Born in Kyoto, Eitoku's grandfather Kano Motonobu was an official painter for the Ashikaga Shogunate. Under his grandfather's guidance, he started to paint at an early age developing upon his grandfather's style which had influence from Chinese-style painting.
During his lifetime, Eitoku's patrons included Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. His standing screen, sliding door, wall, and ceiling paintings decorated Nobunaga's Azuchi castle and Hideyoshi's residence in Kyoto and Osaka castle.
Unfortunately, most of his works were ruined or destroyed in the turmoil of the Sengoku period, however those that do still exist provide testimony to his talent, power and wealth of his patrons Nobunaga and Hideyoshi, and magnificence of Azuchi-Momoyama culture.
The painter Hasegawa Tohaku was a contemporary and rival of Eitoku.