How to Draw Anime Eyes and Eye Expressions

There are many methods of making anime-inspired eyes. This video tutorial demonstrates the steps you can create anime eye designs using diverse expressions in a single style from the front perspective.

 

Example of how to draw anime eyes

Step 1 – Draw The Shape of The Eyes

Line drawing of eyes for Anime

One of the most notable characteristics of the eyes of anime is that they’re usually significantly larger and wider than real eyes, so this is the way we draw their eyes.

The eyes must be spaced far enough apart that you could put a third eye between them.

To draw a normal expression, draw the iris lightly over the top of the eyelid and just below the lower eyelid. The eyebrows should be slightly higher than the eyes in a gentle curve.

When drawing different expressions, the eyebrow shape, the position, and the pupil positions could be different.

To draw different types of eyebrows, see:

How to Draw Anime & Manga Eyebrows

Step 2 – Draw the Pupils and the Reflections

Eyes reflections, pupils, and eyes line drawing

Draw the pupil to the middle of your iris.

The reflections’ positions will be determined by the location of the viewer.

 

There could be multiple reflections dependent on the number of light sources present. In this instance, we have two. One is the primary source of light and another from a second light source.

If, for instance, you are sketching a character sitting outside on a sunny day, the primary reflection in the eyes could be due to the sun, while the second reflection could result from the sun reflecting off an additional object.

Step 3 – Add Shading

Step by step

To darken the eyes, such as the one above you can basically make everything, with the exception of the inner portion of the iris as well as the reflections in black.

Make the reflections white, and tint the iris gray.

Drawing Different Anime Eye Expressions

Examples of drawing anime eyes that have various expressions

The elements that affect the appearance of eyes are:

  • The shape and position of the eyebrows.
  • The pupils’ position
  • The eyelids’ position

The main difference in drawing real eye movements is the fact that in manga and anime it is possible to alter the dimensions of pupils is altered to produce the most dramatic expression (really terrified eyes for instance).

Below is the breakdown of each of the expressions.

Drawing Normal Anime Eyes

Anime eyes

Draw the way described in the first section of this tutorial.

Illustration Angry Anime eyes

Eyes of anime angry

For a sarcastic look, Draw the eyebrows downwards in an inward-facing wave. Draw the upper eyelids downwards in an upward slope and draw the eyes slightly rolled upwards.

Drawing Bored Anime Eyes

Eyes of anime that are bored

To give a boring appearance, create a boring look by drawing the eyes rolled up, and the eyes slightly lower.

 

Drawing Shy/Embarrassed Anime Eyes

Eyes of anime with a shy look

If you want to hide or embarrass yourself, look, draw the eyes down. Draw the eyelids of the top slightly lower.

Drawing Sad Anime Eyes

Sad anime eyes

To create a sad-looking look, draw eyes that are squinted. Draw the lower eyelids with an upside-down arch. Make the edges around the eyelids lower with less arch than usual or with an upside-down arch.

Drawing Surprised Anime Eyes

Eyes of anime that are surprised

For a surprising look, take your eyes wide and raise your eyebrows. The bigger you draw the eyes, and the more you lift your eyebrows, the more stunned the subject will appear.

Drawing Scared Anime Eyes

Eyes of anime in a scary way

To create a fearful look, make the eyes wide and raise the eyebrows. You may also draw your pupils which are smaller in size than normal. The smaller your drawing of the pupils, the more terrified your character appears.

Drawing Happy/Content Anime Eyes

Happy or contented anime eyes

To make happy or content eyes in anime, close them with the eyes’ shape in an upside-down arch. This is possibly the most simple way to draw anime eyes since there aren’t any things to be concerned about.

Placing Anime or Manga Eyes on the Head

The eyes of the Anime are placed on the head

Real eyes are situated at the center of your head. The eyes of animated characters are usually drawn further down the head.

A good way to draw the eyes of anime can be to trace a horizontal line along the central part of the head, as illustrated in the previous example, and sketch the eye below the line.

It’s important to know that if your eye is closed, or squinting the top eyelashes need to be drawn lower away from the horizontal in the above example. If the eyes are wide-open then the eyelashes have to be drawn higher upwards.

Conclusion

There are literally countless variants of anime eyes, but the rules and tricks that are discussed in this tutorial will be applied regardless of the style you pick.

For more details on manga eyes and drawing anime, you may also visit:

 

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