How to draw ukiyo-e series – Cat

1. Prelude

Hello everyone and welcome to my article on How to draw ukiyo-e series – Cat. In this article, I will talk about how to draw a Cat in the ukiyo-e japanese art style, in a step by step manner.

Reading this article will take less than 10 minutes.

Please, enjoy your reading and don’t hesitate to comment. If I made any mistake, I will do my best to correct it as quickly as possible.

Summary

  1. Prelude – cats in ukiyo-e
  2. How to draw ukiyo-e series – Cat: face
  3. How to draw ukiyo-e series – Cat: back
  4. How to draw ukiyo-e series – Cat: butt
  5. The review is here!

1. Prelude – Cats in ukiyo-e

Before there could be cats drawn in ukiyo-e, there had to be cats seen by Japanese people in the first place. Cat are common pet animals in Japan today, but they’re not natives from the island. It’s seems that they came to Japan thanks to Chinese ships around the Heian period 1000 years ago.

They were used to chase mice on ships, and Japanese were happy to find a rodent-killers. In farms or in temples, cats kept mice from eating Buddhist scrolls. Protecting crops. Safeguards for the faithful. In this situation, it seems a normal consequence that, in Japan, Japanese people were enamored with their new companion.

And with time, cats found their place in the Japanese art style, ukiyo-e and kacho-ga.

Playing with Cat (1897) - True Beauties by Toyohara Chikanobu
(Playing with Cat (1897) – True Beauties by Toyohara Chikanobu)
Looking Tiresome (1888) by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi - ukiyo-e geisha with cat
(Looking Tiresome (1888) by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi)
Cat and Mouse (1930s) by Kawanabe Kyosai - ukiyo-e
(Cat and Mouse (1930s) by Kawanabe Kyosai)
Black Cat And Tomato Plant (1931) by Shotei Takahashi - ukiyo-e - kacho-ga
(Black Cat And Tomato Plant (1931) by Shotei Takahashi)


2. How to draw ukiyo-e series – Cat: face

Cat -ukiyo-e BlackandWhite 1 - (猫) by RedSparkle (12-2019)
(First step, drawing the cat’s face)

The cat depicted in Ukiyo-e has a rounded face that is more deformed than the real one. It can be said that fleshiness has improved.

In Ukiyo-e, the corners are cut off and drawn in a round form.

It seems that the emphasis is on how lovely cats are drawn, and it can be said that the love for cats by Utagawa Kuniyoshi style (Famous ukiyo-e artist which loved to draw cats) is obtained.

So, let’s draw a face while being conscious of the outline of the round face!

Cat -ukiyo-e BlackandWhite 2 - (猫) by RedSparkle (12-2019)
(Next step, drawing the cat’s ears)

It is recommended to chew up the cheek part as shown above so it is easier to draw the mouth part!

First you outline and draw the eyes and nose, then, it will be easier to imagine the whole picture.

Then draw and add ears. Make sure your ears are not too close.

Also, if you emphasize the ears too much, it will become a dog-like form. Adjust while looking at the whole face so that it doesn’t jump out of the head.

Cat -ukiyo-e BlackandWhite 3 - (猫) by RedSparkle (12-2019)
(Next step, drawing the cat’s mouth)

Next, I will draw the nose and mouth.

Draw a round mouth as shown below, based on the cheeks that were drawn round earlier.

Cat -ukiyo-e BlackandWhite 4 - (猫) by RedSparkle (12-2019)
(Next step, drawing the cat’s nose)

Draw a nose just above the center of the mouth and draw a nose to center the entire face.

If you prefer to draw the nose first and then draw the mouth later, you can change the order if you like!

Cat -ukiyo-e BlackandWhite 5 - (猫) by RedSparkle (12-2019)
(Next step, drawing the cat’s eyes)

The eyes are sharp in most ukiyo-e and have a slightly nasty look; then, the face is complete!

The upper eyelid hangs up, and the lower eyelid is linear or rounded to match it.

Either way, draw narrow eyes and add about 4 long eyelashes.

Sleeping Cat (1880s) by Kawanabe Kyosai - ukiyo-e - cropped
(Sleeping Cat (1880s) by Kawanabe Kyosai – cropped)

3. How to draw ukiyo-e series – Cat: back

As with real cats and picture of cats, when they crawl on all fours, the back is usually higher than the head.

Cat, Butterflies, and Peonies (1766) by Suzuki Harunobu - kacho-ga
(Cat, Butterflies, and Peonies (1766) by Suzuki Harunobu)

I will draw the upper body with the back curled up in mind.

Draw a curled stomach to pair with the back.

Cat -ukiyo-e BlackandWhite 6 - (猫) by RedSparkle (12-2019)
(Next step, drawing the cat’s back)

Next is the shoulder, but again with a round line, draw as follows.

Cat -ukiyo-e BlackandWhite 7 - (猫) by RedSparkle (12-2019)
(Next step, drawing the cat’s shoulder)

When drawing a cat in Japanese style or Ukiyo-e style, detailed skeletons are often omitted.

This is why it is important to draw round and cute.

Next, draw an elbow behind the shoulder and extend the arm to the bottom of the face.

The upper body is complete with a full four-finger forefoot!

Cat -ukiyo-e BlackandWhite 8 - (猫) by RedSparkle (12-2019)
(Next step, drawing the cat’s legs)

Then, the lower body is finished.

4. How to draw ukiyo-e series – Cat: butt

When drawing a cat with a Japanese-style or Ukiyo-e-style touch, the buttocks to draw will be the biggest feature point.

Because, as you can see in the first step, in Kuniyoshi’s ukiyo-e, most cats have their butt out.

Cat -ukiyo-e BlackandWhite 9 - (猫) by RedSparkle (12-2019)
(Next step, drawing the cat’s butt)

You can see in this different picture that the back → buttocks are extremely rounded.

I think that this roundness of the buttocks is an icon for drawing a cat.(Of course, the part you want to emphasize depends on the pose)

Adjust while looking at the whole so that the balance of the body does not collapse.

Cat -ukiyo-e BlackandWhite 10 - (猫) by RedSparkle (12-2019)
(Next step, drawing the cat’s tail and legs)

Set the roundness of the knee at a position slightly higher than the previous forefoot, and make it the end point of the circle of the buttocks.

Draw the hind legs in the same way as the forefoot from the position of the knee, and finally draw the tail.
Work is completed, only color is remaining.

Cat -ukiyo-e Color-(猫) by RedSparkle (12-2019)
(Next step, Colors !)

What do you think?

In addition to this pose, you can draw various cats if you hold the basics of roundness of the face, roundness of the back, roundness of the buttocks.

5. The review is here!

  • The outline is round and the ear is not emphasized too much.
  • The back and shoulders are also round and the skeleton is slightly omitted.
  • The largest round butt is the most important feature

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Deligne Mathieu - RedSparkleArt- Author-Painter-ukiyo-e artist- kachoga artist

Deligne Mathieu

Deligne Mathieu is a young artist with the objective to master the art of drawing Ukiyo-e bird and flower (花鳥画 – Kacho-ga).