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How to Draw Anime Eyes

Mamerto Adan is a feature writer who is back in college once again. Science is one of his favorite topics.

Learn how to draw anime eyes with this easy-to-follow guide.

Learn how to draw anime eyes with this easy-to-follow guide.

Bring Your Anime Character to Life!

I’ve been drawing anime for years just to kill time. Back in college, my schoolmates often asked me to do souvenir anime caricatures of themselves or their family members. Eye designs differ according to gender, age, and even characters. Well-made eyes will give a character more life, so let’s move on and begin the tutorial.

Step-by-Step Guide to Shojo and Shonen Eyes

I chose to start with anime girl’s eyes as it is the most basic. In the case of the shojo eyes, they tend to be bigger, rounder, more colourful and expressive. The eye design seems to denote femininity and youth. The same eye design is used for younger shonen characters or androgynous bishounens.

Now, to begin, we will start with the upper eyelid.

Start your anime eye with a parabolic line.

Start your anime eye with a parabolic line.

1. Draw a Parabolic Line

The upper anime eyelid is basically a parabolic line, or simply a line curving upwards. Start with a faint guideline as what’s shown below. I marked the line red because it is barely visible.

Make the line thicker from the middle to the end.

Make the line thicker from the middle to the end.

2. Make the Curve Line Thicker

Now that we have a guideline, make the curve line thicker from the middle to the end. The other end should be thinner. Do note that we are making the right eye here, which means that the thinner end will face the nose.

Begin drawing the eyelashes with an angled line at the end.

Begin drawing the eyelashes with an angled line at the end.

3. Add Eyelashes

Let’s add some eyelashes by scribbling an angled line in the thicker end. We will then start the outline of the lower eyelid by sketching a slightly angled downward line.

Begin the lower lid with a light sketch like this one.

Begin the lower lid with a light sketch like this one.

4. Sketch a Guideline

For the lower eyelid, sketch a slightly curved guideline under the thicker upper eyelid. This rough line should stretch from the end of the right eyelid all the way to the left. Again with the line too faint, I marked it red.

The lower eyelid should be thinner than the upper one.

The lower eyelid should be thinner than the upper one.

5. Add Detail

Using the rough line for the lower eyelid as a guide, sketch a thicker eyelid line. This should be thinner than the upper eyelid. You may add other details like lashes when you are doing a particularly flirty character. With the lower eyelid shorter and less defined than the upper eyelid, your rough eye should have a V silhouette. Note that the lower eyelid is pointy on either end.

Starting the eyeball

Starting the eyeball

6. Start the Eyeball

For the eyeball, first start with an egg-shaped rough line as what’s shown.

Adding glare from light

Adding glare from light

7. Add Light Glares

We then add the light glares. What I like about them is that they make the eye look alive. Assuming that the light source comes from the right (upper right), we will sketch an oblate circle where the light is coming.

You can add more light glare on the bottom left and top right if you choose.

You can add more light glare on the bottom left and top right if you choose.

8. Add More Details

For added effects, one might add another light glare in the bottom left and another in the middle.

Trace your rough lines and make them clearer and thicker. I have a habit of leaving the lines near the glares thin and faint to emphasise the eye spark. For the glare in the middle, make the outline lines clear and sharp.

Light glare can make the eye look alive.

Light glare can make the eye look alive.

9. Shade It

We then shade it. Again with the light coming in the upper right, we will make the shade in the left heavier. It is best to leave the bottom half unshaded.

I suggest leaving the bottom half unshaded.

I suggest leaving the bottom half unshaded.

10. Sketch Extra Details

Lastly, let’s add other details. For a shojo eye, we might add extra lines in the pointy end so it might appear like the eyes have long eyelashes. Some might sketch extra curved lines above the upper eyelids so they will have double eyelids. To further enliven the eye design, how about adding extra lines around the middle glare in the eyeball? If you wish, you might give it more eyelashes.

Eyebrow shape and thickness will vary depending on your character.

Eyebrow shape and thickness will vary depending on your character.

11. Draw the Eyebrows

Finally, the eyebrows; vary them according to your design and character. It could be sharp and spiky or just wisps of lines. I will be using wispy eyebrows in this case. But most female brows are thinner than male brows.

And here is your finished work. What we have here is the basic design for shojo characters.

Shonen Eyes

Shonen eyes are less decorative and flowery than shojo eyes; in some cases, they are drawn smaller to denote masculinity in younger boys. But there are no fixed rules in shonen eye design, and we might end up with really feminine eyes. But for basic eye design, we might end up with something like what's shown below.

As you observed, this design is a lot simpler, with little to no eyelashes and no extra eyelid.

This eye is sharper compared to others.

This eye is sharper compared to others.

Eye Design for Bishonen and Bishojo

In this case, the eye design is sharper, smaller and less rounded, unlike their shojo/shonen counterpart. For the Bishonen, the smaller and sleeker eye represents maturity, mystery and sometimes evil. It makes them more masculine than their shonen rival. Smaller eyes tend to make the bishojo seductive. Hence it is used mostly for older or sexualized characters.

Again we will start the same way as we sketched the shojo/shonen eyes. We sketch faintly curved guidelines, though this time, they will be longer and less curvy.

newbie-anime-drawing-tutorial-how-to-draw-anime-eyes

1. Darken the Rough Lines

We then darken the rough lines and add a sharp line to the right. These will serve as rough eyelashes.

newbie-anime-drawing-tutorial-how-to-draw-anime-eyes

2. Add an Outline

One may add an outline of the lower eyelid by drawing a faint rough line (a slightly curved line). This will extend from the end of the upper eyelid all the way to the left.

newbie-anime-drawing-tutorial-how-to-draw-anime-eyes

3. Darken the Lower Eyelid

Darken the lower eyelid before drafting the eyeball. Unlike the shojo/shonen iris, this one is smaller.

newbie-anime-drawing-tutorial-how-to-draw-anime-eyes

4. Add Glares and Shades

Start adding the details like glares and shades. Again follow the light source, presumably from the upper right, when you sketch the glares and shades. It is up to you if you will add additional glares or lines.

newbie-anime-drawing-tutorial-how-to-draw-anime-eyes

5. Add the Details

Now, if you are making a bishojo eye, the design should be flowery and feminine. This should be done by giving it double eyelids and additional eyelashes.

And lastly, for our bishojo eye, give it fine eyebrows. Again feminine eyebrows should be thinner and finer. As my taste dictates, I will use wispy lines.

newbie-anime-drawing-tutorial-how-to-draw-anime-eyes

A Note About Eyes

As for our bishonen eye, it deserves a simpler sketch than its female counterpart. Hence off with the flowery stuff like extra eyelashes. At the same time, bishonen eyes could be more feminine than shonen eyes. If you want, you might give it double eyelids. Hence we may end up with something like what's pictured below.

newbie-anime-drawing-tutorial-how-to-draw-anime-eyes

Comments

Jasmine Ogbu on June 24, 2020:

Thanks alot for the tutorial

Mamerto Adan (author) from Cabuyao on December 02, 2019:

Thanks kitty! Glad my article could help.

Kitty Luver92017 on December 02, 2019:

I love it! I will use it every time I draw!

Ace on March 26, 2019:

People said it is ugly and to stop draw

ZcatZ on November 19, 2018:

Good job.keep the work up!!

Dont ever give up if they keep saying"its ugly!"

Mamerto Adan (author) from Cabuyao on June 20, 2018:

Thanks Chitrangada! Next time I will share how to draw the whole face,even draw with ms paint :)

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on June 19, 2018:

Excellent article and very well explained with pictures.

I love drawing and painting. As with other art, practice makes one perfect.

Thanks for sharing this well presented article. I am sure, it will help people to learn the basics of drawing.

Thank You!

Mamerto Adan (author) from Cabuyao on June 13, 2018:

Thanks Poppy! Actually it's an online friend that inspired me to do this hub. She asked me to do a portrait of her :)

Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on June 13, 2018:

What a great hub! The pictures make it easy to follow. There is a lot of money that can be made with an ability to draw. Well done!