Lesson 1 - House Cat - Side View
In my first lesson, we will be finishing the drawing of the surface of a house cat based on the skeleton and muscle reference photos provided. While we work on that, Bobby and I will discuss the different characteristics of the house cat and how they will affect your drawing, such as the directions in which the cat's fur grows, the thickness of the fur, when to use thicker or thinner lines to indicate interactions with light and shadow, and how to use texture to describe structure and form without getting lost in the details.
Lesson 2 - House Cat - 3/4 View
Just below the surface of an animal is the complex muscular system that allows them to move and emote, and add an extra layer of protection. In this lesson, we'll be focusing on the musculature that lies on top of the skull of the house cat while Bobby and I talk about the differences between the skulls of large and small felines, which muscles work to move certain features on the face, and what landmarks I look for in the reference photos to be able to accurately draw the musculature beneath the fur.
Lesson 3 - House Cat - Front View
Compared to other felines, the skulls of house cats have many defining characteristics that differentiate them from bigger felines like lions and tigers. I'll go over these characteristics during my discussion with Bobby while we draw the skull of the house cat together, and talk about the different teeth that cat's have and their functions, and the asymmetry that exists in all living creatures.
Lesson 4 - Lioness - Side View
Next, we will move on to drawing the surface of one of the bigger felines, the magnificent lioness. As we go through our drawing, I'll be talking with Bobby about the main physical differences between the lioness and the house cats we've previously looked at, how to approach drawing the side view vs. the front view, and common mistakes to avoid when carrying out the exercise.
Lesson 5 - Lioness - 3/4 View
In this lesson, Bobby and I talk about the details of the lioness skull, including the various muscles and their functions, their attachment points, and how the facial muscles of a lioness differ from those of the common house cat. While we draw the musculature of the lioness head together, I'll also go over the importance of design and searching for the voice of the creature to give it a more lively feeling.
Lesson 6 - Lioness - Front View
By analyzing the face and musculature of the lioness head, we can establish where different areas of the skull will fall to get an accurate representation. As I draw the skull of the lioness, I'll show you how to think about all of the main parts individually to simplify the process while Bobby and I discuss the variation in fur patterns of the lioness compared to those of house cats, and reiterate the importance of asymmetry to get a realistic result.
Lesson 7 - Meowing House Cat
To better our understanding of the anatomy of felines, it's important for us to explore the many different poses and facial expressions that they make. In this exercise, I'll be drawing the surface of the house cat while Bobby and I chat about how different fur textures can indicate the environment in which the feline lives, why cats can't roar like lions or tigers, the relationship between fur and feathers on animals, and common mistakes that you should avoid as you complete the surface of the house cat along with me.
Lesson 8 - Roaring Lioness
Now that we have covered small cats and their meows, let's move on to big cats and their mighty roars! There are many differences between the lioness and the house cat, and in this lesson, Bobby and I will talk about some of those major differences, the anatomy of the lioness face and the functionality of different features, how to use line density to indicate light and shadow to separate areas, and describe my thought process as I tackle drawing the surface of the lioness with you.
Lesson 9 - Yawning House Cat
Next, we're going to tackle another common expression that all felines display: the yawn. I'll show you how I draw the skull of a yawning house cat and share my thought process while Bobby and I talk about similarities between house cat and cougar skulls compared to lion skulls, how cats are seemingly able to fit into the smallest of spaces, and why paying attention to perspective is crucially important for this exercise.
Lesson 10 - Yawning Lioness
They say that yawning is contagious, so let's keep the theme going with another yawning pose! This time, we will be focusing on drawing the skull of a yawning lioness. As I draw the skull, I'll be connecting what we learned about the yawning house cat and comparing that to the lioness while Bobby and I go over the main points of the skull to look out for, and talk about how to make something look "cool" as opposed to "cute" when designing creatures.
Lesson 11 - Snarling House Cat
A snarl may seem like a sign of aggression, but it can mean much more than that. Snarls can convey fear, fright, and even pain, and it's an important expression to be able to showcase properly. In this lesson, I will show you how to draw the musculature on the skull of a snarling house cat while Bobby and I chat about how the fur reacts to this movement, the shapes of the different facial muscles and their functions, and how these characteristics change as a cat ages.
Lesson 12 - Snarling Lioness
The snarling expression of a lioness is a tricky one to deal with, especially when it comes to drawing the musculature. As I complete the drawing of the musculature of the lioness, I'll go over what happens when the facial muscles contract and fold, the wrinkles that form when the lioness snarls, and the anatomical functions and proportions of the facial muscles. Bobby and I also discuss the details of the pose, the process of character design as it pertains to actual animals vs. imaginary creatures, and some of my artistic influences that I've had throughout my career.
Lesson 13 - Lion Body - Side View
In this lesson, we're going to tackle our first full-body exercise as we draw the musculature of a lion. I will show you how I piece together where certain muscles are while Bobby and I carry out our discussion about the different layers of muscles on the lion's body, the muscle origin and insertion points, the key differences between the lion and lioness bodies, and how I became interested in and learned about animal anatomy and zoology.
Lesson 14 - House Cat/Lion Comparison
We've taken a close look at examples of both the house cat and the lioness, and in this lesson I will go over a few more key differences and similarities between small and large felines as I draw the musculature of the full body of a lion. As we go along, Bobby and I talk about why the heads of small and large felines look so much bigger than the skull would suggest, why some creatures look much different in their infancy compared to adolescence, how exercises like these help me to design original creatures, and how putting your own creative twist on real animals can create and original idea by using the familiar to understand the unknown.
Lesson 15 - Sitting House Cat
Next, I'm going to show you how to draw the musculature of the house cat in a sitting pose. I'll explain how the cat's body adjusts to various poses like this, why cats are able to squeeze through tiny openings, and which order I recommend doing things in for this particular exercise. While we work on that, Bobby and I have a conversation about how anatomy plays a role in making animated films, the importance of using reference for precise anatomical work, why cats have such great balance, and how adding subtle details to your work can affect how people react and relate to your designs.
Lesson 16 - Dancing House Cat
You might have only seen a dancing cat in "Cats" the musical, until now! In this lesson, we will be working from a unique pose that really showcases the flexibility that house cats have. This pose is very different from our previous exercises as there is a twist in the body that is shown at an up-angle, which can present some new challenges that we will work through as we complete the musculature drawing. Bobby and I talk about the importance of using reference so we are not limited to drawing from our own imaginations, what to look for when using reference photos, and what makes a "good" reference photo.
Lesson 17 - Saber-Toothed Cat - Body
One of the most well-known prehistoric creatures is the saber-toothed cat, and for good reason! With its bulky forelimbs and distinctive, saber-shaped canine teeth, it's no wonder why these beautiful and dangerous creatures still fascinate us long after they've gone extinct. In this lesson, we'll be taking everything we learned from what exists now and try to apply it to something from the past that we don't have any real photos or videos of. As I draw the musculature of the entire body of the saber-toothed cat, Bobby and I talk about the history of saber-toothed cats, the relationship between science and imagination, creating realistic vs. cartoony creatures, and why it's actually inaccurate to call them "saber-toothed tigers".
Lesson 18 - Saber-Toothed Cat - Head
In our final lesson, we'll be focusing on drawing the musculature of just the head of the saber-toothed cat. There are a few key things to keep in mind when tackling this exercise, which I'll go over as I chat with Bobby about prehistoric creatures, the possible behavioral and physical traits of saber-toothed cats, and things that I personally wonder about these fascinating creatures of the past.