Line and patterned cat art lessons for younger students in the classroom this fall

Line and Pattern Cat


Starting the school year with a line drawing is one of the best ways to gauge the attention level of you class and create a beautiful and expressive piece of art at the same time.

The approach that works for me is to prep the tables with a sheet of white paper and black marker and jump right into drawing the cat. Displaying a teacher sample is optional. An example of what the kids will be creating can be inspiring for some and offer a simple path for others. You get to choose what works for you.

The instructions for the patter cat are pretty simple.

Step 1

Start with a directed line drawing of the cat and then progress to showing examples of patterns.

Tip: Directed drawings are great at the beginning of the year because it gives you an idea of how well the kids listen to instructions.

Start with a circle if children are very young or just learning how to draw. Providing a circle tracer like the cover of a plastic food container works wonders for getting the art started.

Add a triangle for the nose, oval eyes and triangles for ears.

Step 2

The body can be as simple or as detailed as you like. Start the drawing at the side of the cat’s head, draw a curved line all the way around to the other side of the paper.

Line and pattern cat art project that is perfect for children in the classroom for the fall

Draw a line under the chin to form the front part of the body.

Step 3

Add in any final cat body details and then the fun begins! Demonstrate how to divide the cat into sections. Each section is an opportunity to add pattern.

Sometimes children tire of drawing too many patterns so do this project while reading a book. It gives their hands something to do, while listening intently to a story. Beware though, some kids cannot listen and draw at the same time. Many will stop. I probably would. Either way, it’s good for the child.

To extend this project, cut out the image and paste onto a colorful piece of construction paper. The contrast of the black and white drawings is stunning with a bright color.

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Line and pattern cat art project that is perfect for children in the classroom for the fall

Check out these other fun line drawing lessons:

Line Drawing Art Lessons: Name Designs

Line Drawing Art Lesson: Turtles 

What do you think?

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  • Sarah

    Thanks for sharing…very very fascinating and clever! xx

  • Sue

    What a great idea. one of my studetns is obsessed with cats and has really good fine motor skills. She is going to love this activity.
    thanks for the idea.

  • Patty P

    I forgot to mention that it's a good idea to leave the cat face free of patterns. This way the kids can add a face and the patterns won't jumble it up.

  • Anonymous

    I love your blog and art ideas. I taught art last year for the first time, without any training and was blessed to find your pages. Is it possible for you to post directions to drawing the cat and owl?

  • Anonymous

    What a simple, yet stunning idea. I'm going to use butterflies as we are sending Monarchs off on their migration to Mexico. Thanks!

  • Amy

    This lesson was a wonderful inspiration to me! I was trying to think of a new lesson to introduce line to me first graders. I loved the idea of filling animal bodies with lines. Then I saw my book of Elmer on my bookshelf, and finally I knew how I could use the story of Elmer in a lesson! I had the kids draw an elephant with black crayon and fill the body with all the different kinds of lines we talk about. Each line would be drawn 5 times and each kind of line was drawn with a different colored crayon. Then the kids had to create a background for Elmer with black crayon and they had to use at least 3 different kinds of line in the background. Lastly the kids watercolored everything except the elephant. They were adorable! And all because of your line lesson! Thanks so much!!!!

  • Mary Breveleri

    If you can get it, Calabash Cat is a story by James Rumford. It is a perfect literacy link and looks exactly like your cat. I think Artsonia has a link.

    • Patty

      Yes, I have heard of Calabash Cat and you’re right. The illustrations are fantastic. Line drawings aren’t used that often in pictures books anymore so this one is a real gem.

  • Masquerade

    I thought this project was wonderful. At first I thought it would not end well, but when it was finished I thought it was great.

  • Masquerade

    I loved this project. I thought was going to look weird, but when I was done it turned out really well!

  • nancy

    Saw the most beautiful line art drawing at a student art show where the directed line drawing was a girl’s silhoutte!

  • Masquerade

    I entered my cat drawing in a 4-H contest and I won 2nd

    • Patty


  • Michelle

    I just came across this, and I really Love it! My 4th grade is EXTREMELY challenging with about 50% Special Ed, anger management, and social/behavior issues! Last week I introduced ZENTANGLE to them which is doodling as an artform, and this lesson follows up beautifully!

    I just don’t think they’d sit and listen to me read them a picture book though….

    • Patty

      Yes, maybe you can skip the book reading. Glad it worked!

  • Alba

    I’ve been following your blog this year and has helped me a lot in different activities such as art and design teacher in a school in Colombia. Congratulations all the information is very good.

  • Liezel

    Hi patty
    If I did one such drawing lesson ( the turtle) with a group of six -8 year olds, can I attempt the owl or cats as a second line drawing lesson? or would it become to familiar to them?

    • Patty Palmer

      Hi Liezel,
      It really depends how much time you have in your art program. Since they both cover the same skills, I probably would pick something that taught a different skill. If you have lots of time however, then go for it!

  • Jen

    Hi! Do you have more detailed instructions about this lesson? I am hoping that you have a “how to draw a cat” handout! I love the step by step instructions. I am also wondering what you say to them about the patterns. Thanks!

    • Patty Palmer

      Great suggestions, Jen, but I don’t have any other instructions. This is an old post and was created before I gave detailed instructions. Probably time to revisit this lesson!

  • smcgill

    Love this tasks. Do you know any picture books to demonstrate illustrators use of lines and patterns.

    • Patty

      Yes! Check out Clare Youngs

  • louise O'Donoghue

    The children will love this!

  • Aoife Power

    Love this

  • Dorothy

    Always vibrant ideas!

  • Olivia

    I loved making the cat! It was so much fun and mine turned out amazing!

  • Debbie Williamson

    Love all your ideas and that you don’t mind sharing them. My students like that I have art friends far away in other states. I tell them that my friends in the other states care about them that’s why they share their ideas and finished projects with us. Thanks a million for all your excellent ideas, lessons and information.

  • Nicole Robinson

    Thank you so much. Just what I was looking for!

  • Anna Marie Nagai

    Liked it very much

  • melsareyes

    EXCELENTE!!! mis estudiantes aman los gatos!

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