How to draw eyes correctly in easy steps. The eyes are one of essential parts of any portrait drawing. They are usually what we look at first because we are biologically programmed, even if they are not meant to be the center of attention. That is why it is essential to do them well. Fortunately, with a few tips and tricks and just a little anatomical knowledge, anyone can master eye drawing. These simple steps will help you be successful. A little note here: this post is about how to draw human eyes; however, many of the principles are also applicable to animals’ eyes.
A quick little anatomy
I know who wants to read about boring human physiology when making art is so much more enjoyable. But I promise you that it will be much easier for you to understand and thus attract the human eye with just a little anatomical knowledge. First, the eyeballs are located within the eye sockets (orbits) of the skull. However, they do not fill them, so the area immediately around the eyes seems to recede slightly. The eyeball is held in place by muscles, allowing some freedom of movement, so you can look up, down, right, and left without having to move your entire head.
The eyebrows sit a little higher on the part that protrudes from the frontal bone. The eyelids are layers of skin that can be closed around the eyeball. In some eyes, they are “hidden” between the eyeball and the frontal bone, creating a crease (more on this later). They hold the eyelashes, which exist to capture particles that might otherwise fly into our eyes.
Generic proportions of the eye area
This article only mentions the basics of facial proportions rather than every detail of the eyes with other facial features. Remember that these guidelines are for a generic face and will differ slightly from topic to topic. But it is still helpful to have a basic idea of the approximate position of the eyes when starting cool drawings. And it will come in handy when you notice that something is “wrong” in your sketch, but you can’t figure out exactly what it is (we’ve all been there). In an adult human, the eyes are usually above or slightly above the vertical center of the head. They sit a little lower on the children. We tend to draw them too high because we mistake the whole head for just the face area (i.e., the part above the hairline counts).
In many cases, both eyes are separated by one eye and a little less than one eye width from the sides of the head. The corners of the mouth tend to line up with the inner edge of the iris or with the pupil. In a side view, it is the anterior part of the cornea, as seen above. And finally, the cornea would be slightly tilted when viewed from the side. However, this is a point that you will have to remember only for a very large or very detailed drawing. In a rough sketch, it will hardly be noticeable.
Step 1 Observe
Before you start drawing, it is always best to take a few seconds to look at the subject, the eyes. Ask yourself: What makes these particular eyes different from the generic we learned earlier? Are they close enough or perhaps distant? Are they big, small, vertical, or angled? It is a good idea to practice drawing different human eyes, as there is a great variety. You will find considerable differences in shape, size, and color, what you have. My article 5 Simple Exercises to Teach You How to Draw Great Portraits has an exercise that will help you.
Outlines of phase 2
Now you can start to draw the contours of the eyes roughly. Don’t worry too much about getting it right. We’ll cover that in step 3. Focus more on the general position, size, and direction of the eyes. Do they look up or down, a little to the right or a lot to the left? Are they open or slightly closed?
Step 3 Make corrections
When you have your basic contours, you can begin to correct them, little by little, until your eyes are the correct size, position, width, and angles. If you’ve been working on it for a while but still feel like something is “wrong,” it’s usually best to put the drawing aside. When we look at a sketch for too long, we tend to lose the ability to see errors. After about a day, you will have “rebooted” your brain, and often you will immediately see what the problem is. It’s crucial not to hurry through this action when working on a very detailed image of someone. If there are any eye issues, now is the best time to change them before adding shadows and details. Primarily when you first draw the eyes and align the other elements of the face. I don’t want to cause a chain reaction here.
Step 4 Add the third dimension
Right now, your drawing is still pretty flat. There is no base to the eye, and everything appears to be on one level. But as we learned earlier, there is a lot of shape for a look. The eyeball is done, and the spaces about it are somewhat sunken into the eye sockets. The cornea protrudes, and the eyebrows also. However, since our card is still flat, we will have to use some shades, complex or straightforward, whatever you are looking for. I find that it always makes a big difference in adding at least a slight hue to the sclera, the white part of the eyeball about the iris. It directly reads the whole eyeball a rounder shape.
Step 5 Draw the iris
The iris is what gives color to the eyes and can bring a lot of interest. You will usually find that there are several different shades within an iris. For example, blue eyes can also have purple, brown, and yellow. Even if it stays grayscale, you can add a lot of texture here. The design is made of rays that frame the pupils like the sun, but they do not need to be perfectly straight or uniform and can be interrupted by circular motifs, often of different hues.
Step 6 Add reflections
Bright spots in the iris occur because the thin film of liquid that covers the eyeball reflects the light source. You usually only see it in the iris because the sclera itself is white, but it would generally have a reflection as well. There are several approaches to adding reviews. Some artists prefer to map them before drawing the iris texture. Others erase parts to create brighter areas at a later stage. Light causes change in the size, health, light, and amount of reflections in the iris.
Step 7 Draw the tabs
Lashes look super easy. It’s just a bunch of tiny hairs framing the eye. Well, yes and no. It is where a lot of things go wrong for beginners. A common mistake is to draw the eyelashes straight, spaced in a neat row like streetlights like we did when we were kids. When in reality, they are a little messy. The lashes are generally curved, more or less. And most importantly, some of them overlap. They don’t all develop in the same way. Some point a bit to the right, some to the left, some down, some to the right, some up. When looking at one eye from the front, you will also notice that the lash line on the lower eyelid does not start directly at the edge with the eyeball but a little further on.
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