How to Paint Tim Burton’s Cheshire Cat | Acrylic Painting Tutorial

Paint the Cheshire Cat in this easy step-by-step acrylic painting tutorial for beginners

In this step-by-step tutorial, you’ll learn to paint the creepy Cheshire cat from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland using acrylic paint. You’ll learn how to paint this ghoulish cat’s colorful fur using fun neon colors, create a wide-set grin with lots of pointy teeth, and make those big eyes that can make any passerby wince.


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Cheshire Cat Acrylic Painting Instructions

Follow these step-by-step instructions on how to paint your very own spooky cheshire cat painting.

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Want the Full Tutorial + Traceable Stencil (with no ads)?

If you want to get the entire step-by-step painting tutorial (without ads), printable supply list and stencil for 3 standard canvas sizes, check out this painting printable here in my shop.

Paint the Background

STEP 1: Start out by painting your entire canvas with your flat wash brush and black paint. Let dry for 5 minutes.

1. Paint in the Background

Trace in the Cheshire Cat

STEP 2: Using your cheshire stencil, place and trace onto your canvas paper. If you need directions on how to do this, read this helpful post on transferring stencils to paper.

2. Add in the Cheshire Cat Stencil

Paint in the Eyes

STEP 3: With your rinsed flat wash brush, mix together blue and white to make a light blue. Block in both the eyes with this color. To get to the edges and finer areas, you can switch over to your filbert brush.

3. Paint in the eyes

STEP 4: Grab a bit more blue onto your filbert brush and lightly brush the color on the top portions of both eyes to create a shadow.

4. Add the eye shadows

Paint in the Fur

STEP 5: With your round brush, dip into your yellow and begin to add the “eyelash” fur on the cheshire cat. Start with the top of the right eye, and create curved lines veering right, along the top perimeter. Repeat this on the other eye with the curve going in the opposite direction.

5. Add in eyelashes

STEP 6: From there, continue adding more yellow fur around the entire cat face, including the ears and top of the mouth. I used a lot of smaller brush strokes and varied the direction they fell to create a more furry organic look.

6. Paint the yellow fur

STEP 7: With your clean round brush, mix red and blue and white together to make a purple. Then go back in and create more furry brush strokes along the entire cat face. Feel free to add some purple fur layers on top of the yellow fur layers as you do this too. I even added a layer of purple under the eyes and above his nose.

7. Paint in the purple fur

STEP 8: With your detail brush, dip into your purple color (red + blue) and create an outline at the bottom of each of the eyes. You can carry this to the corners of each of the eyes as well as a bit on the sides of the eye.

8. Paint in the deep blue shadow

STEP 9: With your clean round brush, dipped in blue + white, create another layer of fur around the entire cat face. The more you can overlap your fur strokes, the fuller the coat will look. I even used this color to block in a good deal of the fur inside the cat ears as well as the bottom of his mouth.

9. Paint in the blue fur

Paint in the Teeth

With your detail brush dipped in white, add the small white teeth of the Cheshire cat. I varied the types of teeth I made, the front top teeth have a rounded bottom while some other teeth had sharper tips. Vary these as you see fit. The more teeth you can add here, the better and creepier it will look!

10. Paint in the teeth

Paint in Highlights

With your detail brush dipped in white, outline the entire nose of the cheshire cat.

11. Paint the nose highlight

Paint in the Pupils

With your rinsed detail brush dipped in black, create two diamond shapes inside each eye. The diamond shape will touch the top of his eye but stops about 1/2″ from the bottom of his eye. Color block the diamond shapes.

12. Paint in the pupils

Paint in the Whiskers

To paint the whiskers, take your detail brush with black to the bottom of one eye and create a straight line coming out about 4-5″. Repeat this starting at the same point for each whisker but varying the angle it comes out until you have 3 whiskers. Repeat this whole step again under the second eye to create another set of whiskers.

13. Paint in the whiskers

Paint in Highlights

With your detail brush dipped in white, add a small highlight line on each of the pupils as well as a few small lines around the fur to create a few highlights, including the fur in his ears and along the whiskers.

14. Add in the highlights

Once you are satisfied with your work, step back and admire your newly made Cheshire cat.

Want the Full Tutorial + Traceable Stencil (with no ads)?

If you want to get the entire step-by-step painting tutorial (without ads), printable supply list and stencil for 3 standard canvas sizes, check out this painting printable here in my shop.

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How to Paint Tim Burton’s Cheshire Cat | Acrylic Painting for Beginners

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