How To Draw Eyes

Being able to draw eyes effectively is the first step in being able to draw a great human face.  It will take a lot of practice before you perfect your ability, but soon enough you will be drawing eyes like a professional!  To begin drawing eyes, you will first need to get a mirror.  The best model for drawing human eyes is yourself.  If this is not what you feel comfortable doing, the best thing to do is to find a photograph that clearly shows an eye, preferably big, so you can see all the details.  Either way you choose, you will want to use your examples (your own eye or a photo) for the first few times you practice drawing.

Here are the steps you will want to follow to learn to draw eyes:

  1. The Shape of the Eye:  Just like any other feature, eyes are all very different.  There are, however, a few common shapes of the human eye.  The most common shape is the almond shape, so for training purposes, we will use the almond shape as our learning tool.  The other shapes that are often seen are round and oval.  Most eyes will come to a small point on the ends just like an almond though.  To get the correct shape, it is best to use a sketching pencil, preferably a light lead, like an H or HB pencil.  These can be found at any art supply store.  Take the pencil and draw out the almond shape.  By looking in the mirror or at a photo, you should be able to judge the size that will be accurate for your drawing.  Simply draw two curved lines that meet at the ends at a rounded point.  By rounded point, I mean that you do not want the very sides of your eye to have sharp points.  A human eye is just rounded slightly at that point.
  2. Layers:  The next part of drawing the eye is best thought of as drawing layers.  It is a lot simpler to draw if you separate each part, and then layer them on top of each other.  There are 4 parts to the inside of the eye. The first part is the colored portion.  By looking at the photo or in the mirror, you can judge the size of the colored area.  It will roughly take up about half of the eye.  This part will be a circle, drawn as accurately as possible in the center of your almond shape. Do not color in any part of the colored area just yet.  It is important to add all of the layers before you do any shading or coloring. The second part is the black center.  The black circle of the eye is located in the center of the colored portion.  This will be small and will be directly in the center, but it only takes up about twenty-five percent of the colored portion.  When you draw this circle, do not bring it to a complete close.  Leave a very small opening in the circle toward the top left or right side.   In this gap left open, you will draw a small circle within the larger circle.  Now you are ready to shade in your layers.  If you are just doing a pencil drawing, you will want to shade in the colored portion of the eye with a light gray shading.  You can also add slightly darker vertical lines in this area to show more detail of the eye color. Once that is finished, take your pencil and color in the second circle completely black.  The last layer will be left white. The fourth part is not actually a layer, but it is another important part of shading.  Take your pencil and ever so softly shade in around the rounded corners of the almond shape.  Also while doing doing this shading, you can draw in a small oval shape into the corner of the eye that is closest to the nose.  This will begin to give the eye more depth.  This will give the eye a three dimensional feeling.  It will make it look as if the eye itself goes back into the eye socket and it will separate the eye from the eye lid and surrounding area.
  3. The Eyelashes:  The last part of drawing an eye is to add the eye lashes to the surrounding area of the eye.  The upper eye lashes will be longer and thicker, and will start from the edge of the top of the eye.  They will be right around a quarter of an inch long. The bottom lashes will be shorter and thinner and will come from a slightly different place on the bottom.  Before drawing the actual lashes, take your pencil and draw a thin line a centimeter or so from the bottom line of your almond-shaped eye.  This will be the line that shows depth of the bottom of the eye.  It is not the eye lid, it is the area of skin underneath the eye.  Now you are ready to draw the lashes.  They can come from just inside of this thin area.  For the most part, all of the lashes will be just a centimeter or so apart from each other.  The number of lashes is optional depending on the eye.

Drawing the perfect eye will take a lot of practice.  The best thing to do is to take sketch paper and draw eyes over and over and over until you are satisfied with the outcome. Have fun drawing!


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