Drawing the eyes can be very challenging yet fun for most artists. Eyes are the window to the soul, drawing them properly can make your drawings feel more alive and add more characteristics to your character.
In this post/ tutorial, I will be teaching you the different parts of the eye and compare it to an anime-styled eye. Then, I will show you how to draw a basic anime eye step by step. After that, I will explain to you how you can achieve different styles of anime eyes. For example, male and female eyes, adult and children eyes. With brief explanations on their characteristics and differences.
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Getting to know parts of the eye
Before we even start drawing, we’ll need to learn and understand different parts of the eye and its structure. It is also good to have some knowledge of the eye structure of a realistic eye. I’ve made a post with more details about it here.
Now, I will show you parts of a realistic eye. Later on, I will show you how anime eyes can be simplified.
Parts of an realistic eye
In the image above, I have pointed out the different parts of the eyes. For a more detailed explanation on each part, visit my post on how to draw an realistic eye here.
It may seem like a lot of parts to take in, however, it can be very simplified when it comes to drawing in the anime style. I will go through it in the next section.
Realistic vs Simplified anime eye
Here’s a list of how parts of the eyes can be simplified in anime style
Depends on how simplified the style is. In some styles, the tear ducts are not drawn at all while in some styles there’s a slight indication of tear ducts.
Unlike the realistic style, the eyelashes can be a simple upward tip at the ends of the eyes or drawn in chunks, not individual strands.
Realistically, the iris should be quite round. In anime-style however, it can be all kinds of shapes, most commonly seen shapes are circles and ovals, some also have sharper edges instead of rounded ones.
Eyelids can be eliminated in some anime styles. A common style is to indicate then with 2 simple lines above the eyes.
Again, this is sometimes not drawn at all or slightly indecated.
Drawing an anime eye front view step by step
I will now show you a step by step process on how I draw a typical, quite simplified anime eye!
Drawing the eye shap
I first drew the overall eye shape for my eye. You can see at the 2 ends I drew a few curved tips to show as eye lashes. I have the top lashes connected to part of the waterline as it goes down, this is a stylistic choice, in some styles they are not connected. The bottom eye is simply drawn with a line. It can be ommitted depending on your style.
Adding in the iris
Here I’ve drawn in an ovalish iris.
Drawing in the pupil
I drew a heart shape for the pupil, you can add any shape you like! Circle, star, rectangle etc. The beauty of drawing anime is that it’s very customisable! Very commonly, you will also see a line dividing the centre of the iris.
Drawing in the eyelids
If your character has double eyelids, simply add in 2 lines as below to indicate its presence.
Add in an eyebrow and some highlights in the eye and you’ve just drawn an anime eye! Isn’t it soo much simpler than drawing a realistic eye?
As mentioned before, the beauty of drawing in anime style is that everything can be customised to your preferences! In the next section, I’ll talk about how you can do that.
Different types of eyes and their characteristics
Cute anime eyes are often larger, more rounded and sparkly! The iris is also very often relatively larger.
Below are some exaples of cute anime eyes.
For cool looking anime eyes, the eyes are normally more narrow and the iris is relatively smaller. They also often have a pointer feel to them.
Below are some exaples of cool anime eyes.
Female vs male eyes
Generally speaking, female eyes are bigger, less sharp, and the iris are larger compared to male anime eyes.
However, that is not the case if you want to draw a cool female anime character with cool narrow eyes or a male character with softer and cuter features. Therefore, it really all depends on your preferences and the character’s characteristics!
Below are some examples of female eyes:
The image on the left shows a typical big round cute eye on a female character. The middle image shows a female with a lot of cooler looking eyes, it is narrower, but the iris is still quite big. The image on the right is kind of a combination of the first 2. The character still has big eyes but since it’s a more sporty kind of character, the eyes are pointy at the ends.
Below are some examples of male eyes:
For the left image, the character has very narrow and pointy eyes, it helps in showing him as a tough and mature looking male. The middle image has slightly bigger eyes, thus the character looks younger. The image on the right has even bigger eyes and the iris is quite large. It makes him look even younger than the other 2.
Anime eyes for children are usually rounder, bigger in eye size and also iris size. This is to create an innocent feeling to the character. However, it can be slightly pointier for mischievous children, more droopy for a sleepy effect or when crying.
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I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post and has found it useful. If you purchase anything through the affiliate links that I’ve provided, I’ll get a small amount of commission (at no extra cost to you!) which helps me continue writing art-related blog posts and tutorials like this one.
You may also be interested in:
- How to draw the head and face – anime-style guideline side view
- How to draw the head and face – anime-style guideline front view
- How to draw anime chibis – general features
- Digital painting for beginners
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