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Drawing realistic eyes for expressive character design 2021

Updated: Sep 23, 2021

Eyes are one of the most difficult. Realistic and Anime. Eyes are one of many features that defines "Expression".

We all love to gaze into beautiful eyes. Eye contact is an integral part of human communication and the eye and eyelid are extremely expressive. We are constantly staring into every person's eyes that we come across during the day (even if they are only on a screen) to judge what a person may be thinking and feeling. This is why drawing eyes properly is essential to drawing portraits, characters, and more. These are some of the anatomy drawings I have created while learning how to draw eyes. The end of my blog features different styles of drawing eyes, including manga/anime eyes.



The white "eyeball" is actually a tough, white, opaque membrane. It is drawn as a sphere. The eyelid wraps around the eyeball. These are examples of how to draw the eyeball and eyelid in different perspectives.



Use opposing curves to draw the eyelids over the eyes. The diagrams in the middle are examples of the right eye in different views. The bottom part of the diagram shows how to take 2 eyes and keep the eyelids in perspective when adding them to the face of a character.




As mentioned above, our eyes are full of expression of our moods, emotions, and even other characteristics (such as the environment). A dilated pupil can be drawn for a character in dim light, when a character is attracted to another character, and sometimes it can make a character look more goofy. Constricted pupils are drawn on characters in bright light, if a character is focused on something, or if a character is shocked or surprised.


The eyelid is also extremely important in expressing emotions through the eyes. I have demonstrated the difference between the normal (relaxed) eyelid, and the shocked/surprised (small eyelid), and the tired/sexy (larger eyelid). Finally, I added the closed eyelid to demonstrate how the eyelid fits around the eyeball.

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