Drawing the Human Eye

Here's another tutorial I made tonight. A few people have asked me how I draw eyes... so here ya go. :D

Step 1 - Start with a basic sketch of the eye. Notice how the lines droops down on the left and flares slightly upwards at the bottom to reveal the tear duct. I've noticed that many people forget to draw tear ducts on their eyes. Keep in mind that eyes vary a LOT from person to person. This eye is based off of my own. I think my eyes are rounder than average:

This is an example of how not to draw an eye. *grin* I see eyes like the one below all the time. Lots of people have a tendancy to draw the iris small and in the center of the eyeball, not touching either the upper or lower eyelids. Almost any time you see a relaxed eye, part of the iris will be concealed... unless the person has naturally bugged out eyes like me. *grin* Another problem with the drawing below is that the lines of the eyelid are overly defined. There is no sense of form because there are no varying line widths. This drawing doesn't show the subtle contours of the tear ducts and the folds in the lid.

Step 2 - Here I've started to develop the highlights. I pointed out specific areas which I think are important. Area number two is often neglected. It shows the highlight along the inner rim of the bottom lid. Your eyelids are not flat, they are thick folds of flesh that wrap around the eyeball. Look in the mirror at your own eye to see what I mean:

Step 3 - Start putting in shadows. A nice balance between light and shadow is important to make areas *pop*. :) Area 1 is pretty important... lots of people forget to shade the eyeball itself and leave it stark white. Remember that its called an eyeBALL for a reason. *grin*:

Step 4 - With a finer brush, add bolder highlights in specific areas. You'll notice things are getting a bit more crisp now. Notice that on section 2 the highlighted part of the iris is opposite the bright white highlight. This is how I usually draw it. I've heard that the eye almost always highlights this way - but don't quote me on that ;) And the same as the step above, you want to add light to the eyeball itself to make it appear round.:

Step 5 - Deepen the shadows along the lash line. I've always darkened the pupil as well as the rim around the iris. Often I notice that eyes are dark around the edges and in the center, then they sort of fade into the center where the highlight gets bold and the color of the eye is more evident.:

Step 6 - Last step! I added some "spokes" to the center of the eye to make it more realistic. I also added a bright hightlight to the tear duct. Remember that this is a wet surface we're dealing with, so parts of your eye appear glossy.:

Step 7 - Done! :D

UPDATE: I posted this tutorial on a public forum and the feedback I got from it was awesome. Other artists decided to throw their own steps in and take my unfinished eye to whole other level. I wanted to include these steps because they pull everything together very well. Thank you so much to everyone that contributed!

Step 8: By Loki - I took the freedome and went quickly over your eye. Here's what I added:

* Harder shadow from the eyelid - helps defining the eye

* Highlights in the white part of the eye / pseudo enviroment reflection - since the eye is wet, it picks up quite a bit from the enviroment.

* Detail in the pupil. Just for fun

* more wetness and redness in the corners of the eye

* sharpened the edges of the iris - since it's a hole with a sharp edge

What I didn't do is correcting the overall shape, since one would treat and shade the eye as a part of a sphere (rest is hidden by eyelis & skull) with a little sphere on top (the pupil/lens). Very nice painting though Jez - made me want to play with it. :) :

Step 9 - By Freddio and Sweetpea - I added a bit of stuff also, got a bit more depth into it more contrast also so the highlights look better. (Freddio). i couldn't help it.. the lack of lower eyelashes was driving me crazy. :P here's some lower lashes: (Sweetpea):

Step 10 - By Lunatique - Luna added a lovely eyebrow to finish it off. :) :