Bengal Cat – Pencil to Paint


Artwork – Bengal Cat. Daniel Smith Watercolor on Hahnemühle Cold Pressed Watercolor Postcard. Brushes: Princeton Neptune Quill Size 4 and Princeton Velvetouch Round Size 8.

Doodlewash Prompt: Brownie Points

Reference photo courtesy of Ishman000 on Pixabay.

I used the grid method to draw this. Not sure why, because the shapes are fairly easy. I have postcards with grids drawn on them and I place these on a lightbox. Then I put my blank postcard on top of the grid card.

Art Tutor has a free Grid Drawing Tool where you can pull your photos in, do some editing if you like, and then apply a grid to it. You have a choice of 20 grid sizes – so you can use a guide with large grids or teeny tiny grids or anywhere in between. I’ve found there I normally use 3, 5, or 7, so my postcards grids are the same size as those.

This program is really handy-dandy. You can crop, rotate and adjust saturation, brightness and contrast. You can use one or all of the features and download whatever you’ve done at any point.

I pull up the grid that most closely matches my postcard grid and draw. Note that I am NOT tracing the photo – I’m using the lightbox so I don’t have to draw a grid on my artwork.

What drew me to this photo was the softness of the cat. I wanted to keep that softness so I decided to skip my usual pen drawing and use negative painting instead.

Often, with my negative paintings, I just throw paint at the paper and pick out a shape. This time I wanted a specific shape, hence the pencil drawing. I really didn’t need to make my pencil drawing so involved, but no harm done.

I used my Daniel Smith Ultimate Mixing pan set. With my quill brush, I wet all the area around the cat and dropped in Buff Titanium, then Quinacridone Gold and then Goethite. Goethite granualates (gets that pebbly look) so it added a little texture to the background, as well as a touch more brown. I used a watery touch of Jane’s Grey for the shadow.

Notice that I didn’t worry too much whether the color got inside the cat. It’s a pretty loose style, so it doesn’t matter too much.

At this point, I let everything dry.

With as much water as I had used, the postcard curled a little. I gently folded it back so it would lie flat.

For the cat, I started with the buff Titanium again, covering most of him, but leaving the lightest areas the color of the paper.

For the points (the face, spots and stripes), I alternated between Raw Umber and Jane’s Grey, using watery mixes throughout. The cat isn’t very dark, so I didn’t want intense color.

Once this dried, I used a mix of the two colors in the darkest areas, such as the ears and face. For the last, I added a watery swipe of Quin Gold, to a little brightness and to tie the cat to the background.

Wanna buy some of these cool toys?

Hahnemühle Cold Press Watercolor Postcards (review).

Daniel Smith Watercolor Half Pan Set of 15 Ultimate Mixing Set  ( review )

Princeton Artist Brush Neptune, Series 4750, Quill Synthetic Squirrel, Size 4

Princeton Velvetouch Series 3950 Synthetic (review)

11 comments

  1. My sister-in-law has a Bengal and it is silky soft. I like how you have captured the contentment of a cat sitting in the warmth of the sun.

  2. Beautiful Sandra, my daughter has a part Bengal….such lovely cats! You really GOT this! 🙂

  3. This is a gorgeous painting of an absolutely gorgeous cat. I like working small, often on note cards (sent to friends) and business cards (given to art friends) But I didn’t always appreciate a small format. Now I find the intimacy of a small size compelling. Thank you for all the details of how you achieved this lovely artwork. Much more thought behind it than I would have imagined. You’re a terrific teacher, Sandra – I’ve learned so much from you.

  4. He’s so soft, and his shape came out true. I like the part about not worrying if the background got into the cat!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.