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How to Draw Eyes

Learning how to draw eyes is essential if you want to draw human faces with expression and emotion.

Drawing Eyes: General Observations

"They" say the eye is the window to the soul.

Artistically speaking, at least, that is very true.

More importantly, the shape and position of the eyes contribute to the difference in features that distinguish human faces from one another.

But, believe it or not, the eyes are basically the same in all people.

Everybody's eyes tend to be just about the same size.

The apparent difference in sizes and shapes is due to the opening of the lids.

The eye lids, in turn, are shapped by the formation of the upper lids and the cushion of fat surrounding the eyes at the back.

Moreover, the upper lid can express strong and passive sensual excitement when relaxed.

Individuals' faces tend to differ from one another by the distance in the space between the 2 inner corners of the eyes.

There are 2 factors that influence the distance of the eyes from one another: the position of the eye sockets in the skull, and the constitution of the eyes themselves.

How to Draw Eyes: Examples

In drawing eyes, bear in mind that the eyeball within the lid is almost round, and in shading, the roundness has to be expressed.

Copy the drawings below, and practice variations of their features conveying differnt positions, emotions and expressions:

how to draw eyes fig 1

The upper lid is thicker and casts a shadow on the eyeball.

This accounts for the high light never being very high up.

One of the most important things in drawing an eye (or both!) is the ability to set the position of the eyeball in relation to the iris and the pupil.

Emotion and light affect the size of the iris, and contributes to express the subject's emotion.

Eyes expressing depression or anger tend to look larger.

Tears fluid tend to make the eyes shine.

Finally, you have to observe the lines or wrinkles of your subject, as these add "life" to his/her face.

Drawing Children's Eyes

Children's eyes are further apart and placed lower in the head by comparison to grown ups.

How to draw eyes fig 2

The eyes are a little rounder in babies.

As the child grows, the eyes elongate.

The eyeball is almost round and should be considered as a ball within the lids.

The upper lid is thicker and casts a shadow on the eyball.

The upper lid contains a cartilage disk, and is more movable than the lower.

It slips up and down (using an elevator muscle) to wipe and keep the eye free from dust.

The above is just the basics on how to draw eyes, but it's enough to get you started.

Other books and course materials that go deeper into this part of the process of drawing a human face, but that's out of the scope of this page.

How to Draw Faces: Related Links

Rokeby Venus, by Velazquez


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