Today I’m sharing some tips on how to create amazing eye drawings. The eyes are one of the most important parts of a face. They not only portray a person’s personality, but also their mood. They tell a story, so drawing the eyes right is more important than anything else.

Below is an example of an eye drawing, which is fairly typical of a beginner who is new to drawing. The eye shape is like an almond, the entire iris is visible and the eyelashes are drawn pointing outwards all the way around.

basic beginner eye drawingSince we are in the midst of the ‘February Faces’ challenge,

So, what’s wrong this drawing of an eye?

Well, pretty much everything!

The first thing to look at is the outer shape. Eyes come in all sorts of shapes; some are wide and round, some are very narrow and even eyes which are indeed more of an almond shape are always more of a complex shape than that.

How can I improve my eye drawings?

Firstly, you need to look beyond the surface when drawing your eye. The example above shows the eye as a flat shape, however, an eye is anything but flat. We first need to remember that behind that external shape is a ball…


sphere shaped eye ball

Imagine that what you see above is an eye, which has been removed from its socket. This is what it would look like (but with an iris and pupil).

The first thing to notice is the variations in tonal value (lights and darks). It’s these variations that make the ball appear ’round’.

Below is an ideal example of an eye drawing that clearly shows the ‘ball’ within the socket…


eye drawing tutorial sketch

Things to notice when you are drawing eyes:

  • The upper and lower lid eyelid also follow (wrap around) the shape of the ball.
  • The white of the eye isn’t actually ‘white’ at all. You can see that the tones vary. This gives it its ‘ball’ shape, like the previous example shows.
  • Note the corner of the eye (the Caruncle)… That little membrane that you see. All eyes have this membrane and it forms an important part of the eye.
  • The eyelashes don’t poke straight outwards from the outer edge of the eye. They actually grow from the inner rim of the eye and then curl outwards and upwards.
  • The pupil is not always a sharp, round shape. Sometimes it is a much softer transition between the pupil and the iris.
  • The iris is not just one flat colour or tone.


eyelash drawing and eye highlights

  • The highlight of the eye is not always just one round spot, as so often depicted in an amateur drawing.
  • The pupil might sometimes reflect whatever is in front of it.
  • The eyelashes don’t always curl upwards, as clearly shown in the example above.


bottom eyelashes drawing

  • The bottom lashes also grow from the inner rim, not the outer edge.
  • Unless someone is very surprised (or scared witless), you would not be able to see the entire iris (the coloured part). Some of the iris will be concealed under the upper and lower lids.
  • The inner rim is often missed out altogether in an amateur drawing.
  • The eye shape itself is very much influenced by the skin and lid above it. Sometimes the lid can be heavy and push down as shown above. Or sometimes the entire lid is visible as shown below. It’s very important to take notice of the eyes surrounding area when you are drawing.


Drawng eyes sketch

  • The eyelashes do not sit separately in a perfect row. They often overlap each other, forming little groups. This is particularly evident in the above example.
  • Often you will see that the eye is reflecting its surroundings. In the above example, you can see the shadow of the eyelashes casting across the eye itself.

The most important rule when you are drawing eyes…

Hopefully, this gives you some handy tips for your eye drawings, but remember, observation is key! Never just assume. Look carefully at the shapes and tones that you actually see and keep looking as your drawing progresses.

Realistic Eye Drawing Tutorial for Beginners

In this eye drawing tutorial for beginners, we show you how to draw a realistic eye in pencil. We go into details about drawing the different parts of the eye – the eyelashes, lid, iris, pupil and eyebrow.

Sandra x

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