How To Draw Anime Eyes

How To Draw Anime Eyes

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How To Draw Anime Eyes

Anime, the captivating world of Japanese animation, has mesmerized audiences worldwide with its distinct art style. One of the most crucial elements that make anime characters so appealing is their expressive and beautifully detailed eyes. Learning to draw anime eyes is an essential skill for any aspiring artist, as it can significantly enhance your ability to create captivating characters. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the step-by-step process of drawing anime eyes, from understanding the basic anatomy to mastering various eye styles and expressions.

Understanding the Anatomy of Anime Eyes

Before delving into drawing anime eyes, it's crucial to grasp the basic anatomy that underlies their distinctive style. Anime eyes are characterized by larger, more expressive shapes than real human eyes. Here are the key components:

  • Iris and Pupil: Anime eyes often feature larger irises, which contribute to the characters' expressiveness. The pupil is typically depicted as a simple circle or oval, while the iris can be quite detailed, displaying intricate patterns and reflections.
  • Sclera: The white part of the eye is known as the sclera. In anime, the sclera is often minimized or omitted, making the eyes look more intense and focused.
  •  Eyelids: Anime eyelids vary in style, but they are often emphasized with prominent lines or creases to add depth and emotion.
  •  Eyelashes: Depending on the character's gender and style, you can add eyelashes to the upper and lower eyelids for a more feminine or expressive look.
  •  Eyebrows: Anime eyebrows tend to be simplified and can be straight lines, dashes, or simple curves. They are usually placed above the eyes, but their style may vary.

Choosing Your Style

Anime offers a plethora of eye styles that can convey different personalities and emotions. It's essential to choose a style that suits your character and the mood you want to convey. Here are a few popular styles:

  • Big Sparkling Eyes: These large, shimmering eyes are often associated with innocence and purity. They have prominent highlights, making the character appear kind-hearted and naive.
  • Sharp and Intense Eyes: Sharp, angular eyes are often used for characters with intense or determined personalities. They convey a sense of strength and focus.
  • Innocent and Round Eyes: Characters with round eyes often appear more childlike and adorable. They are great for conveying innocence, curiosity, or vulnerability.
  • Cat Eyes: Cat eyes feature distinctive, slanted shapes reminiscent of feline eyes. These eyes are often used for characters with a mysterious, playful, or mischievous nature.
  • Almond-Shaped Eyes: Almond-shaped eyes are versatile and can be adapted to various character types. They are slightly elongated and can convey elegance or a calm demeanor.
  • Chibi Eyes: Chibi eyes are exaggerated and comical, making characters appear cute and comical. These are often used in chibi or super-deformed styles.

Step-by-Step Guide to Drawing Anime Eyes

Now, let's go through a step-by-step process to draw a pair of anime eyes. We'll start with a basic style and then explore variations:

  • Draw the Eye Outline Begin with a clean sheet of paper or a digital canvas. Draw a simple almond-shaped outline for the eye. Keep it symmetrical and consider the angle at which you want the character to look.
  • Add the Iris and Pupil Inside the eye outline, draw a large iris. The size of the iris will depend on your chosen style. A big, detailed iris is often used for a more captivating look. Within the iris, draw a circular or oval-shaped pupil. Don't forget to add a small white highlight for a more lifelike appearance.
  • Define the Eyelids Next, draw the upper and lower eyelids. These can vary in style, from sharp and angular to soft and rounded. Add eyelashes if your character is more feminine or expressive. The eyelashes can be short dashes or longer, more detailed lines.
  • Emphasize the Eyebrows Above the eyes, draw simplified eyebrows. The style of the eyebrows should match the character's personality. For example, a determined character may have sharply angled eyebrows, while a more innocent character might have soft, curved brows.
  • Add Shading and Details To give depth to the eyes, add shading to the iris and eyelids. Use light hatching or cross-hatching to create gradients. Also, add small details like folds in the skin around the eyes and any reflections in the iris to make the eyes look more lively.
  • Choose the Eye Color Select an appropriate eye color for your character. Common choices are brown, blue, green, and gray, but you can be creative with other colors as well. Fill in the iris with your chosen color, leaving the highlight area white.
  • Experiment with Expressions Once you've mastered the basic eye, practice different expressions. Adjust the size and shape of the pupils, eyelids, and eyebrows to convey various emotions. For example, narrowing the pupils and raising the lower eyelids can create a surprised expression, while lowering the upper eyelids and relaxing the eyebrows can depict a calm or content expression

Practicing Different Eye Expressions

To become proficient in drawing anime eyes, it's essential to practice various expressions. Here are some common expressions and how to depict them:

  • Happiness: Create a wide-eyed, open expression with raised eyebrows and a curved, smiling mouth. The pupils may be smaller to emphasize the brightness of the eyes.
  • Sadness: Depict a downturned mouth, lowered eyebrows, and a slight drooping of the eyelids. Make the eyes appear watery to emphasize the emotion.
  • Surprise: Wide-open eyes, raised eyebrows, and a slightly opened mouth can convey a surprised or shocked expression. Enlarge the pupils for added impact.
  • Anger: Sharp, narrow eyes with lowered eyebrows and a tight, straight mouth can express anger or frustration. You can also add visible veins or lines in the forehead for an intense look.
  • Fear: Wide eyes, raised eyebrows, and a gaping mouth are indicative of fear. Add sweat drops, trembling lines, or other details to emphasize the character's distress.
  • Confusion: Create a quizzical expression with raised eyebrows, a tilted head, and an open mouth. Add question marks or thought bubbles to complete the look.

Tips for Improving Your Anime Eye Drawing Skills

As with any art form, practice is essential for improving your anime eye drawing skills. Here are some additional tips to help you on your journey:

  • Study Real Eyes: Observe real human eyes to understand their anatomy, how light interacts with them, and how they express emotions. This knowledge will help you create more convincing and expressive anime eyes.
  • Experiment with Different Tools: Try different drawing tools, such as pencils, markers, and digital drawing software, to find the medium that suits your style best.
  • Reference Images: Use reference images of anime eyes to analyze different styles and gain inspiration. Remember to respect copyright and use references for learning purposes only.
  • Break Down the Process: Analyze anime eyes in terms of basic shapes, proportions, and the placement of features. Breaking down the process into smaller elements can make it more manageable.
  • Seek Feedback: Share your work with fellow artists, attend art classes, or participate in online art communities to receive constructive feedback and guidance for improvement.
  • Practice Regularly: Dedicate time to practice drawing anime eyes regularly. The more you draw, the more you'll refine your skills.


Drawing anime eyes is an essential skill for any artist interested in creating captivating and expressive characters. By understanding the anatomy of anime eyes, choosing the right style, and practicing various expressions, you can enhance your ability to bring characters to life. Remember that mastery takes time and consistent effort, so keep practicing and refining your skills. Whether you're a novice or an experienced artist, drawing anime eyes is a delightful and rewarding endeavor that allows you to infuse your characters with depth, emotion, and personality.

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