How to Draw Anime & Manga Eyes – Side View

This tutorial will teach you how to draw manga and anime-style eyes from a side view, in various situations, and with different expressions by using step-by-step examples.


Anime eyes side view

The eyes of anime are generally drawn significantly larger than the real eyes when compared to the head, and they often are stretched vertically. However, they’re built on real eyes, and understanding how eyes function and how the eyelids work can help when drawing anime eyes.

Understanding How the Eyes and Eyelids Move

How the eyelids behave in different situations

Eyes are in essence oblong (3d circles). The eyes move upwards when looking upwards and down while looking to the side. The eyelids function as a type of covering to keep the eyes from being dragged around.

In their normal position, the eyelids move closer when the eyes are closed, and further apart when the eyes are open.

When the eyes gaze up, the eyelids’ tops are raised.

When the eyes gaze downwards, the top of the eyelid is lowered.

How eyes close

If the eyes shut completely in a relaxed state (not blinking) the upper eyelid is moved towards the lower eyelid, while the lower eyelid remains.

Placing Anime Eyes on the Head in Side View

Placing anime eyes on the head in the side view

To position, the eyeballs of anime on your head from to the sides view (or in front) simply split the head in two vertically, and then draw the eyes beneath the line.

The eyes of real people are situated directly at the halfway line. If you’re drawing more realistically anime style, think about moving your eyes to the right.


Drawing Anime Eyes Side View

Anime eyes side view normal open state

To draw normal anime eyes with the side view, draw the iris’s top slightly over the top of the eyelid and draw the eyebrow naturally slightly higher than the eye.

Drawing Startled Anime Eyes Side View

Startled anime eyes side view

To get anime eyes that are startled from a side-view, draw the iris a little smaller than normal. Draw the upper eyelid raised to the point that it barely is in contact with an iris’s top. Draw the lower eyelid just below the iris. Draw the eyelids slightly elevated.

The reason to make your iris narrower is since, as we’ve already discussed eyes in anime are typically stretched out vertically making it difficult to create enough space between your eyes and lids for that exciting look.

8 Step Anime Woman’s Head & Face Drawing Tutorial

Drawing Embarrassed Anime Eyes Side View

Embarrassed anime eyes side view

To hide the eyes of an anime from a side angle, draw the iris down with the bulk that is covered with the lower eyelid. Draw the top of the eyelid just a little lower than normal, but not touching the eye’s iris. Draw the eyelids on the upside-down (compared to their natural condition) curve.

Drawing Determined Anime Eyes Side View

Determined anime eyes side view

For a determined look in the side view, draw them slightly squinted. the eyebrows are in a “wave” sort of shape dropping towards the direction in which the eyes are facing.

Drawing Surprised Anime Eyes Side View

Surprised anime eyes side view

For eyes that look astonished in the side-view, Draw the eyes wide and then draw eyebrows up.

Drawing Tired Anime Eyes Side View

Tired anime eyes side view

For tired eyes that are seen from the side, draw the eyes that look downwards. Draw the eyelids of the top about halfway down, covering a huge portion of your eye. Draw the eyelids in an elongated curve rather than the normal curve.

Drawing Angry Anime Eyes Side View

Angry anime eyes side view

To create angry anime eyes from the side, draw eyes that are squinting and draw the eyebrows lower toward the direction the eyes are facing. Draw the bottom portion of the eyebrows in such a way that it’s aligned with the top of the eye.

Drawing Upset Anime Eyes Side View

Upset anime eyes side view

For eyes that are irritated in the side view, draw eyes that are squinted and looking downwards. Draw the eyebrows with an upside-down curvature, pointing toward the direction the eyes are facing.

Drawing Scared Anime Eyes Side View

Scared anime eyes side view

For eyes that are scared of anime in the side view, draw them wide and draw the iris a lot smaller than normal. It is important to leave plenty of space between your iris and your eyelids. As mentioned earlier, it isn’t easy to leave adequate space between eyes and lids when drawing anime eyes since pupils and irises tend to be stretched vertically. This is why you should make the pupils or irises smaller to create certain facial expressions.


Drawing Puzzled Anime Eyes Side View

Puzzled anime eyes side view

To create puzzled eyes in anime from a side perspective, draw them slightly upwards. Draw the upper eyelids slightly raised, but still covering a substantial portion of the eye. Make sure that the eyebrows are slightly raised and also.

Drawing Relaxed (Closed) Anime Eyes Side View

Relaxed anime eyes side view

For eyes that are relaxed and closed in the side view, draw them as just eyelashes. In this case, it might appear as if there’s lots of area between your eyebrows as well as the eyes, but remember that it’s the upper eyelid that is lower, and that empty space actually represents the eye that is covered by the lid.

Drawing Content Anime Eyes Side View

Content anime eyes side view

Eyes of content anime in the side view, draw them closed. In contrast to the eyes that are closed in their restful state, you’ll see the lower eyelids slightly elevated. The slightly elevated bottom eyelids can result in the eyelashes being slightly upwards, so draw in the same manner. Make sure to draw the eyebrows up and also.


It’s not that complicated to draw the eyes of an anime character from a side view, provided you know how eyes react in different states and expressions. You can also learn certain tricks that are specific to anime (such as drawing smaller pupils/irises to frighten eyes, for instance).

For more information on how to draw anime-inspired eye expressions, check out:

How to Draw Anime Eyes and Eye Expressions

To learn more about drawing anime expressions using the side view, see:

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