Help from cat owners

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    I’m trying to draw a mountain lion lying languidly on a rock outcropping. I’ve tried to use reference and anatomy work (and even my dogs) to get the right position but since I don’t have cats, I’m not sure if I’ve gotten it right, especially the tail. Because we are looking at it from below, you wouldn’t be able to see the place where the tail joins the butt but I assume some of it would droop off the rock.

    Anyway, cat owners, does this look remotely like a position you might see your cat take? Feel free to do draw-overs. My dogs would appreciate it since they are tired of my forcing them to hold positions while I take their picture 🙂


  • @demotlj I haven't got a cat bu I have suggestion... you may visit Aaron Blaise ( Disney animator) profile. He draws a lot of big may be some help. And also Kayla Harren , illustrator. Recently she illustrates big cats too.

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    @Dima-Eichhorn said in Help from cat owners:

    Aaron Blaise

    Thanks. I'll definitely check them out.

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    @demotlj Hey! I think it's definitely a pose a cat would take but I would draw its left hind leg facing downwards. It looks like you've drawn it from an angle with the pad of the paw facing upwards a bit. If you want the pad to be visible then I'd suggest tilting the animal a bit so a part of his belly is showing. Hope this makes sense? 🙂

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    @ShannonBiondi Good catch. I'm actually not sure why I drew the pads on that foot so that you could see them. I went through so many re-dos that it might have been from an earlier pose.

  • @demotlj Howdy! So far, you’re headed in the right direction. It does look like a resting mountain lion. Don’t be afraid to use a pose from reference. Perhaps you could gather a few images of mountain lion’s in similar poses to your drawing and try to draw from the reference. Also, the tail does look a bit like the front paw. You might want to change the tip of it so that the tail isn’t confused with a paw. Finally, when drawing any animal, make sure to focus mostly on the gesture and pose. Though details are great and fun to draw, the gesture is what helps the drawing read as the desired animal. You may have a rough time using a dog as a reference since they don’t quite move (or rest in this case) like a cat. Keep it up!

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    @MikeCañas I did use several reference photos but none were exactly the pose I wanted and I'm not always good at extrapolating. I think you are right about the tail looking too much like a paw -- I'll see if I can tweak that. Thanks.

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    I redid the mountain lion a little based on your suggestions (and changed its face because I didn’t like what I had.) Here it is in context if you are interested — still very rough.

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    My initial ink rendering. This stage always looks stiff to me but I hope I can get the life back with the wash and hatching. Scan May 9, 2019 at 9.54 AM.jpg

  • Somehow it feels like the one hanging front leg is much longer/bigger than the hind leg. I was looking for reference pictures, for the position and I guess I found the one you used: . If you put both next to each other, maybe you see what I mean with the proportion of the legs :). I know you only asked for help with the cat, but I also noticed that the head of the squirrel is a bit to roundish. It looks now more like a bear. I hope I am not offending you by saying that. All in all I love your Illustration :).

    Edited: I just saw in your last version you adjusted the head allready- so never mind the comment on the squirrel :).

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    @mellebluesworld The squirrel has gone through several permutations and I still don't love the final one so I may fuss with it more. Trying to get it appealing without looking too cartoonish for the style is tough. I inked it traditionally but I'll probably pull it into Procreate to tweak it some more and will take another look at the lion's proportions then too.

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    So here is a lesson in what doesn’t work! I inked this and for the fun of it, went all out on the inking to see if I could get an old style feel. I knew it might not fit the characters but I thought I’d play around with it. Unfortunately, after pulling it into Procreate to throw on a quick color layer, I could see a huge design flaw, namely that the characters showing emotion — the lion and the grouse — are in the background while the foreground squirrel is supposed to be oblivious and is consequently boring. (The caption is that fortunately for the squirrel, the lion had started a diet that morning.)

    And I thought I had thumbnailed it well before I started. I going to count this as just inking practice lesson and start completely over on the design - some day 🙂

    Here’s the ink — traditional dip pen — and the quick color study.


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    I decided to go ahead and paint it to get practice and so I can have some closure with this thread 🙂 here is the final painting, all done traditionally except for a little darkening of the corners in Procreate at the end.


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