View Full Version : Black Kitten painting - help!!??

02-11-2008, 10:22 PM
Hi everyone!
I haven't posted anything in a very long time. I've made a conscious decision that I'm going to paint as much as i possibly can and make full use of the Wetcanvas Site ;) ....so.....to begin here is my attempt at a little black kitten. I think I need alot of help on this. It looks like it's missing something....maybe her nose looks funny too...I'm not sure. She looks kind of like a bat! :lol: Any thoughts? suggestions? Heeeeelp!! :o



Brian Barnes
02-12-2008, 01:24 AM
Hi Shelley.

Your black kitten is almost there. :thumbsup: I found it interesting that you feel it looks bat-like. I had that happen too when I did a black cat in pastels once. :lol:

Shouldn't take much to correct. Just lift a bit of dark away from around the eyes, widen the muzzle slightly, enlarge the nose, and then soften its edges a bit. Then add a bit more dark to the forehead below each ear. Not sure why all this would make a difference but it seems to.

Here's a PhotoShop manip. to illustrate. Hope you don't mind.


See what suggestions others might have before you make any changes. I'm not an expert on cats. Actually I'm allergic. :D


rue d'oak
02-12-2008, 02:23 AM
Hi Shelly, and welcome back!

Your kitten is coming along...I can see what Brian is suggesting.


02-12-2008, 05:55 AM
Hi Shelley,
Your little black kitty is so sweet looking, I can see why you wanted to paint it.

If you look closely at the reference photo, you can see several areas of light that add interest. As Brian said, around the eyes is especially important.

On the top of the head, you have a lighter patch, maybe a little bit of negative painting within that to imply fur would be nice.

I think black is a difficult color, especially when it is the main color, so you are doing very well.

If you check out the Learning Demos link in my signature line, you'll find two demos on painting cats in the Animals section. You might find them useful.


02-12-2008, 09:51 AM
Is your paper one which takes well to lifting? If not, maybe a reflective light color like lemon yellow might work on top of the dark? And darken a bit on the right.

I am an orange lover, and benzamida orange deep in the background might compliment the darks.

I hope you post any changes or next paintings.


02-12-2008, 12:43 PM
Shelley, Brian has given you wonderful advice, and I think your black kitten is indeed "almost there." He's real cute and please post after you've updated him. Welcome back!

Brian Barnes
02-12-2008, 02:11 PM
Another idea you might consider is to soften the eyes a bit. Depends whether you prefer the stary look or a more gentle look. ;)

Lessen the darks next to the eyes and then bring the dark down into the top of the eyes to suggest eyelids. Also slightly darken the edges of the eye-balls for shadowing and roundness.

Another PS manip.



02-12-2008, 02:14 PM
Hi Shelley... this little guy is a cutie and you've almost *got* it!!

I really don't think your problem is with the black fur... you've really done a good job with that... I feel that you haven't exactly painted the shapes that form this kitten's likeness as closely as you needed to.

Painting the shapes you *see* instead of the form you *know* takes a little getting used to... To that end, it helps to posterize your reference, using your photo manipulation software... posterization simplifies the shapes, enabling you to focus on the most important ones.

Here's an example of your kitten:


Here's the line drawing:


I hope this helps a little...

02-12-2008, 07:38 PM
I get home from work and find lots of replies to my cry for help with my kitty painting. :clap:

Brian in Kelowna...Thanks for the photoshop manips!! :) I will pull out some of the dark areas and darken up some others like you suggested. Your version helps alot!!!:thumbsup:

Jen and Darla....Thanks for your encouragement!!! Stay tuned! Hopefully this little kitty will look lots better!! :)

Charlotte - Benzamida Orange? That sounds like a great addition! Is it like a reddish orange?? I think the background does need some help and I think orange would be a great colour!!!

Sylvia - Thanks for your suggestions too!!! Negative painting might be a good idea too! I'll give it a try!! :) AND I'm going to check out the Learning Demo!!! I love the demos! They're REALLY helpful!!!

Char - Oh my gosh! Yes! Posterize! That's perfect! Just what I need to get the dark areas in the correct places!!! Thank you so much for that suggestion...along with the the line drawing portion!! I will definately be using both of these!!!

Thanks again everyone!!! Stay tuned! I'll see what I come up with.....:)


02-13-2008, 04:05 AM
I enjoyed watching all the helpful improvements to this and can't wait to see what you do with it. I visited your site and enjoyed your work posted there especially the Cuban girl. Very nice.

Peggy SCx
02-14-2008, 11:42 AM
I really like the expression of your kitty; before I saw Char's comment's I was going to suggest strengthening the background design and color.

02-14-2008, 02:16 PM
Agree with all of the above; my cat has large ears and they sometimes look too large in a drawing. It might help to have more soft fur "edges" about the outline of the cat, to give it more texture. You're off to a great start!!

02-14-2008, 11:33 PM
Hi everybody!:wave:
I tried just about everything that everyone had suggested. Thanks!! I got rid of some awkward shapes too so that might have helped a bit. It certainly isn't done but below is the most up-to-date version. (needs whiskers etc.)
What do you folks think? Got any more suggestions as to what else I should do/fix? :) I really want to figure out this cat painting thing. It's MUCH more difficult than I thought! :cat:


Brian Barnes
02-15-2008, 01:04 AM
She has a much gentler look now ........ and is definitely not bat-like. Fur more realistic too. :) Way to go! :thumbsup:

Joy's suggestion about softening furry edges is a good one.;)


02-15-2008, 04:43 AM
I think your painting is just lovely.

I do have to ask though. what is that dark thing coming from the top of the kitties head on the left..?

If you dampen that area with a little water and let it soak in, and gently scrub with a proxa brush, you can lift that out, and just paint over with the orange colour you have..


02-15-2008, 05:27 AM
The kitty looks much more kittenish now. You've done a very good job with the revisions to its face.

While you have that proxa brush out to lift the dark shape away in the background as JJ suggests, you could also use it to soften the edges around the kitten's body so they look soft and furry instead of hard. :D


02-15-2008, 11:17 AM
wow, I love what you did to that kitten! much improved!

rue d'oak
02-15-2008, 12:06 PM
I see in your reference photo that the black shape is a part of the background. I like JJ idea of lifting it out...just because something is there in reality doesn't mean that it needs to be there in the painting! You have a great job in working with this.


02-15-2008, 12:20 PM
Hi everyone!
Thanks for the suggestion regarding the kittens' tail (the object in the background). It does look a bit odd.:lol: I'll try to lift it out. I hope I'll be able to. :) The paw area looks odd too. Might need some help there!!:lol: Will keep working on the little guy...so...Stay tuned....:)

02-15-2008, 07:22 PM
I had no idea that was his tail. I am glad you are going to lift it out, the rest of your painting is wonderful. If you need help just ask.:)


02-15-2008, 10:32 PM
Hi yet again.... should I be starting a new post for when i update my newest version of my painting??

Here's the latest. I think i got the tail covered pretty well. I was having some trouble getting rid of it. I added some whiskers and highlighted his eyes a bit more. The paws just look strange. I don't know what to do with them.

Please let me know what you think. :) Thanks to all who gave suggestions so far!! :)


02-16-2008, 01:51 AM
Great improvement on your cat. The eyes are so good. The paw on our right does need some more black, I think the other one is ok. Your making good progress. Thanks for commenting on my little pooch. Lenore

02-16-2008, 02:48 AM
Good for you, that looks much better. You did really well, and have a wonderful painting.

Cheers JJ

02-16-2008, 05:50 AM
His little face looks terrific now, what a difference from your first post. :thumbsup:

His paw on the right is turned sideways and there is a little bit of a highlight at the end. I think you could deepen the dark on the outside of the paw and use negative painting to deepen the dark of his chest behind the highlight area at the end of the paw.

The one on the left needs to be deepened in tone a little bit too. Don't forget to soften the edges where they are up against the background. You could even pull little bits of furry out there.

The orange background looks terrific with the black kitten now.

Keep posting your changes here in this thread so there is continuity. When you finish the painting completely, you can start a new thread in the Watercolor Gallery and add a link to this WIP one here in the Studio.


02-16-2008, 02:26 PM
This little kitty is GORGEOUS!! I'm so glad you took the tail out...I was going to suggest that. Can't wait to see the finished painting! Btw...how big is this?



02-16-2008, 02:33 PM
Hey Michelle!
Thanks for your compliments and encouragement!!! I really appreciate that very much!!!:)

The size is kind of odd though. 9" X 10"