Paint Scruffy Cats in Watercolor and Ink

Feel like painting something truly messy and scruffy today? Here is my Ronald Searle inspired cat painting tutorial to help you explore the real essence of cat with watercolor, ink and dip pen!

Today’s painting emerged from a week of exploring cats and their characters with paint, pencil, pen and paper. Come along and see what you can do to create your own Scruffy Cats!

For this painting the paper requirements are very flexible. Any paper will work, and I used a piece of Bockingford 140lb cold press paper, about 7 x 9 inches in size. I would also recommend papers such as Strathmore, Baohong, Etchr, Bee and Etival for beginners and in fact for anyone who paints a lot of small works.

If you wanted to make this design into a greetings card, use a piece of paper that you can fold in half to the size you want. I think it would be a lovely couples card, don’t you?

Choosing your colors

For this kind of painting you can select whatever color appeals to you most on any particular day! There is no right or wrong in painting whimsy, as it is just a reflection of your imagination and has little to do with reality.

I used paints from A Gallo for this painting and I chose shades of brown and pink, plus I used Naples Yellow for one of the cat’s bodies.

Watch the video on YouTube here:

My Materials

If you use any of the links on my website, even to buy something different from what I recommend, you will help us running this channel as we will receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) for whatever you buy. I have also set up a Store on Amazon where I have collected my favourite products under convenient headings so you can browse there at your leisure!

I often recommend also Jacksons Art for supplies. They are in the UK but their prices are so good it’s worth paying their nominal shipping fee. They also have other interesting features, such as expert-written guides to materials and techniques, an annual competition with a valuable prize, free shipping in the UK for over £75 orders, and very reasonable rates for international orders. Plus they have great discounts. Click on the image below to find out more.


My brush was a Drawell size 14 Golden Round – a very good synthetic brush from Japan. You can order them here: by contacting them direct. The prices are very reasonable and they ship worldwide at minimal cost.

I also often use a brush from ZenArt which you can click below to order. They are an ideal starter set for anyone just building up a collection of good watercolor brushes.


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