Line Drawing Art Lessons: Owls and Cats


In keeping with my theme for line drawings, I’m posting a few of my samples that I have done with my students over the years. I don’t like to show “teacher samples” as I don’t feel that helps you much with your expectations, but I’m making an exception here. Hopefully, you’ll get inspired to try a few with your students this fall.

The instructions are simple and are mostly the same for all the line drawings that I do.

Start with a directed line drawing (these are great at the beginning of the year because it gives you an idea of how able the kids are at listening) and then progress to showing examples of patterns.

Let the students finish up their drawings at their own pace. Many teachers I’ve talked to love to have their students work on these line drawings 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 drawing! 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.

Here are a few samples of cats, owl and fish. As you can see, you can do any animal, even insects (think ladybug!). The focus is to teach children about patterns.


Check out these other fun line drawing lessons:

Line Drawing Art Lessons: Name Designs

Line Drawing Art Lesson: Turtles 

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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

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