How to Draw Tears and Crying Eyes

How to draw tears and crying eyes

How to draw tears on a face

I really think that I learned how to draw crying faces and tears from watching a lot of anime as a kid.

And to be honest, that’s a really decent place to start.

(Sailor Moon cries a lot)

But in all realness,

when drawing emotional characters, knowing how to draw tears is important!

Being able to draw tears well can really show how practiced you are in art, and how well you can convey human emotion in a drawing.

In this tutorial, I am going to teach you how to draw tears that look realistic, tears that look stylized, and how to draw tears in different stages.

We will also go over how to draw a crying face.

how to draw tears and crying eyes

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(All Gifs are from

For this lesson, I will be using Procreate for iPad pro to show how to draw tears.

You can use whatever art materials or instruments you have available though!

How to draw a sad face step-by-step

Before we draw our character crying, we need to know how to draw a sad face.

What makes a face look sad?

Let’s look at this drawing of a sad girl, and learn more about this facial expression.

how to draw a sad face

Before we draw our character crying, let’s look at what makes a face look sad.

First off, let’s learn how to draw sad eyes, and draw a sad mouth.

Looking at the curve lines below, you can see that the eyes and eyebrows pinch up in the middle.

How to draw a sad facial expression

When we are sad, our eyes will look the same as when we are worried or concerned,

unless they are squeezed shut.

You want to make sure to convey that your character is sad or in distress before you add tears.

Let’s look at the mouth next.

How to Draw a Sad Mouth

What is your character’s mouth doing while they are crying?

When a character is crying, their mouth typically isn’t in a straight line.

Lastly, let’s learn how to draw a sad mouth, and the emotion in that facial expression.

sad mouth

The corners of the mouth pull down.

Another feature we can see is in the bottom lip:

The bottom lip typically quivers upwards towards the top lip when we feel distressed and about to cry.


how to draw crying

What happens to our faces when we cry?

It’s a very powerful, and overwhelming thing, crying.

When we are drawing a mournful, distressed, worried facial expression, the eyes should look like they are crying.

Even without the presence of tears.

When a person is crying and/or has tears in their eyes, their eyes will be squinted and contorted more than normal. Their eyes feel strained and start to look puffy.

Sometimes, the character’s eyes will be completely shut while crying. This is up to you as the artist to decide what the emotion behind the image should be.

How to draw tears

Tears are often thought of as drops, like raindrops. But while this is technically true, it’s not helpful when drawing them.

My first piece of advice for drawing tears is to NOT draw them as teardrops individually on the face,

UNLESS you are going for a super stylized art style.

tears don't look like raindrops

Drawing tear drops individually makes your artwork look cartoonish, like Alice in the GIF below.

It’s a very early Disney, modern basic cartoon style of drawing.

And there is nothing wrong with that if that is the style you are going for!

Step One: Draw the face and eyes

Before we start this lesson, you should have your character’s face mostly drawn already.

ears and neck

Their face outline, nose, mouth, and the outline of the eyes should be drawn. If you need help with any of these, check out my beginner tutorial area.

Step Two: How much is the character crying?

There are multiple stages of tears and crying.

Is your character tearing up? Are they bawling?

Person tearing up

Understand how tears look in different stages

Not all crying characters will have waterfall tears.

Sometimes, there will be a glisten that represents tears, and other times your characters will have tears streaming down their faces.

In the image above, we can see that the character is tearing up.

how to draw tears

The tears form in small, round, almost bubble shapes in the outside corners of the eyes.

The tears aren’t uniform and look wobbly and smooth like liquid.

Let’s look at the same character again, but with tears flowing,

How to draw streaming tears

Woman crying

Now, you can tell that the character is really crying.

The tears are filling up the bottom half of the eyes and tears are streaming down the cheeks.

Step Three: What direction are the tears rolling?

One thing we need to think about when drawing tears and crying is the direction.

Depending on which way the character’s head is turned, the tears could be falling in a different direction.

how to draw crying

The direction the face is turned will determine which way the tears stream.

For instance, if your character is looking up or has their face tilted toward the sky, the tears will roll down the sides of the face rather than roll forward down the cheeks.


Different art styles for drawing tears

There are many different styles of drawing, and when learning how to draw tears you should consider your own unique style of drawing.

Honestly, the first thing that comes to my mind when talking about drawing tears is anime, or how to draw anime tears.

That is probably because anime conveys emotion in some of the best and most varied ways, and often, very beautifully.

Tohru Honda crying

Tohru Honda from Fruits Basket, reference from

Anime style is such beautiful art, and just so powerful.

It takes years of hard work, study, and stylization! And if you are the kind of person who is learning how to draw in an anime style, I applaud you.

Thanks for learning with me!

Thank you for choosing Anatomy of a Sketch to help you learn how to draw crying and tears, and any other anatomy drawings you may want to pursue.

If you have any questions about today’s lesson, feel free to leave them in the comment section below and I will try to reply as soon as possible!

Also, if you have ever wanted to take your art to the next level and add more color and depth, consider joining our community on Patreon!

Sailor Mars Patreon tutorial

On Patreon, I post monthly FULL-COLOR tutorials for my Champion and Hero tiers!

I do monthly full-color art tutorials showing how I shade, highlight, and add depth to my characters.

These are so much fun, and Patrons are able to comment and ask questions as well as “like” posts and answer polls.

My Hero tier also receives a monthly vinyl sticker from me via snail mail!

These are such a big hit. Some of the ones we have done so far are Harley Quinn, Princess Leia, Aloy (Horizon Zero Dawn), and Jane Foster from the Mighty Thor

(Featured below!)

Jane Foster Sticker

And if you are a Patron, we do take polls so you can help pick which stickers I send each month.

Come join the fun at

What to learn next…

Click here to check out my full How to Draw Eyes for Beginners tutorial.

How to draw eyes for beginners

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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!
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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!