How to

How to Draw Anime Eyes and Eye Expressions

There are numerous techniques for drawing captivating anime eyes. This comprehensive guide will demonstrate how to masterfully capture a range of expressions in a single style, all from a frontal perspective.

Example of how to draw anime eyes
Image: Example of how to draw anime eyes

Step 1 – Sketch the Eye Shape

To achieve that distinctive anime look, remember that the eyes should be noticeably larger and wider than real eyes. Aim to create a spacious gap between the eyes, large enough to accommodate a third eye.

For a typical expression, draw the iris partially hidden by the upper eyelid, gently brushing against the lower eyelid. The eyebrows should be positioned just above the eyes, following a smooth curve.

When portraying different expressions, the shape and position of the eyebrows, as well as the placement of the pupils, can vary. Keep these factors in mind while you draw.

For a detailed guide on drawing anime eyes with a regular expression, refer to:
How to Draw Anime Eyes (Normal Expression)

For tips on drawing various types of eyebrows, check out:
How to Draw Anime & Manga Eyebrows

Step 2 – Capture the Pupils and Reflections

Position the pupil in the center of the iris. The reflections in the eyes will depend on the viewer’s perspective.

Multiple reflections can be present based on the number of light sources. In this case, we have two: one from the main light source and another from a secondary light source.

For instance, if you’re illustrating a character outside on a sunny day, the primary reflection in their eyes might be caused by the sun, while the secondary reflection could come from the sun reflecting off another object.

Anime eyes reflections and pupils line drawing
Image: Anime eyes reflections and pupils line drawing

Step 3 – Add Depth and Shading

To achieve shading similar to the example above, fill in everything except the inner part of the iris and the reflections with black. Keep the reflections white and create a gray area for the iris.

Shading anime eyes step by step
Image: Shading anime eyes step by step

Drawing Different Anime Eye Expressions

Examples of how to draw anime eyes with different expressions
Image: Examples of how to draw anime eyes with different expressions

Various elements contribute to the expression of anime eyes, including the position and shape of the eyebrows, the position of the pupils, and the position of the eyelids. Notably, in anime and manga, altering the size of the pupil can create a more dramatic expression, such as intense fear.

Let’s break down each expression:

Drawing Normal Anime Eyes

Anime eyes
Image: Anime eyes

Draw the eyes as described in the first part of this tutorial.

Drawing Angry Anime Eyes

Angry anime eyes
Image: Angry anime eyes

For an angry look, draw the eyebrows with their inner ends pointing downward, forming a wavy shape. Slightly lower the upper eyelids and position the pupils slightly rolled up.

For a more detailed guide on drawing angry-looking anime or manga eyes, refer to:
How to Draw Angry Anime Eyes (8 Steps)

Drawing Bored Anime Eyes

Bored anime eyes
Image: Bored anime eyes

For a bored expression, roll up the pupils and slightly lower the eyelids.

For step-by-step instructions on drawing slightly different bored anime/manga eyes, consult:
How to Draw Bored Anime or Manga Eyes

Drawing Shy/Embarrassed Anime Eyes

Shy anime eyes
Image: Shy anime eyes

To capture a shy or embarrassed look, direct the eyes downward and lower the upper eyelids slightly.

Drawing Sad Anime Eyes

Sad anime eyes
Image: Sad anime eyes

For a sad expression, narrow the eyes and form a slight upside-down arch with the lower eyelids. Lower the outer edges of the eyebrows, giving them less of an arch or even an upside-down arch.

For a comprehensive tutorial on drawing sad anime eyes, visit:
How to Draw Sad Anime & Manga Eyes

Drawing Surprised Anime Eyes

Surprised anime eyes
Image: Surprised anime eyes

To convey surprise, draw wide-open eyes with raised eyebrows. The wider the eyes and the higher the raised eyebrows, the more surprised the character will appear.

For a detailed guide on drawing eyes with a surprised expression using a slightly different method, refer to:
How to Draw Surprised Anime or Manga Eyes

Drawing Scared Anime Eyes

Scared anime eyes
Image: Scared anime eyes

To depict fear, draw wide-open eyes and raise the eyebrows. You can also make the pupils smaller than usual. The smaller the pupils, the more scared the character will seem.

Drawing Happy/Content Anime Eyes

Happy or content anime eyes
Image: Happy or content anime eyes

For a joyful or content expression, draw the eyes closed with an upside-down arch shape. Drawing happy anime eyes is relatively simple, as there are fewer details to worry about.

For a more detailed example of drawing eyes with a happy expression, slightly different from the method shown here, consult:
How to Draw Happy Anime or Manga Eyes

Placing Anime or Manga Eyes on the Head

Anime eyes placement on head
Image: Anime eyes placement on head

Unlike real eyes, anime eyes are often positioned much lower on the head.

To achieve a consistent placement, visualize a horizontal line running through the middle of the head, as demonstrated in the example above. Draw the eyes below that line.

It’s essential to note that if the eyes are closed or squinted, the upper eyelashes should be drawn further down from the horizontal line. Conversely, if the eyes are wide open, the eyelashes will need to be drawn higher up.


While there are countless variations of anime eyes, the guidelines and tips presented in this tutorial can be applied to any chosen style.

For further information on drawing anime and manga eyes, consider these resources:

For specific instructions on drawing male and female anime eyes, consider:

To explore facial expressions further, check out:

Alexia Young

Hello and welcome to the world of Alexia. I am a passionate and dedicated artist who loves to create beautiful, mesmerizing art for everyone's walls. I believe in the importance of encouraging people to express their creativity and be happy.

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