There’s no doubt that Japanese culture can be found anywhere you look; and one of the best examples of this is anime. Anime has become increasingly popular in the western countries, with a fan base that encompasses almost every demographic.
When drawing anime, the eyes of the subject make or break the image. They are, by far, the most identifiable feature of this kind of art. If you’ve ever had trouble drawing anime eyes, then this simple tutorial is for you. I’ll start by showing you how to draw one easy type of anime eye, with more to come later.
To start with, draw a circle which will serve as the iris of the eye. This is not a perfect circle, but slightly slopes at the top. Next, draw a line that extends from the sloped line of the iris and extends slightly outward and downward from the circle. This will become the upper eyelid of your eye. Below the iris, draw a small, slightly upward-curved line which will eventually be the lower eyelid.
Now that you’ve got the basic shapes of your anime eye drawn, you can add finer details. For this eye, the light source is coming from the upper-left, so the highlight of the eye will be in the upper-left corner of the iris. For this style, the highlight is roughly 1/3 the size of the iris. Next you will draw the pupil of the eye. This will sit in the center of the iris, and is slightly oval in shape. When drawing the pupil, be sure not to cross the outline of the highlight. This will give the illusion that the pupil is sitting underneath the highlight of the iris.
The eyebrow of this style of anime eye sits high, roughly one iris-length above the eyeball. This eyebrow curves high, and stretches slightly out from both edges of the eyelid.
Above the iris, draw an upward-curved line about 2/3 length of the eyelid to create the crease of the upper eyelid. A few wispy lines at the edges of the top and bottom lids will create lashes, and finish this step.
At this point, you essentially have a complete anime eye. Congrats! The last part of this process is to add the finishing touches and a little shading.
The most important part of this step is to add depth to the eye by shading the iris. When you look at an anime eye, there are almost always several values in the iris that create visual interest. For this particular style, shade the iris very dark at the top and around the highlight, and lighter toward the bottom. The reason for this shading is based on the way light interacts with our eyes in real life. Another example of this can be found in my previously posted How to Draw Realistic Eyes tutorial.
The final step is to darken all the lines of your eye, and keep them clean and sharp. If you’ve followed all the steps in this tutorial, then pat yourself on the back, you’ve just drawn an anime eye!