The most significant feature of anime is its eyes. They are expressive, large, and a way to show your emotions. As they don’t have a lot of detail and are pretty easy to draw, anime eyes can be drawn with a few basic shapes. The first step in how to draw anime eyes is to decide if you want to draw male or female anime eyes as they are different. After this, you add lash lines, pupils, and iris and then shade your drawing and you’re done!
Shakespeare says that the eyes are the window to the soul. The way you look into someone’s eyes indirectly reveals a lot about them. Eye contact is one way to communicate nonverbally. Your eyes can convey the way you feel to others. For example, when we laugh, our eyes go up along with a smile. In anger, the eyes are squinted in anger and rolled in contempt.
1. So What Is an Anime?
An anime is a sketched and tech-generated animation that came to life in Japan. In English, anime is defined as animation produced in Japan. The term anime in Japanese refers to animated entertainment regardless of style or origin. Animation produced overseas in a similar style to Japanese animation is referred to as anime-style animation.
Anime has had a massive influence on modern culture. This is particularly true for upcoming artists influenced by Japanese anime and manga and those pursuing art as a profession.
When we talk about anime, the most relevant point is eye expressions. One of the most incredible characteristics of anime characters is their beautiful and expressive anime eyes.
Anime which is a Japanese animation style has taken the art of anime eyes to a much higher level. A typical anime character’s eyes are expressive and large, often in the shape of a square or rectangle. They tend to be pointed rather than round.
There are different types of eyes in anime. They seem simple but are quite difficult to draw. Behind all the details, styles and thick lash lines is a foundation of anatomical details and realism.
This article provides step-by-step instructions on how to draw anime eyes.
2. How To Draw Anime Eyes?
Things You Must Remember While Drawing anime eyes
- Female anime eye with curvy upper and lower lash lines and an oval between the two iris lines.
- After this add small circles to show the light source reflecting and then make small circles inside the iris to draw the pupil. Draw lashes and shade the drawing.
- Make male anime eyes narrower and smaller as compared to female anime eyes with the upper lash lines curved in the outer corner at a 45-degree angle.
3. Different Styles of Drawing Anime Eyes
In this article, we will discuss how to draw anime eyes with a solid foundation in manga art styles. Drawing believable and expressive anime or manga eyes is key to an appealing and authentic feel.
Whether you use paper, pencils, erasers, or digital tools like Procreate and an iPad Pro, let’s get drawing!
Before starting the drawing of anime eyes, you need an action plan. This includes two stages of drawing: a rough drawing and a clean-up. Drawing rough sketches requires a loose, free, and messy style, as well as a strong foundation on paper.
While cleaning up, you must take care that the foundation looks professional and clean. When working on paper the rough sketch should be as light as possible. If you are working on an iPad or a tablet you must use two layers in your art application, one for rough and the other for touching up.
It is necessary to understand how to draw anime eyes. For this, you should draw basic shapes, then change them according to your desired shape, and then add details. This is primarily used in rough sketches when doing the final stage. For the most part anime eyes are never made in 3D but in 2D like a sticker. You must approach this form of drawing while keeping all this in mind.
As we learn how to draw anime eyes, we must keep in mind that there are thousands of different ways to do so. A demonstration of how to draw anime eyes, including how to add your touches, is presented in this article.
3.1. Different Shapes of Anime Eyes
There are various techniques on how to draw anime eyes. Although all these types are based on the real eye, a bit of artistic touch makes them unique and expressive. So to understand the structure of anime or manga eyes you must know about the basic shapes.
There are three common shapes for anime eyes: round, triangular and rectangular which are to be used for reference only.
Most details like the waterline and lacrimal of the eyes were missing but the eyelids were kept as simple lines with spikes along with lashes.
The iris changes its shape to an irregular circle or oval from a perfect circle with the pupil following behind.
Regardless of the style of anime you are drawing, the shape of the eyes always corresponds to the character. Example
- The round shapes represent happiness, positivity, youth, and innocence.
- Rectangular shapes convey optimism, responsibility, and seriousness.
- It is said that characters with sharp and elongated (triangular) eye shapes have suffered hardship.
4. Anime Art Styles
Almost every anime has its art style and it is concerned with the eyes also; most anime’s noticeable traits are the eyes of the main character as they express the emotions that make the character different from others (For example, the rinnegan or byakugan in Naruto)
It is imperative to imitate anime eyes to draw them. Therefore, practice by copying the styles from your favorite anime and from anime that piques your interest. Eventually, you will develop your art style and will be able to draw anime eyes in a way that is uniquely yours.
5. Different Anime Eye Expressions
Things that influence eye expressions:
- How are eyebrows positioned and shaped?
- Placement of the kids
- How are the lids positioned?
One critical difference in drawing realistic eye expressions is that in anime and manga, the size of the pupil can be determined to create more depth.
Here is a breakdown of different anime eye expressions
5.1. Normal Eye Expressions
The eyebrows and lashes should be straight and calm when making normal eye expressions.
5.2. Angry Anime Eye Expressions
For drawing an angry expression, draw the eyebrow down in an inward wave shape. The top eyelids should slant inward and the pupils slightly rolled up.
5.3. Bored Anime Eye Expressions
For bored expressions, the pupils must be rolled up and the lids lowered.
5.4. Shy/Embarrassed Anime Eye Expressions
For shy expression draw the eyes looking down and the top eyelids slightly lowered.
5.5. Sad Anime Eyes Expression
For drawing sad eyes. Draw the bottom lids with an upside-down arch, and the outer edge of the eyebrow a bit lower and with less arch than normal.
5.6. Surprised Anime Eye Expressions
For drawing surprised anime eyes, make them wide open with raised eyebrows. If you draw the character with raised eyebrows, the character will appear more surprised.
Happy Anime Eye Expressions
For drawing, happy anime eyes draw a closed shape in an upside-down arch.
6. 20 Easy Steps on How To Draw Anime Eyes
Using these steps, you can learn how to draw anime eyes in any style and shape of eyes in the future. This article shows you 20 steps to drawing anime eyes in a particular style.
Most anime eyes are drawn with alcohol-based markers and ink or digitally on a tablet, but not everyone has these tools.
Drawing anime eyes is easy if you have a piece of paper and a graphite pencil.
6.1. Step 1: Draw a Circle
Use a pencil (2B) and a compass to draw a circle softly in the middle of the paper.
The distance between each eye must be determined by a circle, regardless of the shape we are planning to use. In this middle circle, we will mark the distance between both eyes.
6.2. Step 2: Draw a Line
Draw a line through the middle of the circle. You can then draw two more circles to define the eyes’ positions by following that line.
6.3. Step 3: Draw Two Circles
Draw two more circles aligned with the size you want your eyes to be. Now decide the shape of your eyes. You can draw it in your style if you wish.
6.4. Step 4: Draw the Upper and Lower Lashes
Upper and lower lashes are drawn with two lines. Lower lashes should be sharp, and upper lashes rounded.
6.5. Step 5: Draw the Lashes Outline
Give the lashes some volume. Draw the upper lashes thicker than the lower lash lines.
6.6. Step 6: Draw the Irises
Draw oval shape irises. It should be proportionate to the eye size and mimic the iris.
6.7. Step 7: Detail the Upper Lashes
Add details to the lashes outline using spiky triangles. Try making both eyes at once so it looks more symmetrical.
6.8. Step 8: Add the Lower Lashes
Add triangular shapes to your eyelashes. As some styles don’t use eyelashes it will be up to you if you want to add them or not.
6.9. Step 9: Add the Pupils
We’ll now hint at the pupils’ shape in the middle of our iris. Remember that we’re going to erase some of them later, so don’t get too focused on tracing.
6.10. Step 10: Draw the Eyelids
You can draw eyelids with a curvy horizontal and a short vertical line.
6.11. Step 11: Draw the Eyebrows
Now erase your guidelines and add eyebrows to represent emotions. Although anime eyebrows are typically thin, you can always experiment.
6.12. Step 12: Fill the Lashes and Brows
Now, fill in the lashes and eyebrows with the help of your pencil. Build layers so it doesn’t look dark from the start.
6.13. Step 13: Add Depth
Now add depth to your drawing by highlighting significant areas. The lines in dark areas must be darker while the lines near light areas must be thin.
6.14. Step 14: Highlighting Early
As we are using a graphite pencil (4B) it is better to highlight early to keep it clean.
6.15. Step 15: Shade the Pupils
Now fill in the pupils with a darker shade of pencil.
6.16. Step 16: Shade the Iris
We will use a dark pencil and very softly fill in all the iris, leaving the highlights intact. Shade uniformly as possible and build layers.
6.17. Step 17: Add Shadows to the Eye Area
Shadows can be added to the eyes to give them a more realistic anatomical appearance.
6.18. Step 18: Shade the Iris
Build a layer of shade in the iris, shade the highlighted part with a darker pencil, and add a small gradient in it leaving the highlight out.
6.19. Step 19: Shade the Iris
Now using the darkest shade of pencil (8B) add a layer of graphite to the highlighted area. Anime eyes can have many details, shades, and shapes.
6.20. Step 20: Add Extra Highlight
Use a white marker or a gel pen to add details. Add some highlights, stars, and zigzag shapes.
7. How to Place Anime Eyes on the Head
Real eyes are to be located in the middle. It must be drawn farther down the head.
It is preferred to draw the eye in horizontal lines in the middle of the head.
It is essential to remember that with closed eyes the top eyelashes are to be drawn further down from the horizontal line. With eyes wide open the eyelashes must be drawn further up.
8. Extra Tips for Drawing Anime Eyes
Now that you know how to draw anime eyes, here are some tips on drawing anime eyes in anime or manga styles. You must keep these points in mind for original drawings and pleasing manga.
- While drawing the final details, make sure the dark shades are saved for later.
- The clean line used for the rest of the drawings must be thinner and lighter than the rest of the eye lines.
- In many drawings, the noses are drawn like small dots or in an L shape high on the face, just beneath the eyes.
- Expressions of the mouth are to be drawn in flat format, rather than in three-dimensional form.
- Analyze your favorite manga and anime to see how the artists portray eyes in terms of line and proportion.
It is not just the shape of the eye that is different in anime. It is also the size and placement of the iris and pupil that complement the eye shape, as well as exaggerated reflections, as in the romantic genre. There are many variations on how to draw anime eyes other than the above steps. You can use the above information to create your style of anime eyes.