How to Draw Eyes Step by Step

You want to know how to draw eyes that look 'lively' and have 'soul'? Ever assumed that it requires years of practice and lots of advanced skills? Well... in this lesson I will show how to draw realistic eyes in a way that is not as complicated or as difficult as many people might think. The key point here is to recognize important features that you need to pay attention to when drawing eyes.

Because human eyes may vary in many forms and shapes, I only created a really basic outline for my example drawings of eyes. After you got the knack of it, feel free to draw few more eyes with different shapes using real eye photos or pictures as your reference.

Ok, lets start learning how to draw eyes! 

Sketch Basic Eye Shape

First sketch a really simple shape. As you can see in the picture below, it looks like a tree leaf, with one end (left) having a little nodule and the other end (right) being sharp. This is how to draw an eye a very simple way.

how to draw an eye

In step 2, start to draw eye's creases with an extra line above upper eyelid and one below lower eyelid. Note the difference between the two crease-lines.

To draw the iris, very lightly sketch three circles: the biggest one is the outline of iris; next one is about one thirds diameter, and its for the dark area around eye pupil; and lastly, the smallest circle is for eye pupil itself, about half diameter of the middle circle.

Eyes Details And Shading

Now let's move onto tiny details of our eyes drawing. In this next step you can courageously fill the pupil circle with solid black color - make it the darkest black you can. Then put in some stroke lines expanding between the pupil and iris.

drawing eyes

After you finish drawing eyes outlines, it's time to start shading to give it depth and spherical feel. I normally start by shading the eyeball. Of course this is only one way of doing it, by experimenting, you'll find your own best way of how to draw eyes.

As you shade, also use your fingers to blend in the tones so that the eye-ball feels smooth. If you use other mediums rather than pencil or charcoals, for example - watercolor or blending markers, use clean wet brush instead to smoothen up the colors. Notice how my outlines from previous step started to fade a little already by now.

How to Draw Realistic Eyes - Final Touch Ups

As you can see on the left drawing of an eye, I also started to draw eyelash. Note how eyelashes on top eye-lid are longer and more dense than eye-lashes on bottom eyelid. I also began to shade the iris and dark circle surrounding eye-pupil as well.

If I were to put tones into density scale of 0 to 10 (where 0 is white and 10 is total black):

  • the darkest area of eyeball is around 2.5 to 3.0
  • the lightest area of eyeball is about 0.5 to 1.0
  • the dark circle around pupil and near outline of iris are 7.5 to 8.0
  • the light area of iris (around dark middle circle) is 4.0 to 6.0
  • the eye-pupil is 10
  • the reflection is 0
  • the skin is in between 1.5 to 2.5 (actually, up to you)

Here is a little trick: smooth out the transition between the iris circle and white area of the eyeball to make it look realistic. You can also use eraser to sharpen ends of eyelashes.

That's it for this lesson, hope you have a lot success!

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