How to Draw Realistic Eyes
Learn how to draw realistic eyes from three different points of
perspective: front view, 3/4 view, and profile.
For navigation convenience, here are links to jump to the eyes in 3/4-perspective
and in profile
Otherwise let's get started with the frontal viewpoint.
How to Draw Realistic Eyes - Part 1: Frontal View
1.1 - First
Begin with a simple sketch of your eyes.
Make them equally large and leave enough space in between them so
that another eye would fit in there.
in the eyelids with a curve above and below the eye. The upper one
should be a bit larger. The eyelids may look a bit too heavy now, but
that will change later.
eyes are a little bit different. My eyes have a fold along their top,
where the skin of the upper eye socket meets the eyelid.
outer corner of the eye this fold rises steeply for a short distance,
but then it cuts across the eyelid almost horizontally.
Now erase the part of the eyelid which is hidden below the fold.
Outline the eyebrows above the fold.
eyebrows are a bit thicker at the beginning and become thinner towards
How to Draw
Realistic Eyes - 1.2: Eye Details
it is time to pay close attention to the subtleties of the shape
between the eyelids. We have to modify our simple almond and
make it more realistic.
Here are the changes I made:
- I lowered the outer corners of the eye a tiny little bit
- I raised the upper eyelid slightly and made it flatter towards the
inner corner and more curved towards the outer corner
- I added a small bulge at the inner eye corner, and made the lower
eyelid curve a bit inwards right before it
To catch these subtleties is perhaps the most difficult part, so take
Draw the lacrimal caruncle as a small, round shape at the inner
corner of the eye. Separate the small bulge in which it lies with a
curved line from the rest of the eye. This is where a bit of tissue
grows at the eye's side.
Then add the iris. Usually,
when looking straight ahead, the upper part of the iris is hidden below
the eyelid, but at the bottom there is a bit of space between the iris
and the lower eyelid.
Take care to give equal size to both irises and to place them right
into the center.
Add the pupils into the center of the irises.
watch out that both have the same size and really look into the same
direction. This may require a bit of erasing and redrawing.
Don't draw them immediately in black. Sketch them light and cautiously
first, and once you are satisfied you can fill them in.
Outline the edges of the eyelids with a thin line, running closely
along top and bottom of the eye.
How to Draw
Realistic Eyes - 1.3: Eyelashes, Eyebrows, and Shading
Now you can add the eyelashes.
to perspective shortening, the eyelashes in the eye's middle look
shorter, because they are pointing more into our direction. Towards the
corners of the eye the eyelashes appear longer, because they are
pointing towards the sides. Draw them all slightly curved.
The eyelashes of the lower eyelid are generally shorter and also fewer
the irises with many little curls until you get such a texture. Then
take an eraser and lighten up the curves below the eyes. Otherwise they
look too tired.
the same with the outline for the eyebrows. Once they are very
faint, draw in the eyebrows with many short and curved strokes
your pencil. Let the lines flow with the natural growth direction of
the hair, which is from the inside to the outside.
You can also add two faint lines between the eyes to hint at the
beginning of the nose.
Finally you can apply a bit of shading.
Remember to also shade the eyeballs and not just
the skin around them.
Now we move on to draw eyes in the next perspective.
to Draw Realistic Eyes - Part 2: 3/4 View
In this perspective you only see front eye in its entirety, while the
corners of the eye in the back are hidden from view. The inner corner
is hidden behind the nose, and the outer corner is hidden behind the
eye itself. That's why the eye ends in a curve
on the right side.
2.1 - Basic
This is the first rough sketch.
we see the eyes from a side angle, they are a bit shortened by the
perspective. So don't make them quite as long as you would draw them in
I cleaned up the sketchy lines a bit and made the inner eye
corner smaller, since it was too large in my first sketch.
I also added a small curve into the nose.
Now let's bring the eyes into their final form.
eye on the left was still a bit too long, and so I shortened the inner
and outer corner of the eye. I also lowered the outer corner
the eye a little bit.
Once you are satisfied
with the shape of your eyes, add a curve above and below them.
These curves mark the top and bottom of the eyelids.
How to Draw
Realistic Eyes - 2.2: Surroundings
The skin on my upper eye socket is hanging down a little bit and
creates a fold that covers the top of my eyelids.
For the front eye, let
this fold start at the left and cut
diagonally across the eyelid, and then curve down a bit at the inner
the other eye, the fold is just a curve. I recommend you look at the
next picture for this, because I cleaned the lines up and you can see
Okay, so here are the cleaned lines for the folds above my eyes.
Erase the eyelid's upper part that is hidden below the fold, before
a thin line closely along the top and the bottom of each eye-shape, to
outline the edge of the eyelids. For the eye in the back, the lines
have to disappear behind
the eye. They have to wrap around it. You can achieve this look by
letting the lines curve around the eye's edge and touch it
the eyes aren't hovering in empty space, we have to outline the head
structure around them. We do this just for the eye in the back, because
we can't see the face's edge on the other side.
Draw a bulge for the eyebrow above the eye and a line going
down from the eye's right edge at the bottom.
How to Draw
Realistic Eyes - 2.3: Outlining Eyebrows and Eye Details
lightly draw in the shapes for the eyebrows. Place them closely
above the upper eyelid. The eyebrow in the back should disappear at the
point where the bulge is at its outermost point.
Then add the small lacrimal caruncle to the eye's inner corner. Close
of the corner with a curved line afterwards.
your eraser over the curves below the eyes to make them a bit fainter.
You can also sketch in a few lines to point out the nose's edge on the
and how it transitions into the eye socket.
Add the iris as a big circle into both eyes. In a normal position, its
top is covered by the upper eyelid, but
at the bottom there is usually still a bit of space between iris and
eyelid. The iris of the eye in the back is also partially hidden behind
the nose. Afterwards, place the pupils as two smaller circles into the
almost never looks right on the first attempt, so be prepared to erase
and correct until it looks good. For example, the pupil in the back is
still too large in this picture! I made it a bit smaller in the next
How to Draw
Realistic Eyes - 2.4: Last Details and Shading
In this step I added the eyebrows, eyelashes, and a pattern into the
Let's start with the eyebrows.
Erase the eyebrow's outline until it is very faint and hard to see.
fill it with many small, curved strokes of your pencil that flow in the
natural direction of the hair's growth, which is from inside to outside.
the eyelashes as a row of curved lines along the eyelids. At the center
of the eyes, they usually appear shorter, because they are pointing
directly towards us; but towards the outer eye corners they appear
longer. On the lower eyelid the lashes are much shorter than above.
Now you can take your pencil and fill the irises with many little coils
until you get a pattern as shown in the picture.
Now you can consider to apply a bit of shading to your drawing.
Just remember to also shade the eyeballs themselves, because
they are often forgotten.
to Draw Realistic Eyes - Part 3: Side View
Start the eye as a triangular shape with a curved front.
Then lightly outline the larger shape of the eyeball around it.
is good to remember that the whole eye actually has the shape of a
sphere, although just a small part of it is visible.
How to Draw
Realistic Eyes - 3.2: Fold and Eyelid
Add the fold, where the skin from the upper eye socket meets the eyelid.
the upper part of the eyeball that is hidden in the eye socket, and
outline the upper eyelid.
draw forehead and nose as shown here, because they are
too close to the eye, and I moved them a bit more to the right in the
How to Draw
Realistic Eyes - 3.3: Eyebrow, Nose & Forehead
this picture I moved the outline of the forehead and the nose a bit
more to the right to make space for the eyebrow. So you can draw the
outline for nose and forehead as shown here.
Then add the eyebrow afterwards.
Seen from the side, the eyebrow appears to be shorter and curves down
at the beginning quite a bit (at least my eyebrows do.)
Now outline the lower eyelid.
a line along the eye's bottom, and hide the largest part of the
eyeball's bottom under the lacrimal sac.
How to Draw
Realistic Eyes - 3.4: Iris and Pupil
Draw in the iris.
When you look at it from the side, it has not the shape of a circle,
but of an ellipse. While
looking straight ahead, it usually touches the eyelid at the top, but
leaves a bit of space between itself and the eyelid at the bottom.
the pupil afterwards. Don't let it touch the right edge, even if the
eye is looking straight
ahead. The transparent cornea is still in front of it.
How to Draw
Realistic Eyes - 3.5: Eyelashes, Eyebrow, and Shading
Now let's move on to the eyebrow.
your eraser over its outline, until it becomes very faint, and then
fill in many short, curved pencil strokes that run from the inner to
the outer corner.
add the eyelashes, making them shorter at the eye's corner, because
are pointing more towards us at this point, and longer towards the
Fill the iris with coils of light Grey, until you have a nice texture.
the end, you can apply a bit of shading to bring out the shadows around
the eye and nose.