference photograph reveals that the edge of the head is about two eye-widths away from the corner of the eye. So, I can use my pencil to measure this and find the approximate location.
Now we know how wide to make the head. The ear itself connects below the eye level. The top tip of this ear is slightly lower than the first one. Connect the ear at the base and finish the side of the head.
We no longer need most of these guidelines, so we can start erasing them now. I mentioned earlier how guidelines at the start of a drawing are only meant to be guides to help us find a starting point. We don’t have to stick to those guidelines if the reference shows we need to go in another direction. You can clearly see how much smaller our kitten’s head ended up being than the circle guideline from the beginning.
As you erase, take care to maintain the contours of the kitten’s face. We can also erase the guidelines inside the ears.
Now, very carefully erase the remaining guidelines inside the outline of the kitten’s face. Try your best to not erase the outline of the facial features you drew up to this point. I’m using just the corner of my eraser. If you’d rather, you can use a kneaded eraser instead.