How to

How to Draw Anime Eyes – Step-by-Step Tutorial

How to Draw Anime Eyes

Anime’s influence on modern culture, particularly young artists, cannot be overstated. Japanese comics and animations have inspired a generation of aspiring artists. Among the distinctive features of anime, the eyes stand out. The curious and imaginative shape and color of anime eyes capture our attention. Although they may seem simple, many struggle with drawing them.

Behind the stylization, sparkles, and thick lashes lies a foundation of realism, anatomy, and design. To grasp the fundamentals, it is recommended to review our previous tutorial, “How to Draw Eyes,” where you will learn about the basic shapes and different types of eyes.

In this tutorial, we will take you through the step-by-step process of drawing and detailing anime eyes.

What You’ll Learn in this Tutorial

  • Basic shapes behind anime eyes
  • Styles of anime eyes
  • Step-by-step process of drawing anime eyes

Materials Needed for this Guide

  • A piece of paper
  • Graphite pencils (2H, 4B, and 8B)
  • Compass
  • Ruler
  • Blending tool
  • Eraser
  • White gel pen/fine liner

The Eyes You’re Going to Draw

Anime Eyes

These are the steps we will guide you through!

Anime Eyes Steps

Basic Shapes Behind Anime Eyes

Anime eyes come in various shapes and styles. While they are based on human eyes, the artists stylize them, making it challenging to discern the underlying structure. To overcome this, we need to simplify the eyes into basic shapes.

The three fundamental shapes are round, rectangular, and triangular. These shapes serve as references, not as the base for drawing.

Basic Shapes

The stylized eyes omit anatomical details like the waterline and lacrimal, but retain simplified lines and spiky shapes for the lashes and eyelids. The iris and pupil also deviate from a perfect circle, taking on elongated ovals or irregular round shapes.

Different eye shapes are associated with specific character traits:

  • Rounder shapes depict innocence, youth, positivity, and happiness.
  • Rectangular shapes convey responsibility, seriousness, and optimism.
  • Sharp and elongated (triangular) shapes indicate maturity and adultness, often seen in characters who have experienced hardships.

Anime Art Styles

Each anime has its unique art style, including the eyes. Protagonists’ eyes, in particular, may possess “powers” or “special characteristics” that distinguish them from others (e.g., The Sharingan in Naruto or Demon Eyes in Kuroshitsuji).

Art Styles

Take a moment to study the chart above, which showcases different art styles. Identify the variations and discern the basic shapes behind them.

Different Art Styles

To draw anime eyes, imitation is key. Practice by emulating your favorite anime styles and those that catch your attention. Over time, you will develop your own unique art style.

Step 1: Draw a Circle

Begin by drawing a circle with a 2H pencil. Use a compass or small circular object and lightly sketch a circle in the center of your paper. This circle will serve as a marker for the distance between the eyes.

Draw a Circle

Step 2: Draw a Line

Locate the midpoint of the circle and draw a line. This line will help you draw two additional circles to determine the eye positions.

Draw a Line

Step 3: Draw Two Circles

Draw two more circles aligned with the line. Adjust their size according to your desired eye appearance. This is when you decide the shape you want for your eyes. Feel free to experiment and create new styles.

Draw Two Circles

Step 4: Draw the Upper and Lower Lashes

Using two lines, sketch the inner part of the upper and lower lashes. For the upper lashes, use a soft curve, while the lower lash line should feature a sharp, short line.

Draw the Lashes

Step 5: Draw the Lash Outline

Give volume to the lashes. Similar to applying eyeliner, draw the lash outlines. The upper lashes should be thicker than the lower ones.

Lash Outline

Step 6: Draw the Irises

Use two oval shapes for the irises. The shape can vary as long as it is round, proportional to the eye size, and resembles an iris.

Draw the Irises

Step 7: Detail the Upper Lashes

Add triangular, spiky shapes to the lash outlines. Aim for symmetry when drawing both eyes.

Detail the Lashes

Step 8: Add the Lower Lashes

Using small triangular shapes, add the lower lashes. Different styles may omit or use only one lower lash or lashes only for the corners. It’s up to your preference.

Add the Lower Lashes

Step 9: Add the Pupils

Hint at the shape of the pupils in the middle of the irises. Avoid pressing too hard, as some part of the pupils will be erased later.

Add the Pupils

Step 10: Draw the Eyelid

Draw the eyelids with a long curved horizontal line and a short vertical line.

Draw the Eyelid

Step 11: Draw the Eyebrows

Erase the guidelines and add eyebrows to give the eyes emotion. Anime eyebrows tend to be very thin, but feel free to experiment with your preferred style.

Draw the Eyebrows

Step 12: Fill the Lashes and Brows

Using a 4B pencil, gently fill the lashes and eyebrows. Build layers gradually, starting with a light shade.

Fill the Lashes and Brows

Step 13: Add Depth

Carefully create depth in the highlighted areas using a 4B pencil. Keep the lines near the light thin and soft, and make the lines in the dark areas thick and dark.

Add Depth

Step 14: Mark the Highlights

Highlighting is usually done at the end. However, since we are using graphite, it’s better to add highlights early on to keep the area clean. Mark the spots where you’d like the light to hit the eyes. Anime eyes often feature exaggerated highlights, so have fun with their placement and shapes.

Mark the Highlights

Step 15: Shade the Pupils

Fill in the pupils using an 8B pencil. Leave the upper part blank if you prefer it to merge with the iris. However, shading it entirely is also a valid choice.

Shade the Pupils

Step 16: Shade the Iris

Using a 4B pencil, gently shade the entire iris, leaving the highlights untouched. Strive for soft and uniform shading, as we’ll build more layers from this point.

Shade the Iris

Step 17: Add Shadows to the Eye Area

Anime eyes do not adhere to realistic anatomy shading. Instead, they employ a simplified and stylized version. Softly shade the highlighted areas to add shadows to the eyes.

Add Shadows

Step 18: Shade the Iris – Part 1

Build shading layers in the iris. Shade the highlighted area with a 4B pencil and create a small gradient within the iris. Remember to keep the highlights intact.

Shade the Iris - Part 1

Step 19: Shade the Iris – Part 2

Using an 8B pencil, add another layer of graphite to the highlighted areas. Anime irises can have various details, shapes, and shading styles. The showcased technique is simple yet visually pleasing.

Shade the Iris - Part 2

Step 20: Be Extra

Unleash your creativity! With a white gel pen, add additional details to your liking. Have fun and enjoy the process. Experiment with stars, extra highlights, or dark zigzag shapes. The choice is yours!

Be Extra

And that’s it! Congratulations on completing the tutorial. We hope you’ve learned how to draw stunning anime eyes and had fun in the process. Thank you for reading, and until next time!

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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