Before sharing some resources, I just wanted to note that the biggest piece of advice I can offer anyone looking to improve is practice, practice, practice. And, when you're tired of practicing, try making some observations (and then practice some more). Are the ears on the cat your drawing more rounded or triangular? How do they compare in proportion with the rest of the head? What angle are they at? Actively choosing to notice minute little details like these and transfer them into your drawings will make all the difference.
A trap I used to fall into quite often and try not to anymore is to draw what I imagined to be the "ideal cat". Rather than actually basing my anatomy off of real cats, I would often attempt to draw whatever creature felt "cat-like" to me which was honestly a horrible idea. Of course, personal style is crucial to creating art, but that doesn't mean you should abandon anatomy - anatomy helps bring out the defining characteristics of whatever you draw!
Also, be sure to check out (and submit to) the group's resource folder!
Various artists all over deviantART have created wonderful tutorials which explain various parts about drawing cats, whether it's an overall anatomy tutorial or a very specific guide to one body part. Although using photographs for reference is always better strictly for anatomy, these guides have proven extremely useful for pointing out common errors or providing new ways to think about drawing cats.
TamberElla has great resources on drawing cats including a guide to drawing paws and legs as well as a face profile tutorial which compares the differences between species.
Majnouna's tutorials are simply fantastic. They are incredible in depth, with guides that cover both wild and domestic cats. My personal favourite is their guide on the colouration of house cats; many feline artists will unknowingly draw with unrealistic markings and colours. While that's perfectly alright, it's still very useful knowledge!
Daesiy addresses a common mistake among many feline artists, which is accidentally jumbling up canine and feline anatomy. Although the differences between may seem subtle they make all the difference in the quality of your work!
There are so many other useful tutorials available regarding feline anatomy, but here are a select few which are particularly useful.
Tried and true, using stock images for reference when drawing (and especially when you're just getting to know your subject) is the surest way to see improvement and avoid anatomical mistakes and try out new poses. Imagine trying to draw a tiger for the first time ever. Exactly how do its stripes look? Is its muzzle more long or thick? How long should its tail be?
FurLined - extraordinarily high quality photographs of all kinds of cats, both feral and wild. FurLined has kindly granted permission for deviants to use his work as reference, but please ensure you give proper credit!
Cats: Four Legs and a Tail - a website with an impressive collection of hundreds of photos of feral cats taken from all over the globe (with some fun commentary). The site is organized by location and the quality of the photographs.
Gesture drawing tool - gestural drawings are such an important part of practicing since they allow you to achieve the "feeling" of a pose rather than simply the "look" of your subject, plus they provide a challenge to draw whatever is shown. This tool is incredible since it allows you filter through various animals, whether you want to draw live animals or skeletons, and the length of time each image is displayed. I recommend using the "class mode" to allow for quicker gestural drawings which gradually progress to longer poses.
If you're itching for more resources - whether that would be excellent photographs for inspiration or additional tutorials, here's a few select ones you may enjoy.
The Life and Love of Cats by Lewis Blackwell "Starting with the earliest records of domestic cats 9,000 years ago in Africa and the Mediterranean and moving to the present, Lewis Blackwell weaves stories of one of humankind’s closest companions with a collection of more than 100 unforgettable images."
Drawing & Painting Cats: Wild and Domestic Cats in Watercolour, Acrylic, Ink, Pastel and Pencil by Vic Bearcroft - "This book provides innovative, practical techniques in a wide range of different media. An expert's eye helps you with important features of feline anatomy... Whether you're itching to make your first drawing, or an expert looking for new ideas and inspiration, this book showcases the wonderful world of painting and drawing cats."
Artists and Their Cats by Alison Nastasi - "Gathered here for the first time are behind-thescenes stories of more than 50 famous artists and their feline friends... In this clever compilation, art aficionados will discover a softer side of their favorite artists, and cat lovers will enjoy a whole new way to celebrate their favorite furry friends."
Hopefully this collection of resources will prove useful to all feline artists out there, whether you're just beginning or are experienced. I wish everyone the best of luck in your future artistic endeavours, and if you have any more questions feel free to ask!
- autumnicity xx