How To Draw Eyes: A Step By Step Guide

If you’re interested in learning how to draw eyes, we can help! We asked a professional illustrator to create this simple, step-by-step guide specifically designed to instruct you on how to make the perfect eye drawing.

Sometimes, drawing tutorials can be confusing, but anyone can learn how to draw if they have the right teacher! Remember, you’re not a bad artist. You simply haven’t learned the proper techniques yet. If you practice drawing, you’re going to get better and better. It might be a while until you see results, so you might as well start learning how to draw eyes today! 

How to draw eyes on your character:

If you’re interested in learning to draw people, you should start with the faces. After all, you can’t have a body without a head attached. You need to learn how to create eyes, mouths, and noses in the most realistic way possible. Of course, that isn’t easy. Drawing eyes can be one of the hardest parts of the process. Especially since there are two of them and you need to make sure they match. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to draw eyes, so you can create beautiful, realistic faces:

1. Gather your materials

Make sure you have everything you need in order to start your drawing. Grab a mechanical pencil, an eraser, and a sheet of paper. You could also try drawing on a tablet, but it’s best to start out on paper when you’re a new artist. Of course, the decision is up to you!

2. Set up your space.

Your drawing isn’t going to come out right if you don’t have enough space to work. Make sure you find a clean, flat area where you can place your paper. Also make sure you have enough room to move around and enough space to place your reference photo, which we will cover in the next step.

3. Look at a real set of eyes.

How To Draw Eyes
How To Draw Eyes

First off, let’s look at a pair of actual, realistic eyes. Make sure you pick a photograph that captures the type of eyes you’re hoping to draw. After all, there are plenty of different eye shapes, colors, and sizes.

Once you find the perfect photograph, be sure to examine the shape and different parts closely. Return to this reference photo whenever you move onto a new step in the drawing process. That way, you can make sure you’re creating the most realistic drawing possible.

4. Start off with a circle.

How To Draw Eyes

A realistic eye drawing starts off with a circle, which isn’t as simple as it seems! However, if you want to be an artist, you need to learn how to make basic lines and basic shapes. That’s why it’s a great idea to practice your circles.

You’re going to need this basic shape for almost every drawing that you complete. They might end up in the finished product, or they might simply be a reference point for you. Either way, you want to make sure you’re able to draw a pretty perfect circle.

3. Add Smaller Circles

How To Draw Eyes

Once you’re done drawing your first circle, it’s time to move onto the next step. Add two smaller circles on the inside of the big circle. One should be positioned on the left and one should be positioned on the right. This should form something that looks like a Venn diagram.

You might be wondering how these shapes are going to turn into an eye, but it’ll all come together soon! You’re going to need to do some more drawing and some erasing. Remember, not every line that you draw is going to remain in the picture until the end.

4. Draw Arching Lines

How To Draw Eyes

Now, you should draw some arching lines on the top and bottom of your cluster of circles. This is going to help form the eye shape. This is the moment when you should see the picture coming together.

Unfortunately, you’re going to have to get rid of some of your hard work soon. But don’t feel bad about using the eraser! Even though some circles are going to disappear, they’re the reason you were able to get such a perfect shape for your eye!

5. Now, get rid of those circles.

How To Draw EyesOnce you have the shape of the eye figured out, you can erase all the extra lines inside of that shape. All that should remain are two curved lines. You might think they’re going to turn into the eye, but you’re wrong!

These lines are going to work as the brow bone and the underpart of the eye. Don’t worry. We’re going to work on the actual eye in the next step! Remember, you need to be patient if you want to become a good artist. You can’t rush through the process.

6. Draw two more curved lines.

How To Draw Eyes

Draw two more curved lines inside your first curved lines. These should be slightly askew to the bottom corner. Just make sure you don’t close the lines off to form a single shape. They should remain as two separate lines for the time being. But soon, these lines are going to form the top and bottom of your eye. It’s all coming together now!

7. Close those interior lines.

How To Draw Eyes

Don’t forget there will be a tear duct. Make sure you draw that nice U-shape in the inner corner. You can also close off the outer corner. However, make sure it ends in a point to make the drawing as realistic as possible. Although it helps to know how to create perfectly straight lines and circles, real people are rarely perfect. They aren’t always symmetrical.

8. Complete that tear duct.

How To Draw Eyes

You never know when you’re going to need a good cry! That’s why you need to add the tear ducts to your drawings. Remember, if you want your drawing to be realistic, then you can’t forget the tiny details. The little things are what make your drawings feel real. This is what will set you apart from other artists who rush through the process.

9. Now, draw that beautiful iris.

How To Draw Eyes

This is the part of the eye that has all the color. If you’re going to color this in later, you might want to start thinking about what shades you’re going to use. This is a great time to check back with your reference photo. It can give you some ideas on what colors to use. You might even want to use more than one since eyes aren’t always one solid color!

10. Next up is the pupil.

How To Draw Eyes

The pupil is the small circle inside your iris. If you’re only going to be using a pencil, then you can fill in this circle. You should make it as dark as possible. However, if you’re planning on adding color to the picture later, then you should leave it empty for now.

11. Move onto the eyelashes.

After this is completed, we’re going to go straight to the eyelashes, but first, let’s look at some eyes again and really observe what’s going on there (eyelash-wise). The hairs are swooping up from the lids in all different directions. And if you look closely, each individual hair is gathered into small clusters around the eye.

12. Draw a curved line above the eye.

How To Draw EyesMoving forward, let’s draw that first graceful and swooping eyelash. Remember, you don’t want to use straight lines for this part. Lashes should be curved. Although you might want them all to look exactly the same, it’s okay if they’re different sizes. Real eyelashes don’t all look the same.

Plus, you want to keep in mind the fact that you’ll be staring at some lashes head-on and others at an angle. That means they shouldn’t all look exactly the same from your point of view.

13. Sparse out some individual hairs around the eye.

How To Draw EyesThis helps to set up the framework and general angle of your eyelashes. Just make sure you start with the upper eyelashes, then move onto the lower lashes. This is the easiest way to complete the drawing. Remember, you never want to focus on too many different aspects at once. Take things one step at a time. It might make your drawing take longer, but it will also make it come out better in the end.

14. Work on making those eyelash clusters one by one.

How To Draw EyesYou need to be patient when you’re drawing. Although eyelashes might seem like a small detail, they’re an important part of your art. That’s why you need to take the time to make tiny eyelash clusters one by one. Don’t get impatient halfway through or you could ruin all the hard work you’ve done so far. Take your time and don’t rush yourself!

15. Finish the eyelashes.

How To Draw EyesBAM! As soon as you know it, you’re done with those eyelashes at the top of your eye. Even though the drawing isn’t complete yet, those upper lashes give the picture a more realistic look. This is great news if you want your art to look as close to life as possible.

16. Now on to those bottom lashes.

How To Draw EyesThere’s little to fear here as the bottom lashes are shorter and there’s less of them. So lay in that bottom lash framework. Just make sure you don’t use as many lashes as you used on the upper part of the eye. Keep it sparse. Again, take a look at your reference photo (or even check the mirror) to see what lashes look like in real life.

17. Complete that cluster formation.

How To Draw EyesEven though it’s repetitive, you need to continue making clusters beneath the lower eye. This section is just as important as the rest, so make sure you give it the time and attention it deserves. Then you can move onto other features of the face that embellish the eyes.

18. Work on the eyebrows.

How To Draw EyesYou’re not out of the woods yet. Now you have to draw eyebrows. In order to accomplish this, draw in the shape of your eyebrow on the brow bone. This is directly above the eye socket.

Of course, there are a million different types of brows out there. Some are thin and some are thick. Some have high arches and some are flatter lines. Make sure you take a look at photos of the type of brows you want your character to have, and then copy the shape.

19. Draw in the individual hairs if you’d like!

How To Draw EyesThis will give more depth to your drawing. All you need to do is draw several darker lines to make the brows more realistic. Again, remember to check your reference drawing. In real life, eyebrows aren’t perfect. Some hairs might fall out of place or be pointed in slightly different directions. In order to make your drawing perfect, you might need to make your character imperfect.

20. Next, erase that “shape” you drew as a guide for yourself.

How To Draw EyesRemember, a huge part of drawing is erasing! That’s why you need to use a sharp pencil and never a pen. Talented artists still make mistakes — but erasers come in handy even when you’ve made decisions intentionally. Never feel guilty about breaking out that eraser. It’s part of the process.

21. Draw the second eye.

How To Draw EyesIf you don’t want your human to be a cyclops, I suggest repeating steps 1-21 to draw that second eye. Or if you’re lazy like me, just go ahead and clone that sucker! Either way, you’re going to end up with a beautiful face that you should be proud to show off. And if you don’t love the work, that’s okay. You can always try again. You’re only going to improve the more that you practice.

22. Color it in.

How To Draw EyesRemember, there tends to be a lot of shadow between the brow line and the crease line. You might also want to shade in the outer edge of the inner circle of the eye to add roundness and depth to the drawing. This will make your drawing pop out of the page!

23. Work on the rest of the face.

Even though those eyes took a lot of work, you’re not finished yet! You still have to finish the rest of the face in order to complete your picture. Make sure you check out other drawing tutorials to learn how to create noses, lips, and faces! That way, your drawing will have a professional, cohesive look.

You can also add other details to your drawings, like roses or animals.

24. Show off your finished work.

You shouldn’t be embarrassed about showing the world your art. Whether your eyes came out perfect or need some work, you should show your results to your family and friends. Let them watch how you improve over time. They’re going to love that you’ve included them in this journey!

25. Last, but certainly not least, practice some more!

You’re never going to draw a perfect eye on your first attempt. It can take years to get better at drawing, so don’t get discouraged if your eye didn’t come out the way that you hoped. Keep practicing your art. Don’t give up on yourself. You’re only going to get better and better!

Just remember, you’re never going to get it right on the first try. The most talented artists you’ve ever seen have had plenty of practice — and you need practice, too. If you keep trying, then eventually, you’re going to surprise yourself. You’re going to turn into a wonderful artist!

Illustrator, designer, and all-around creative rover for Thought Catalog

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