How to Draw Anime Eyes
In this tutorial, you will learn how to draw anime-style eyes.
I will explain the different shapes and styles, how to apply basic colors, how some expressions work, and finally, how to draw anime-style eyes as a part of an illustration. You can also follow this step-by-step video tutorial (in Spanish only):
- Basic Eye Study
- Real Eyes vs Anime Eyes: Proportions
- Styles and Greyscale
- Shapes and Colors of Anime Eyes
- How to Color Anime Eyes
- Expressions for Anime Eyes
- Final Illustration and Anime Eyes
1. Basic Eye Study
Before you start drawing and designing anime-style eyes, it is essential to learn the basic shapes of real eyes. This will make the stylization process much easier.
2. Real Eyes vs Anime Eyes: Proportions
Have a look at the image below to see the difference between real eye proportions and anime-style proportions.
Since there are so many types and shapes when it comes to anime eyes, first you need to think about what kind of eyes you want to create.
4. Styles and Greyscale
This is a good way to approach the exaggerated version of anime eyes. Starting from some elongated shapes, add the necessary gray tones to create depth, always keeping the highlights and the structures that are most interesting to you in mind. See that in steps 1 and 2, I’ve only sketched the basic structure of the eye. Here, you get the base for your eye and a guide to help you figure out where to place the grey tones.
In step 3, I apply subtle grays (I make the pupil area a little darker than the rest of the eye).
In step 4, I add darker grays to create depth on the upper part of the eye because the eyelid casts shadows on the eyeball. In this step, I experimented a bit and added a lighter grey in the center of the pupil, to insert some originality.
In steps 5 and 6, I define and enhance the grays and textures.
In step 7, I brush up and detail all areas, as well as adding some extra shine a little less intense than the rest of the highlights.
To see all the details of this process, please have a look at the video at the beginning of the tutorial.
5. Shapes and Colors of Anime Eyes
It is helpful to divide the eye creation process into a few steps.
Let’s go back and break it down once more and add the coloring process. Let me show you some coloring techniques parting from the grayscale drawing that we already have from the previous part:
Remember: On top of the basic grays with their respective gradients, add brightness and textures that match the style of your drawing (see the example in the previous point).
Steps 1 and 2, start by making the eyelids, this will help you to figure out where to place the iris and the rest of the eye.
In step 3, add some basic grey tones (check chapter 4. Styles and greyscale) and then
In step 4, I set the color layers blending mode. In this case, I used Overlay, but you are free to try a few out and choose another mode that you like better. This way, the color that you add will be perfectly integrated with the gray tones. On the right, you can see where the blending modes for layers are located in my software. The default mode is Normal. From here you can play around and find which mode you are comfortable with.
If youre aiming for colorful, engaging anime eyes, vibrant, saturated colors may be best.
6. How to Color Anime Eyes
Here you can see the results from using different colors and blending modes. I used the Overlay mode for purple, Vivid Light for yellow, and Pin Light for the blue tones and the pink details. They blend great with the grey layer.
The key is to know where you want to place the grey gradients, the darker areas, and the highlights. Please go back to chapter 4. Styles and greyscale when in doubt.
Try different colors and see which ones are best for the effect you’re trying to achieve. In this illustration, I chose two complimentary colors: purple and yellow with pink and blue tints.
Grayscale coloring steps:
In 1, I simply started with the previously created grayscale drawing.
In steps 2 and 3, choose any color you fancy —purple, with some blue in my case— and try a blending mode that blends well with the greyscale.
In steps 4 and 5, I add some yellow using the Vivid light blending mode.
In step 6, I usually soften the dots a bit, by using the eraser or decreasing the layer opacity.
Finally, in step 7, I just add the finishing touches to emphasize volumes and textures.
7. Expressions for Anime Eyes
In real life and in the manga/anime world, eyes are one of the most important features to express emotion. Remember that a series of facial muscles tighten or relax, depending on the expression you want to achieve.
Lets take a look at the eyelids, the inner eye, and the eyebrows.
The emotions intended in these examples are easy to understand.
In example 1, the eyebrow is a bit tense, but the eye is relaxed and shining. This conveys a worried state or maybe missing someone or something.
In example 2, the eyebrow is arched vertically, and the eye is closed, so we can deduce that the character is happy.
In the next example (3), there is no shine to the eye, the iris is completely white, and the pupil is reduced significantly. This shows that the character is aggressive. Note that the eyebrow is arched in the opposite direction of the happy one in example 2, which also signifies anger.
Let us check all these expressions to deduce their meaning: 4 is suspicion, 5 is worry, 6 is neutral or observing, 7 is shock, 8 is sadness, and 9 is shock or madness, depending on the situation.
8. Final Illustration and Anime Eyes
Here is a character illustration with anime eyes. Note how the colors and shapes work together.
This step by step tutorial explains the specifics of drawing male anime or manga eyes by going over some of the more common elements of the style.
Specifics Common to Male Anime Eyes
Anime eyes of older male characters tend to be drawn narrower than those of younger characters (bigger and wider eyes can make characters look younger). Anime eyes of younger male characters are often drawn very similar to or exactly the same as those of female characters.
This tutorial will focus on drawing the eyes of a young adult male character (age of about ).
For drawing female anime eyes you see:
How to Draw Female Anime Eyes Tutorial
Placing Anime Male Eyes on the Head
For placing anime eyes on the head draw a horizontal line through the middle of the head and draw the eyes below that line. Real eyes would be drawn directly on that line or even above it but anime eyes tend to be drawn lower down.
If you are drawing squinted eyes you may want to draw them a little further down from the halfway line as the top of the eyes will be covered by the eyelids.
These placement guidelines can also change based on style. If you are going for a very realistic look you may want to place the eyes further up as you would with real eyes.
Drawing Anime Male Eyes
For spacing the eyes draw them far enough apart that another eye can fit in between them.
Draw the eyebrows after drawing the eyes. Usually the eyebrows tend to be slightly wider then the eyes.
Optionally you can also give a hint of the upper part of the eyelids. More realistic anime styles tend to show eyelids while the more simplified dont
After you draw all the major shapes of the eyes draw the inner details of the eyes.
Drawing a Male Anime Eye Step by Step
If you are going to draw both eyes then you should draw both at the same time. Draw each step for each eye before moving on to the next step.
Step 1 Shape of The Eye
Draw the overall shape of the eye. The outline of the eye will basically be the eyelashes.
As already mentioned the eyes of male characters (especially older males) tend to be narrower than those of female characters.
Step 2 Iris
The pupils in anime are often drawn as ovals (though sometimes they can also be drawn round like real eyes). You can see that for this particular example much of the pupil is covered by the eyelids.
Step 3 Pupil
Draw the pupil close to the shape of the iris but smaller and narrower.
Step 4 Shadow
There will usually be a shadow at the top of the eyes or a reflection of the eyelashes making the top darker. You can indicate this area to shade it later.
Step 5 Combined Pupil & Shadow Shape
You can treat the pupil and the top shadow/reflection as one shape as they can be shaded in with the same color.
Step 6 Main Reflection
The main reflection of the main light source. The shape of the reflection will be based on the shape of the light source (the sun or in indoor lighting for example) but generally you can just draw a round or oval shape.
Step 7 Secondary Reflection
The secondary reflection in the eye usually comes from the light emitted by the reflection of the main light source (for example the sun reflecting from a shiny surface).
Step 8 Pupil Shape
Draw a darker line to indicate the pupil as the rest will be guidelines that will disappear when shaded.
Step 9 Shading & Color
Shade and color the eye. As mentioned earlier you can use the same color for the pupil and the shadow. Keep the reflections white unless the light source is of a particular color (for example a red sunrise).
This concludes the anime male eyes drawing tutorial. If you want to draw different styles of male anime eyes then you can simply tweak the shape accordingly or simply leave out certain steps/parts of the eye for more simplified styles.
For examples of different styles of male anime eyes see:
Different Style Male Anime & Manga Eyes Drawing Guide
For more on drawing anime eyes in general you can see:
There may be some overlapping information in these tutorials but each one still has its own focus.
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Today we will tell you how to draw anime boy eyes. As you know, anime artists always pay great attention to drawing the eyes. There are many different sub-styles of anime, however, in each of them, you can see characters with huge, expressive eyes. Other facial features can be carefully drawn or sketched out. However, the eyes are always very detailed.
So lets start a guide on how to draw anime boy eyes. The most important task in this step is determining the shape and location of the eyes on the piece of paper. To do this, draw three crossing lines. The distance between the horizontal lines will help determine the height of the eyes. The position of the sketch will determine the position of the eyes on the sheet. Try drawing these lines without the aid of precision drawing assistants.
Draw the top edges of the anime eyes. You will make it easier for yourself if you first draw light lines and then outline them with more contrasting and large strokes. The upper edges of the eyes appear as wide, asymmetrical arches. Follow the markup from the first step for the perfect result.
Draw the bottom edges of the eyes. As before, using lighter lines will help you create the correct outlines. Note that the final contours become thinner medially. In general, it looks like two obtuse corners, the bottom of which coincides with the base bottom horizontal line. This is starting to look like an anime style, isnt it?
Pupils are one of the main things in drawing eyes. This is especially true for the anime style. The shape and location of the pupils have a very large impact on the nature of the gaze and the emotional background of the entire picture. So, draw rounded pupils, which are located approximately in the center of the outlines of the eyes. Dont try to make perfectly round outlines, pay special attention to localization.
So we continue to analyze this guide on how to draw anime boy eyes. Check that all proportions and shapes are correct. Pay attention to the nature and direction of the gaze. If this is exactly what you planned, feel free to remove the guidelines. Draw the outlines of the eyelids, which consist of smooth lines parallel to the outlines of the eyes.
Draw the outlines of the eyebrows. Dont try to draw perfectly symmetrical shapes. Eyebrows also have a very significant effect on the character and direction of your anime characters gaze. Use dense, one-layer shading to darken the pupil. You can notice that the hatching in both pupils is in the same direction.
It was a great job. If you are thinking of drawing an anime face, you can go ahead and draw other parts of the face. You can also draw a few more pairs of eyes that express different emotions for example, anger, surprise, or joy.
We hope this tutorial was really helpful to you. Try to practice as much as possible and then you will become a really cool artist. Also, try drawing anime girls and anime boys using our tutorials. Do not forget to write comments on our social networks, it helps us a lot in our work!
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Eyes draw to anime cool
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