How to Draw a Cartoon Catfish

From the misleading name to the misunderstandings about their diets, catfish have long been an intriguing and curious species. Found all across the world, the humble catfish has plenty of strings to its bow; from a unique ability to thrive in almost any climate, to an incredible organ – known as the Weberian apparatus – which allows them to communicate with one another while under the water, there is plenty to learn – and love – about these creatures.

While their lifestyles could not be further from our typical feline friends (it is a very rare cat who will willingly enter the water), these are nonetheless fascinating fish which tend to be pretty underrated.

To help celebrate their unique beauty, here is your step-by-step guide to bring your catfish to life.

Drawing Tutorial Video

Step-By-Step Instructions


How to draw a catfish step 1

Begin by making a mark shaped like a lowercase ‘c’ at around the third of the way across the page, and around a third of the way up. Make sure that the top of the curve is slightly longer than the bottom.


How to draw a catfish step 2

Draw a wavy line extending from the center of the ‘c’, heading out to the right. This should extend across the page around 5 to 6 inches (13-15 cm), and have gentle up-and-down waves before ending in an upwards flick, or tail. We will refer to this later as your main center line.


How to draw a catfish step 3

Starting at the tail of this main center line, draw another line above the first, following the form and shape carefully. Join the right hand end of this line to the tail of the first.


How to draw a catfish step 4

Start by adding a small flick, almost like a fin, to the top line, close to the open end. Next, return to your original ‘c’, and draw another mark, like a wider capital ‘C’, beginning at the bottom of this shape. When you are done, the two ‘C’ shapes should resemble a capital ‘E’, with curved lines.


How to draw a catfish step 5

Next, add a tail to the bottom of your new ‘E’ shape. Start at the bottom of the ‘E’, and make a mark in a downwards direction. Then, draw a second line parallel to this, joining the bottoms in a tail as we did earlier. Leave the top open for now.


How to draw a catfish step 6

Move your pencil to the top of the ‘tail’ you have just created. From here, draw a curved line up to the right hand side, to meet the original main center line. Skip over this gap, and then continue the curved line on the other side, flicking it up at a 90 degree angle to it is curved slightly to the left at the tip.


How to draw a catfish step 7

Turn to the curve you just created, add another smaller line just inside the top section, to nestle inside neatly.


How to draw a catfish step 8

Return to the top of the capital ‘E’, and move to the bottom half of the letter. Carefully draw another parallel line inside this bottom curve, carrying on until you reach the main center line. You will now have a loop which is single lined at the top, and has a double line around the remaining edge.


How to draw a catfish step 9

This step has a few stages. Start by turning to the ‘fin’ shape you created earlier above the main center line ‘tail.’ Above this is the smaller inner curve from the top; extend this curve so that it gently touches the top of the fin shape. Next, turn your attention back to the loop we were just working on. Make another mark, or ‘fin shape’ almost exactly halfway across the top of this loop. Finally, return to the top of the capital E, and move almost to the end of the top line – leave a gap of around half an inch at the end. Draw a smooth, slightly curved line up and out, heading slightly to the right. Can you start to see a cheeky smile?


How to draw a catfish step 10

Take the line you just made, and draw another line slightly inside, this one curving round to the right and down towards the button of your drawing. Add a loop leaning to the left at the end of this line. This will grow into your catfish tail!


How to draw a catfish step 11

Add another, larger loop to the smaller loop you just drew, making sure that both shapes connect to the longer line at the top.


How to draw a catfish step 12

Starting from the inner loop, draw hatching from the inner loop almost to the outer loop.


How to draw a catfish step 13

Return to the top of the drawing, and connect the two top lines together. Next, create another line above, drawing two ridges following the join, and ending by following the curve, closing the shape just before the top of the loop.


How to draw a catfish step 14

Returning to the original main center line, move to the pair of curved lines above this. From here, add a small mark to the right, and connect this to a curved fin shape. Fill this in with hatching.


How to draw a catfish step 15

Draw a line from the tip of this new fin, up and across to the top of the loops on the right.


How to draw a catfish step 16

Around halfway across this line, add another small fin shape, and fill with hatching.


How to draw a catfish step 17

Just above this line, draw a wiggly line from the inner curves, right across to end just above the loop.


How to draw a catfish step 18

Add two parallel wiggly lines to the left of the inner curve, just above your original central line. This is your first whisker!


How to draw a catfish step 19

Return to your original ‘E’ shape, and add another small ‘whisker’ about halfway up, heading out to the left.


How to draw a catfish step 20

Move to the top of the ‘E’, and add another whisker, this one curving upwards to the left.


How to draw a catfish step 21

Move up slightly from the whisker you have just drawn, and add another smaller one – this should be in line with the other small whisker on the right.


How to draw a catfish step 22

Add two circles just above the top whiskers we just completed. Fill them in almost completely, leaving a pinprick dot in each.


How to draw a catfish step 23

Add some surprised-looking eyebrows, along with two small flicks beneath the eyes.


How to draw a catfish step 24

Fill in the fins on the top of the drawing with hatching.


How to draw a catfish step 25

Add a brown color to the top of the shape, leaving the lower jaw and belly empty.


How to draw a catfish step 26

Add a yellow to the belly, fins and lower lip of the jaw.


How to draw a catfish step 27

Color in the tongue with pink, and enjoy your finished catfish!

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