Tutorial: Cartoon Scratching Kitty

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This design, based on Margi Kanter’s nose art, has the added fun of becoming animated when the model moves his or her face. If you haven’t experimented with nose cartoons before, I think you’ll find this one both challenging and exceptionally fun.


Yellow face paint (Global in photos)
Orange face paint (Global in photos)
Red face paint (Global in photos)
Black face paint (Diamond FX in photos)
White face paint (Wolfe in photos)
Small filbert brush
#5 round brush
#1 Round Brush


For this design, I drew my basic shape on the face with a small round brush and white face paint before adding the colors. Once you’ve done a design many times, you know exactly where to place the shapes on the face, and you won’t need this step, but the first few times, the outline is helpful. For the cat, you want to make sure the entire head is above the eyebrow line so that the chin just rests between the ends of the eyebrows.

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Color in the shapes. I used a combination of yellow and orange for this, but you could use any color you prefer for your cat. I used more yellow on the muzzle and inner ears to make them lighter. For larger areas I used my small filbert, but if necessary, switch to the #5 round brush instead for the smaller areas. I used the #5 round and white for the eyes.

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Using your #5 round and red face paint, add some stripes to the back and the tail of the cat.

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Use your #1 round and a good lining black (Wolfe, Diamond FX, or Global Strong Black) to create your outline. Take your time and stay up on the tip of the brush for best results.

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Add some white claws and highlights to your cat. The claws should be curved up, since the cat is sliding down vertically.

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Above each claw, add a squiggly line in black which tapers off to a point. Be careful as you apply these so they are parallel and vertical.

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At the suggestion of my husband, I also added some red to the claw marks. This is optional, but it does suggest that the cat is actually scratching your skin as he slides down the face.

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Enjoy your crazy cat!

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Beth MacKinney is the owner of and primary face painter for Face Paint Pizzazz in the NW Chicago suburbs. Stop by for more of her face painting tutorials. Beth also writes for as the Chicago Face Painting Examiner.