How to Draw Eyes for Beginners
Hello, and welcome to my tutorial on how to draw eyes!
This will be a basic tutorial to teach you how to draw eyes in a very beginner-friendly way.
In this tutorial, we won’t focus on hyperrealism, but on basic shapes and anatomy.
Proportions of the Face
To know where to place the eyes, first, we need to know the proportions of the face.
The eyes are the mid-point of the face, and often the focal point as well.
Let’s look at this example below:
If we look at where the eyes are placed, we can see that they are in the center of the face.
The eyes should also have one eyes width between them.
Let’s go over how to draw eyes step by step.
Step One: Find your proportions
For this first step, I have drawn a basic head and face below.
You can see that I have drawn two vertical lines from the inner edge of the eyebrows down to the outer corner of the nostrils.
This line is going to help us find the tear ducts.
Step Two: Draw an oval for each eye
For the eyes, start with basic ovals.
Once we have placed where the eyes should be, we will move on to adding detail.
The tear ducts should be placed touching the vertical lines and should have about one eye length distance between them.
The best thing you can do to practice drawing eye shape is to use a reference photo. I would practice drawing LOTS of different shapes of eyes, and then after a while, you will get better and better at drawing eyes without a reference.
For this example, I drew the character’s eyes at a slight tilt.
Step Three: Outline the iris
Next, we will draw the iris. This all really depends on where your character is looking, but for this beginner tutorial, the character will be looking forward.
The irises should start as two simple circles in the center of the eyes (for characters looking forward).
Step Four: Draw the pupil
Next, draw the pupils. The size of the pupil typically is one pupil width all the way around.
Smaller, or pinpoint pupils indicate a lot of light being taken in, while large pupils indicate that the room is dark.
Step Five: Draw the details
This next step is where the details come in.
I like to make the top half of the eye dark, and the bottom half of the iris is where the color would be. For the character’s eyes below, I did small lines starting at the pupil all the way to the outer edge of the iris.
This is a very simple technique, but it makes for a nice-looking eye.
You could also fill in with whatever color you want, or make this a flat color instead of adding these small lines.
I also add a light reflection in the eyes of almost all of my characters.
This is the small white circle seen in the image above. Where the circle, or reflection, is will be based on where your light source is.
Step Six: Draw the Lashes
The last step is to draw the eyelashes. Depending on the style you prefer, the eyelashes could be very simple, gaudy and large, or almost non-existent.
For my character below, I went with simple, feminine lashes.
As always when drawing lashes, start at the top of the eye and flare them out to the sides. The lashes should be thicker at the base implying multiple lashes next to each other and coming together at a point at the ends.
If you want a more detailed tutorial for drawing eyelashes, click here!
The Shape of the Eye
Let’s talk about the shape of the eyes for a moment.
Generally, the eye shape is ovular and almost looks like an egg. The tear ducts point downward or inward, and you can see the crease above the eye in the lid.
But when learning how to draw eyes, you don’t always have to make them look the same, and you should practice different ways of drawing eyes.
The eyes can be as realistic or as animated as you want them to be.
It really just depends on your style, and what kind of image you want to create.
The eyes pictures below are much more of an animated style than the one above, but both are anatomically correct and proportioned properly.
You can also see that the eyelashes are very simple and that I didn’t draw each one individually.
As long as you keep to the basics of anatomy and proportion, you will be able to draw eyes well.
There is no right or wrong style choice when it comes to learning how to draw eyes.
I drew both of these pictures below, the first one is very stylized, whereas the second is very realistic and has a lot of color, shading, and textures.
The best thing you can do while drawing anything is to keep doing it. Draw it over and over, in lots of different ways.
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent van Gogh
Click here to learn How to Draw Eyelashes with my full tutorial!
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Hi there! My name is Leah, and I am going to help you learn how to draw, and take your pictures to the next level. I have college-level experience with form drawing and multiple art classes under my belt that have helped me create these tutorials. Let's learn how to draw together!