How to Draw: Eyes

“Eyes are the window to the soul.”  I’ve always heard that quote, but it wasn’t till recently that I realized just how true it is. We can hide anything by acting, dressing, or talking differently yet our eyes will tell the truth. Eyes are the most fun and beautiful thing to draw of a human face. They’re not really all that complicated, yet they add such depth and meaning to the portrait. Eyes communicate so much! This is not to scare you out of drawing eyes because you think you’ll flub it up. You are a human, and naturally carry the intuition necessary to subconsciously pick up on the little things that make the eyes their own personality and draw it. As you continue to grow in your drawing, the “drawing it” part will become easier.

If you wish to see the first two episodes of this series, you can find them on this page. Please know that these are only guidelines. Every person’s eyes are different and there is no “perfect” eye. Feel free to experiment, be creative, and  most importantly, have fun! 🙂

First off, lets start with a good close-up look at a regular old eye and pick out the different parts that it is comprised of. Eye analysis.jpg

I don’t expect you to memorize several of those names (as indeed, I haven’t either). The sweet lady which I learned most of my drawing techniques from, called the Medial Canthus, the “Dew-hinkey”. Much easier to remember! 😉

If you haven’t heard about using grids, I strongly suggest you go back and read about that here. I don’t really recommend trying to draw up a picture strait out of your head from the start. Find a nice picture that you like and try drawing the person’s eye, paying attention to where you’re putting down graphite and why. Or, you can delve right in and choose not to use a picture. Either way, don’t expect perfect but shoot for the moon anyway!

IMG_9491 (3)

I drew this pair of eyes from my imagination a little over a year ago. Note there are no eyelashes as well as the shading make the eyeballs seem to taper off rather than round back into the head.

Eyes are circles which means that the irises and pupils need to be perfectly round to be realistic. In the pair of eyes above, the left iris is not perfectly round which automatically gives away the realism. I love using a circle template which I found either on amazon or at A.C. Moore. It gives a crisp clean look without any fuss and makes the eye much more of an eye!

Note also, the paper I used was fine toothed which created a slightly blurred affect.

Glassy eyeballs

Glassy eyeballs or “mirroring” eyeballs, reflect light and appear shiny. This also helps make them look round. This is created by white spots, generally in close proximity to the pupil. Here’s a good example:


Like in this case, the bright spots are rarely round. Take a look at the eye in the diagram close to the top of this page and you’ll even see the reflection of the lady’s eyelashes! That puts even more super realism to a portrait.


Wait, isn’t this a post about eyes? Yes, but eyebrows are an important factor in the finished look. They add character, express emotion, and even tell you some of what that person is like (especially for  ladies, but men included).

Just some simple guidelines. There really is no absolutely correct way to draw eyebrows, but there are a few guidelines that will help cut out the confusion of correct placement and such.

Generally the inmost part of the eyebrow starts above the Medial Canthus (“Dew-Hinkey” 🙂 ), with the exception of some manly brows which may extend further. Imagine the person smiling big so they have crinkles at the corners of their eyes (unless they already are of course). The end of the eyebrow goes above the end of that crinkle. The biggest mistake beginning artists make on eyebrows, would be making them look like upside-down V’s. Believe it or not, quite a few  eyebrows are actually fairly flat on the bottom.

If in doubt, look at your own!


Have fun being a confident artist-to-be until next time when we learn about noses!(Insider’s hint: that will be the easiest lesson ever! 🙂 )


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