How to Draw a Cat Eye (manga or Anime)




I try to make the details simple and the simple detailed. I also do semi-professional pet portra...

Hello everyone! As you all know, I've got a few manga cat tutorials already, but I figured it was about time I did one specific to the eye, which is particularly tricky. So, without any further adieu, let's get to it!

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Step 1: Some Things You'll Need

To follow this 'ible exactly, you will need GIMP and a basic knowledge of it, but a similar look can be achieved with Photoshop. You could also use traditional mediums like markers or paints.

Step 2: Sketch

Make a new image (it is very important that you make it 2000 x 2000 pixels). Using a bright color (I used cyan), draw a sketch. You can use the eclipse select tool to get better proportions.

Step 3: Lineart

Select the 'Pen Generic' preset to draw the lineart. Use a 4-pixel brush. Make sure you put it on a new layer. You can use IWarp (filters>distort>IWarp) to correct mistakes.

Step 4: Base Coat and Beginning to Add Details

Fill in the background layer and the iris (do the iris on a separate layer). You don't have to use the same colors I used, they are just suggestions. Choose a large, soft brush. Set the spacing to somewhere around 37. Burn the top and rims of the eye, then dodge the bottom.

Step 5: More Details

Lower the brush size and burn markings that look like: ( ) around where the pupil will be. Burn three or four little lines coming out from those. Dodge the area directly around and under the pupil, as well as in between the little lines. Use a smoke or cloud brush to slightly smudge the eye (be sure to lock the alpha channel before you do this, though). If needed, you can also use this brush to enhance the contrast between the shadows and the highlights. Fill in the pupil with a darker version of the eye color (never use black). If you want, you can dodge/burn the pupil, too.

Step 6: Even More Detailing

Fill in the tear duct and eye white. Add any markings you want (I chose to use tabby markings). Add highlights to the eye.

Step 7: Finishing It Up

Select the shadows. Feather the selection by 18 pixels, sharpen it, then feather it again at 2 pixels. Doing this smooths out any rough edges and greatly improves the overall quality of the image. On a new layer, fill in the shadows (I used a light blue, but almost any color will work). Set the layer mode to 'multiply'. Make another new layer. Invert the shadows selection (select>invert). Fill it in and set the layer mode to 'soft light' (I used light orange).

Step 8: We're Done

I Hope you enjoyed this. It isn't hard if you know how to do it, and it doesn't take very long to do, either. If you draw this, I would love to see how it comes out. Have fun!

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    16 Discussions

    aartcritiquemazzy mitchell

    Reply 4 years ago

    Nice work! Is this the eye of one of your characters? Or is it a random cat? If it's a random cat, this eye could make a great character base :).


    Reply 4 years ago

    One more thing, don't forget about the movable layers function, it can make drawing on the computer a lot easier and you won't have to worry about accidentally going over your lineart. If you ever need some help, just ask. ;-) Once again I love the color scheme and the amount of attention you paid to the highlights. Two paws up: ฅ'ω'ฅ!

    aartcritiquemazzy mitchell

    Reply 4 years ago

    Nice work! I can tell you really pushed for this one and used the dodge and burn tools many times, tools that can be very hard to use. Your eye's highlights are smooth and add a wonderful sparkle to the image. Great job! Keep drawing!

    aartcritiquemazzy mitchell

    Reply 4 years ago

    I'm really excited that I've inspired you and that you've used this instructable! :-D Hmm... unfortunately, the picture didn't show up :-( ... Not sure if there's a problem with my device or with the picture. What did you save it as? If you haven't tried saving as a JPEG or a PNG, that could be the issue.

    I'm very proud of you for pushing forward, Photoshop is really hard to learn and use (I still haven't quite figured it out)! As usual, keep it up, mazzy!

    BTW, the next 'let's draw manga' lesson has finally come out after hiding in my drafts for over two months!


    4 years ago

    Hi, Mazzy Mitchell sorry for taking so long to reply to all of your comments... I've been super busy! Your Manga sounds really interesting and I hope for you all the best, it's very hard to draw out every little scene. It can get really tedious really fast. Please do post pictures! I love seeing other people's artwork!
    Thank you for your feedback, and well, while I would love to have an 'ible or two on Manga people, I am not yet good enough at drawing people... At all... While I have improved over the past month, I still haven't produced anything I'd deem instructables worthy?. I will get one out there eventually, maybe even next month, but don't hold your breath, you'll pass out?! Oh, and keep an eye out for the second lesson in my "Let's Draw Manga" series, it will have a bonus on how to make an Aurora that will go with any style.

    4 replies

    Not too bad, mazzy! Keep up the good work; and no, you aren't annoying at all! I love comments! You said you don't have gimp? Photoshop will work too. I have been using gimp for a few years now. It is a very capable program. It may not be as powerful as Photoshop just yet, but when the next update comes out (2.10), gimp will catch up to Photoshop in many ways and become a major rival. Gimp does have a few nice features that I haven't found in Photoshop, such as the ability to completely control the dynamics (yup, I finally got Photoshop, though it is an older version). Each program has its own pros and cons. I've found that using them together really brings out their best key features, smoothing out the drawing process. If you would like to download gimp (it's 100% free), be sure to get it from the official site, as other sites will encrypt malware into this normally legit program. Just so you don't get lost, here is a link to the official download page: .

    Keep drawing and thank you very much for sharing your work!

    Oh, one more thing, do you plan on getting your manga published? You can self-publish for free or at a very low cost on Amazon's E-book store. Many other places that sell e-books will also do this, so be sure to look around. :) ;)

    Thanks for all the info! You've been a great inspiration, honestly. Working on cat eye! Hopefully I can figure everything out. Don't know a lot about photoshop.

    p.s. If you could try doing an instructable on a manga human, i think that would turn out great!

    That's awesome! I have photoshop, but I don't know 100% about it. (Oh, and I'm super happy you've posted again. I really like your 'How to draw manga cats anatomically correct')