How to Draw Manga Eyes

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Manga eyes come in endless forms and shapes.
They are one of the most important features of the face, because they are usually very large compared to mouth and nose.
So it is essential to know how to draw manga eyes that fit into the character's overall style and also portray its personality.

In this step by step lesson you learn how to draw manga eyes for four different characters: A rebellious boy, a nice girl, a calm and confident man, and a mischievous fairy.

The goal of this lesson is to demonstrate several ways how you can draw the different parts of the eye.
Let these examples inspire you how to draw manga eyes for your own characters.

We start with the boy. Click here to jump to one of the other characters: Girl, Man, Fairy.

1. How to Draw Manga Eyes for a rebellious Boy

Let's take a look at this boy's eyes and what they are saying about him:

The outline of the eyes and the eyebrows are drawn with thick edgy lines.
This gives him a rather unfriendly look and fits well to his spiky hairstyle.
A big black ring around the iris makes the eyes very dark and moody.
The boy is obviously not thinking about nice things.

In a comic it would be clear that this is not the "good guy" of the story.

Set up guidelines that help you to draw the eyes symmetrically and in the same size.
Draw a vertical line in the middle and draw at least one horizontal line that helps you to set both eyes at the same height.

1.1 Eyelids

Draw the upper eyelids.
They consist of four straight lines.
The longest one is at the very top and horizontal.
From its edges two other lines point outwards diagonally.
And from the outer corner of the eye the little fourth line is pointing inwards again.

Make the lines for the eyelids thicker at the top.
Then add two spikes at the outer corner of the eye.
These are strongly simplified lashes.

Draw the lower eyelids.
They consist of three straight lines.
Make them shorter than the upper eyelids so that they fit under them easily.
Leave sufficient space between upper and lower eyelids.
These eyes are supposed to be large.

1.2 Iris, Pupil and Highlight

Draw in the iris.
It is a circle that was cut of at the top.

Draw in the pupil.
It is a circle directly in the center of the iris.
Then add a bean-shaped highlight at the upper left, which will be left white later.
Draw a half circle below the pupil.
This defines the area that will later be the black rim of the eye.
Note that it isn't round, but straight at the upper left corner of the eye and points downwards.

1.3 The Eyebrows

Add the eyebrows (ignore the shaded rim; it will be filled properly later).
They are two triangles with their broadest side pointing inwards and downwards, which makes the look angry.

Finish the eyebrows with two more triangles.

1.4 Coloring

Fill in the eyes and brows with a black marker now.
Make sure to leave the highlight white and empty, but make everything else pitch-black and bold.

So that's one possibility how to draw manga eyes for a bad boy.
Now we take a look at the opposite: A nice girl.

Jump to Top, Man, Fairy

2. How to Draw Manga Eyes for a Nice Girl

This girl has eyes that are very typical for female manga characters.
They are large and have a big dark pupil, very few, but long eyelashes and several highlights.
All this looks cute and tidy and fits very well to a nice and modest girl.

Start drawing the eyes with setting up guidelines.

2.1 Eyelids and Lashes

Draw the upper eyelid.
It is a curved line that bends stronger at the beginning and at the end than in the middle part.

Make the upper eyelid thicker through drawing a shadow on top of it.
Then add four eyelashes at the outer corner of the eye.
The lashes should bend upwards, be thin at the top and get slightly broader at the bottom.

The lower eyelid is shorter and thinner than the upper eyelid.
At the outer corners it arches upwards in a rather sharp bend.
It has only three eyelashes, which are much smaller than the upper ones.

2.2 Iris, Pupil, and Highlights

Connect the eyelids with two lines that curve slightly outwards.
Make sure that you don't draw them from the very edge of the eyelids, but go a little bit inside.

Draw in the three highlights next.
They all have the shape of circles or ovals.
There is one big at the upper left, a very small one in the middle and a slightly bigger one at the lower right.
Then draw in the pupil.
Make it large and take care that it is partially covered by all highlights.
The smallest highlight should lie inside of it completely.

2.3 Eyebrows and Coloring

The eyebrows are just two short curved lines.
Draw them in and then fill the pupil with black color, but leave the highlights white.

Now we bring the iris alive with some shading.
You can't do this with a marker.
Take a black pencil instead, or a pencil of some other color you prefer.
Press it down strongly and draw around the outline of the iris.
Then move the pencil slowly inside and let go of pressure over time, so that the color gets gradually lighter.

Shade a shadow around the outline of the pupil.
Then press the pencil down hard again and draw many little lines that go like rays from the pupil to the outside.

This is a typical way how to draw manga eyes that are cute and shiny.
Next we draw eyes for a character that is a bit more serious.

Jump to Top, Fairy, Boy

3. How to Draw Manga Eyes for a calm and confident Man

This man has a bit of Buddha in his round and calm features.
Only his thick eyebrows make his appearance slightly stern.
This character could be a monk that is very eager to follow his teachings and doesn't approve of shenanigans.
But he looks relaxed and at peace with himself.

To keep this impression of the character, the eyes also have to be drawn with very round lines.
The additional line above his upper eyelid gives him a touch of age and serenity.

As always, set up guidelines for the eyes and then start drawing.

3.1 Eyelids

The upper eyelids arch upwards rather flat from the inner corner of the eye, but at the outer corner they bulge inwards again very strongly.

The lower eyelids are just slightly curved lines.
Make sure to set them so low, that they don't look like an extension of the lines for the upper eyelids.

3.2 Iris, Pupil, and Highlight

The iris is a circle that was cut in half by the upper eyelid.
Make it so big, that there is little space left at the corners of the eye.

Draw in an additional line for the upper eyelid that follows the outline of the eye.
Then draw a little white circle for the highlight at the lower left, followed by the pupil.
A part of the pupil should be covered by the highlight.

3.3 Eyebrows and Coloring

Fill in the pupil and add the eyebrows.
Draw them with many little strokes that bend outwards.
Note that the eyebrows are thickest inside and get thinner outside.

Shade the eyes with a pencil.
Draw a small shadow just below the upper eyelid.
Then shade the iris, making it darker at the rim and brighter inside. Add a couple of curved rays into the iris for decoration.

So this is a way how to draw manga eyes that aren't very large but still have a strong expression.

Finally we take a look at a way how to draw manga eyes with an intense magical flare.

Jump to Top, Girl, Boy

4. How to Draw Manga Eyes for a Mischievous Fairy

A fairy is a magical creature and therefore its eyes also have to look very unusual and mysterious.

In this example they have the shape of large cat eyes, bushy pointy eyelashes, curly brows and eye-decoration that would be impossible in reality.

Set up guidelines for the eyes and then start drawing.

4.1 Eyelids

Draw the upper eyelid with two lines.
The first one is pretty long and bents upwards steeply.
Note how close the inner corners of the eye come together.
This will make her gaze very piercing.
The second line goes down from the outer end of the first one.
First it bends in, then it bends out and at the end just a little bit in again.
It looks like a stretched "S".

The lower eyelid starts a little bit below the point where the upper eyelid ends and curves inwards from there.
In the middle it reaches a plateau where it is even (horizontal). From that point on it bulges slightly downwards, before it ends.

4.2 Lashes

Draw in many small lashes that bend in the way the arrows indicate.
On top of the upper eyelid the lashes curve upwards.
Yet from the side of the upper eyelid they actually bend in the opposite direction.
But make sure that their tops point largely into the same direction, so that they add up to a single spike.

Also draw many small eyelashes at the lower eyelid.

4.3 Iris

Now it gets really freaky.
The Iris is a circle that is cut into half by the upper eyelid.But a little part of its lower right is cut out.
That's actually impossible for real eyes, but for the fairy it is ideal and gives her a great fantasy look that's even a bit spooky.

4.4 Pupil and Highlights

Give the eyes several highlights of different sizes so that they have a magical sparkle.
Then draw in the pupil as a thin long oval, just like in a cat's eye.

4.5 Eyebrows, Decoration and Coloring

Fill the pupil with black color.
Then draw a circle with tiny zigzag lines around it, for additional decoration.
Take care that you don't overdraw the highlights though. Finally add the eyebrows.
Make them curly at both ends to keep things fancy.

Shade a heavy shadow under upper eyelid with a pencil.

Then finish through shading the rim of the iris and the pupil.

This is a way how to draw manga eyes that look truly otherworldly.

I hope you enjoyed this lesson and that it gave you some inspiration.

There are so many possibilities how to draw manga eyes... combine the things you liked best, invent something new and create your own individual eyes!

You will see it is a lot of fun, as soon as you get a handle on it.

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