Painting the purrrfect cat!





This tutorial explains how to create your first drawing in Clip Studio Paint.

Here we will introduce how to use Clip Studio Paint as we guide you through the steps of drawing a cat using a photo reference.

You can use the skills you gain from this guide to draw other animals as well.



We’ll go through the following steps to draw the cat in this guide.


You can download a .clip file of the completed illustration from this guide below.


In this guide, we are using the tablet version of Clip Studio Paint, but you can follow this guide with almost no changes to illustrate on your computer or smartphone too!

For the basic instructions on how to use Clip Studio Paint on other devices, take a look at the articles below.

1) Creating a canvas

After starting up Clip Studio Paint, let’s create a canvas to draw on.


Tap New on the left-hand side of the command bar at the top of the screen.


Set the Use of work to Illustration, and enter 2,000 for both the Width and Height parameters.


Click OK to create a square canvas.


2) Rough Sketch

Let’s start by drawing a rough sketch using the photo as a reference. For sketching, we’ll use the Pencil tool.




■ Using the Pencil tool


Select the Pencil tool from the Tool palette on the left edge of the screen, then tap the icon to reveal the Sub Tool palette and select the Pencil tool.


In the same way, tap the Color set palette icon to open it too.

Tap the black tile in the top-left to set the color that we will use for the pencil as a nice, standard black.


The Pencil tool in Clip Studio Paint changes in size and density depending on pen pressure.

You can also tilt the stylus to draw broad strokes, just like a real pencil.




■ Sketching


Sketch the general silhouette and the key parts such as the eyes, nose, and mouth, while keeping the overall balance of the reference picture in mind.


You can use the Eraser tool to erase any mistakes you make.

Select the Eraser icon from the Tool palette to use it.


Once the approximate shapes of the body and face parts have been laid down, your rough sketch is complete.


3) Coloring

■ Color scheme


Before we get to coloring, let’s figure out the color scheme for this piece.

Bring up the Color wheel palette and let’s use it to help us with our color scheme.


For this illustration, we don’t want to make an exact copy of the reference photo, so why don’t we try out a Triadic color scheme?

The Triadic color scheme uses three colors, equally spaced in a triangular shape around the Color Wheel.


For the purposes of this guide, we’ve gone with orange for the background, green for the eyes and a blue-purple color for the patterns on the cat’s fur.




■ Background color


First, let’s change the color of the entire canvas, which will be the background of our illustration.

The default color of the canvas is set to white, but we can change it to whatever color we want.


Tap the Layer palette icon on the Palette dock. This opens the Layer palette. Then, double-tap the thumbnail of the Paper layer.


When the Color settings dialog appears, switch to Color Wheel 1.


Set the hue to orange on the Color Circle (A), and then select the upper-right side of the Color Field (B) so it’s bright and saturated.

Then tap OK to change the canvas color.




■ Creating layers


Now let’s add some layers.

When drawing digitally, separating the parts of an illustration into layers makes it easier to make adjustments and corrections later on.


Press the New Raster Layer icon in the Layer palette to create a new layer.


Next, double-tap the layer to rename it.

Let’s name the layer we just created (Layer 2) ‘Body’, and the one that we drew our sketch on (Layer 1) ‘Sketch’.


If the Body layer is on top of the Sketch layer at this point, let’s switch the layer order.

Drag the grip on the right-hand side of the layer down to reorder the layers.




■ Choosing colors and brushes


Let’s choose a color for the body from the Color wheel palette.

We want it to be lighter than the blue-purple we decided for the fur in the Triadic color scheme, so let’s pick a color close to white at the top of the color space.


The Brush tools used for coloring are separated into Watercolor, Thick paint, and India ink groups within the Sub tool palette.

Because we’re going to be blending colors as we paint, let’s use the Oil paint tool, which you can find in the Tool palette > Brush tool > Thick paint group.

Note: The Tool palette and Sub tool palette icons change depending on the type of Sub tool palette you have selected.

4) Body and Face

■ Body

Select the Body layer from the Layer palette, and then we can start painting.

Don’t worry too much if the paint goes over the lines; just keep painting.


Be sure to change the size of your brush and change up your drawing pressure to block out the shapes you want easier as you paint.

You can change the brush size from the Brush size palette.


To color in the cat’s body, we went with a brush size between 80 and 150.


Use the Eraser tool to erase any parts that go outside the lines, as we did when we made our rough sketch.

Using a small-sized Eraser tool will make it easier to erase in fine detail.


To form the shape of the ear, we went with a brush size of 20.


The work on the body is done once you’re happy with the silhouette of your cat.




■ The details of the face


Next, let’s paint the part of the face, like the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.

First, create a new layer and name it ‘Face’.




■ Ears


Bring up the Color wheel palette, select a pink hue from the wheel and adjust it on the color space so we get a lighter pink.

Fill in the ears so that they form a simple triangle.


For this, we used a brush size between 60 and 80.


After filling the ears in, let’s add the fluffy fur details inside them.


Select the Transparent Color icon from the bottom of the Tool palette.

This will allow you to draw brushstrokes that erase the color like an eraser.


A good brush size for this is between 20 and 40.




■ Laying the base colors for the eyes, nose, and mouth


For a three-dimensional finish on the eyes, nose, and mouth, we’re going to first apply a darker color as the base, and then layer a light color on top afterwards.


For the base color, we’ll use a dark blue-purple color that matches the color of the fur. On the Color Wheel palette, move the circle in the color space to the bottom-right.

Let’s use a thin brush to paint the fine details of the eyes, nose, and mouth. Select the Thin Gouache brush from the Sub Tool palette.


Here, the brush size should be between 20 and 30.


Fill in the shape of the eyes, nose, and mouth according to the lines in the sketch.

To make detail work easier to draw, pinch out to zoom in to the canvas as needed.


Once the base colors for the eyes, nose, and mouth are painted, we'll set Lock transparent pixels to prevent color from going outside these areas when we paint over them.


Go to the Layer palette and select the Face layer, then press the Lock transparent pixels button at the top of the palette.




■ Detailing the eyes and nose


Now let’s draw more details on the eyes and nose.


Let’s select our green color from the Color Wheel palette. Move the circle in the color space to the upper right for a saturated color.

When painting the shape of the eyes, leave some of the dark base color around the edges as an outline.


Here, we chose a brush size between 17 and 30.


Selecting a slightly darker green from the color space in the Color wheel palette we can make the eyes appear more round by adding a bit of a shadow.


If any part extends beyond the edge of the eye, you can use your brush to add to the edge as needed.


If you want to use a color that you have painted with before, such as the base color, or if you want to use a color that has been blended, long-press on the canvas to pick up the color as your drawing color.


After forming the shape of the eye, let’s now draw the pupil.

From the Color Wheel palette, set the color to a dark green and then fill in the center of the eyes.


Choose a pink color now to paint in the shape of the nose, leaving a slight edge visible as an outline, like we did with the eyes.


Now that we have finished, let's hide the Sketch layer and take a look at the illustration.

Tap the eye icon on the left edge of the Sketch layer to hide it.


5) Highlights, Fur, and Whiskers

■ Highlights


Now, let’s add highlights to the eyes and nose to create a more lifelike impression.

First, create a layer in the Layer palette and name it ‘Highlights’.


Add highlights to the nose and eyes.

The position of the highlights on the eyes can change the impression it gives off.

If you place them slightly above the pupil, it will give the impression that the cat is staring straight at you.


Choose the brightest white color from the upper left corner of the Color Wheel palette.

We chose a brush size of 20 here.




■ Fur


Select the Body layer in the Layer palette, and set Lock transparent pixels.


Using the Oil paint brush, we’ll paint the pattern of the fur with the blue-purple color that we chose from the triadic color scheme.


Use a large brush size to create thicker strands of hair, and a small brush size for thinner strands of hair.


Try using a variety of brush sizes between 40 and 120 here.


With the Oil paint brush, the amount of color that is blended depends on pen pressure. By painting with a lighter touch you can lighten the color, and conversely, darken the color with a heavier hand. Using varied pen pressure in your piece can add a lot of depth to it.


You can long-press the canvas to pick up the color of a blended area while drawing to help create a range of tones in your illustration.

Note: on computers, you can pick colors by right-clicking the canvas.




■ Whiskers


Finally, let’s draw the whiskers.


Create a layer in the Layer palette and name it ‘Whiskers’. Drag the grip on the Whiskers layer to move it to the top.


Select white from the Color Wheel palette. Then select the Thin Gouache brush from the Sub tool palette.

The brush size we used here is 10.


You can paint beautiful, smooth, clean whiskers by making quick brushstrokes.

Rotate the canvas with two fingers and adjust the angle to make it easier to draw the lines of the whiskers.


It may be challenging to draw dynamic lines at first.

Tapping with two fingers on the canvas will undo the previous line, so you can quickly redraw them as needed.


As the final touch, let’s add our signature, and voila - we’re done!


6) Saving and sharing

If you save your work in the Clip Studio format, you can save it with the layers intact.


Tap the Save button in the Command bar, choose where to save your work and tap Save in the upper-right of the screen.


Use Quick Share to upload your work to social media, or send it to your friends and family by email.

Select Quick Share from the File menu to select where to share your work.

Note: Quick Share is available on the Tablet and Smartphone versions of Clip Studio Paint.



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