How to Draw Eyes

In this guide, you will learn how to draw Eyes, the basic anatomy of eyes, different forms the eye can have and how to draw eyes in a 3/4 view.

So let’s get started with the tools!

What tools do you need?

All you need for this tutorial is a pen, some paper, and an eraser. That’s it!

If you want a list of all the tools and art supplies, that I personally use, then you can have a look at this article, that I wrote, here.

You can use any pen, that can be easily erased. You also have to be able to draw very light and very dark with it. So I recommend a very soft graphite pen.

For paper, I would recommend a stronger sketching paper or illustration board. The only important thing, when it comes to paper, is that you can erase your lines on it without destroying it right away. It just has to be durable and a little bit toothy.

You can use any Eraser, that you have on hand. However, I would recommend, that you go and get a kneadable Eraser. It is clean and it has the amazing ability to lighten your lines without erasing them completely! All you have to do is roll the kneadable eraser over your lines and done! your lines have been lightened up.

So let’s start with the basic anatomy of the eye!

Yes I know, anatomy can be tedious and boring but I keep it to a minimum here. You want to Draw the eye after all and not do surgery.

So don´t worry, no complicated words here and only the surface muscles will be shown because only these are relevant for drawing.

Why learn anatomy in the first place?

By knowing how the thing, you are drawing, is working you will eventually be able to draw it in any way and angle you desire. You will stop copieing and start understanding!

And that is true for anything. Be it a machine, architecture or well, eyes.

The anatomy of the eye

Let´s first have a look at the human skull from a side view.

The eye sockets are bigger than most people think. Keep in mind, that only a small fraction of the eyeball is seen when you look at an eye.

Just look, how big the eyeball actually is!

The muscles of the eye, or at least the ones, we need for drawing it, go around the eyeball and attach to the outer sites of the eye socket.

Can you see how far out the eye sits? A big beginner’s mistake is drawing the eye flush with the eye socket. But the eyeball is coming out of the eye socket and the muscles of the eye wrap around it.

Keep the roundness of the eye and what’s underneath it in mind when you draw it!

Here is an Easy Step by Step Approach for Drawing Eyes.

So let´s get to it and draw eyes from the front view first!

First step!

Draw a simple line, that will rough in how big your eyes will be on your drawing surface.

Draw these construction lines very lightly! They will be erased later.

Step number two.

Divide the line into three equally sized parts. You don´t have to take your ruler out, just eyeball it.

Step Number three.

Draw the shape of the eyes. Again, the two eyes should be shaped similar but don´t have to be perfectly mirrored.

Nothing in Nature is perfectly Mirrored it looks wrong to the viewer.

You probably realized by now, why we divided our guideline into three equally sized parts. Our eyes are approximately one eye width apart from each other. That is, however, only true for the “idealy propotioned” human. Most of the time it is not exactly the case. So don´t get to hung up on this “rule”.

Step Number four

Next up, rough in the basic shapes of the eyebrows. The eyebrows follow the Form of the top part of the eye Sockets.

So remember our little anatomy lesson above and try to visualize where the Eye sockets are. Then just lightly draw the forms of the eyebrows.

You can also draw the upper eye lid.

Step Number five

Now just erase the guidelines and add some more detailing lines.

There is one very Important line a lot of beginners forget to draw. It is the line, that gives the lower eyelid depth. This line alone will let your eyes look so much more realistic. So don´t forget to draw it!

Step Number six

Let´s start shading!

When you are rendering a drawing you should always start very light and gradually get darker as you go.

Keep in mind, that the eyeball is round (it is basically a ball after all). So you should render it this way. The same thing applies to the eyelids because they are wrapping around the eyeball.

Have sharp lines, where you need them, and have a soft value change, where it looks right. A good balance is important.

And finally, carefully manage your tone values. If you don´t have a believable contrast in your drawings then your drawings will look flat and uninteresting.

Step Number seven

Add the Eyelashes and some details in the iris.

The Eyelashes move out from the eyelids and away from the eye in an outwards motion.

Step Number Eight

And finally the eyebrows!

Drawing eyebrows can be tricky. If you keep in mind, that eyebrows are basically just a bunch of little hairs it instantly gets easier to draw them!

Just care for the direction, the hairs go and get to draw them. It is a bit tedious to draw them one by one but it is well worth it!

And with that, you are done. You just drew your first eyes!

Different eye forms.

There are literally millions, no billions of different eye forms in the world!

Slim eyes, big eyes, eyes, that are tilted backward or tilted forward. eyes with a lit of space between them or very narrow eyes and more. Just play with all these different variations to make your eyes look unique.

And the last part of this Guide. How to draw eyes in 3/4 view!

Drawing Eyes in a 3/4 view is hard. But the approach is pretty much the exact same way than drawing eyes in front view.

First Step

Let´s, yet again, start with a simple line. But this time the line is slightly tilted.

Step Number two

Start t slowly work out, where the eyesockets are and remember, that the eyebrows will stick a little further out than the eyes do.

Also keep in mind, that the eye is round! so the form of the eye will change slightly because you are looking at it at an angle!

Don´t get frustrated and take your time, until it looks right to you. Drawing any organic shape in the 3/4 view is very hard!

Step Number three

Now lightly rough in all the shadow areas and all the light areas.

You can look at some reference to see, where the light hits and which areas are cast in shadow.

Step Number four

Now slowly start blocking in these areas and carefully build up the values.

You can do it!

Drawing is not easy but everyone can learn it! The most important part is to never give up. Just keep on drawing and you will improve fast!

If you liked this guide you can have a look at other articles I wrote on drawing a cat or drawing mountains, if you want to.