One of our eResources, Creativebug, has is a project called “Doodle and Paint an Animal Portrait.” I am here today to show you my results! (Note: Creativebug does require you to create an account with your library card.)


I used acrylic paint, brushes and canvases that I happened to have on hand. But you can also use watercolors and watercolor paper, or colored pencils and paper. Whatever you have on hand will work! It’s a very versatile project.

Step 1: Pick Your Images

I decided to paint two pictures because 1) I am over ambitious, and 2) I could not choose between my beloved cats: Tux and Kairi. So here I am with double the work and double the love.

My source images:

Step 2: Sketch Out Your Portraits

You want to look as little as you can at the canvas and more at the source photo. Ideally you wouldn’t look at all, doing a true blind contour drawing, but I went a little less blind for mine. Call it artistic license! If it looks a little wonky, that just means you’re doing it right! We’re going more for abstract than pure realism here.

Step 3: Doodle!

Here you were supposed to do some extra doodles inside your drawings for extra abstractness but I wanted to get straight to painting. I was a little impatient and went off the guide from here on. After all, it’s a tutorial, not a directive! Do what makes you happiest. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it.

Step 4: Picking Colors

For my colors, I stuck true to life but I didn’t use any pure black except for the background. What you see in the photos below as black and grey in the body of my cat Tux, is actually a mixture of red, green and white! This way when I used black for the background, he really pops and doesn’t blend in.

My painting of Kairi, I didn’t use any black at all. All of that is again, red, green and white. The only additional color I used was purple for the background. What creative ways can you mix colors to get a desired effect!

Step 5: Paint

Now that you’ve chosen your colors, paint, paint, paint until you’re complete! Fill in all those doodles with beautiful colors.

Overall, I really enjoyed this project, and enjoyed it enough to do two whole paintings! I’m really happy with how they came out. My only issue is figuring out where to hang these in my house.

This Creativebug project gets a 10/10 for me! Try it out today with whatever you have on hand! Household pet not required. Any close-up animal image will work.