Love Erin Hunter’s Warriors series? Want to learn how to draw your favorite cats? Learn how to draw Graystripe with Warriors Manga illustrator James L. Barry!
Hi, I’m James L Berry, and I’m the illustrator for the Warriors comic series.
And today I’m going to be drawing Graystripe.
So when I’m drawing a cat, the first thing I start with is a circle shape.
To kind help me figure out where the features of the cat are, I will draw lines around that circle.
And then I add another circle for the muzzle.
That’s the little snout where the nose and the mouth are.
And then I’ll sketch in spots for the eyes really lightly.
I’m starting out light and loose at first, sketch in the ears.
And then I might draw some lines that go forward over the muzzle to the nose, that comes from the eyes.
And then I sketch in the shape of the mouth, which is like an upside down Y shape.
And there we have a simple cat face.
Now, at this point, the cat could be any cat.
I could turn it into Firestar or Leafstar.
But today I’m going to be drawing Graystripe.
So from there I start adding the details that make Graystripe unique.
So the first thing about Graystripe is that he’s a long haired cat.
And so when I was designing the character, I played around with that idea and decided to give him a little tuft of hair on the top of his head.
It’s kind of like a little mohawk.
And then I decided to give him little tufts of hair on the side of his cheeks, kinda like mutton chops.
There we go.
And then he also has big bushy eyebrows.
So the eyebrows were important because I wanted to be able to make Graystripe expressive.
So he’s got three little tufts of hair for the eyebrows.
So now we have the basic shape of Graystripe’s face.
He also has a squared off chin.
And then, when I’m doing a portrait of it, I might just kind of indicate the fur on his chest down here.
So you see I’m adjusting things as I go, kind of revising and refining the drawing.
Again, it’s not about making everything perfect at the beginning, it’s about making the simple shapes and refining as you go.
When I first started drawing Graystripe, for the Lost Warrior, I thought a lot about what he’d already been through as a character.
And he had had a lot of hardships.
Obviously he had lost his partner in Silverstream and had all this drama with RiverClan and ThunderClan.
And I kind of wanted to reflect that in his eyes.
So I kinda gave him these dark kind of circles underneath his eyes.
But Graystripe isn’t always serious, he can be playful, too.
So I kinda wanted to play around with the idea that he gets this sort of mischievous smile sometimes, where he raises one eyebrow and keeps one eyebrow lowered.
So I’m gonna try to sketch him out like that with a little smile.
So this is a very simple drawing.
But then the fun part comes when you start to clean it up.
And when I’m illustrating the Warrior series I use a pen and ink.
But you can also use microns or other kinds of pens to illustrate your drawing.
So I’ll be demonstrating how you can clean this up with a pen.
So I like to start with a medium sized pen at first and sort of go around the outline of the head, all right?
So I’m going around the outline of his head.
And again, I’m using all these loose and lightly sketched lines and sort of refining them and picking what works best.
There’s his little mutton chop sideburns.
And I get his eyebrows on the far side.
Obviously, cats don’t have eyebrows in real life.
But when creating a character for a cartoon or a comic strip, sometimes it’s important to add sort of human elements to the character to make them more relatable and to make their expressions more readable.
Okay, so I kind of went around the outline of his head.
Now I start with the features on the inside.
So I’m doing his eyes, and there’s that sort of dark line underneath his eyes.
And then, like I said, I’m gonna make this eye a little bit bigger.
And visible eyebrow.
Then we have the line that comes from the eyes, forward on the muzzle, towards the nose.
And then his mouth shape.
And then the far side of the muzzle, I use a solid line for that, going around that circular shape.
So I use sort of a medium size pen for that.
Obviously, if you only have one kind of pen, you can continue with that.
But if you have different options, I like use a thinner pen to add a little bit of more detail and little bits of fur and hair on his body.
So I use a thinner pen to go around the near side of the muzzle.
And I use these little dashes along the top of his nose, indicate his fur, and some other lines here and there.
Some fur in the ears.
Okay, so now I’m going to take my eraser and erase the loose and rough pencil lines.
Hopefully, it doesn’t smear.
All right, so you can already see this is a much more cleaned up looking drawing.
So from here I take a thicker pen, in this case I’m using sort of a brush pen.
And here I can kind of go over some of the lines that I’ve already done.
And if something looks rough, I can clean it up a little bit.
And I like to use thicker lines on the outside of the face.
And I might color in his eyes.
The underside of his little mohawk.
And if I messed up at some point, I could sort of refine that with this thicker pen.
Add some dark shadows in his ear.
So now I can look at my drawing and if there’s anything I missed, I can go back now that the pencil lines are cleaned up or erased.
I can go back with one of my other pens and maybe add some more tufts of fur in his ear.
All right, and so there we have a finished drawing of Graystripe, more or less.
But the last thing you have to do is add his whiskers, so I do that with another thin pen.
There we go, and there we have Graystripe.
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