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How to Draw Anime Eyes in 5 Easy Steps

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Posted by Eliana Ribeiro
I started painting when I was working on my masters in Education. I love to incorporate art into whatever I'm teaching as a way to relax the mind and expand creative thinking.
How to Draw Anime Eyes in 5 Easy Steps

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Look & Learn How to Draw Anime Eyes

Ever since discovering anime, I have been fascinated by this Japanese art genre. Their characters are adorable no matter if they’re good guys or not. One of the main characteristics is the unusually large eyes they have. I spent a while perfecting my technique for drawing them and I’d like to share it here. With just a few simple steps, you can capture the charm of the anime eyes and start creating your own unique characters. 

For this mini-tutorial, I’ve used Arteza colored pencils and a white gel pen. Colored pencils offer handling and vibrancy to cause your eyes to really stand out. The white gel pen is the ideal tool for adding bright highlights that bring the eyes to life!

Drawing An Anime Eye Step-By-Step

Anime eyes Step 1

Step 1

Outline the outside of the eyes, the eyelid, and the iris in perspective. That means the eye closer to you should be larger than the eye that’s farther away, such as when your face is turned slightly. Either start drawing with a pencil then outline it using Black A012, or only use Black A012.

Anime Eyes Step 2

Step 2

Use the purple shade, A020, to fill in the iris, making the upper part a little bit darker. 

Anime Eyes Step 3

Step 3

Use Dark Purple A088 to reinforce the pupil and to create a gradient on the iris. It will be brighter at the top turning dimmer on the bottom. When I make a gradient, I put more pressure on the pencil as I go from light to dark, with the most pressure where I want it the darkest.

Anime Eyes Step 4

Step 4

Put more pressure closer to the iris’ outer contour. Using black, I shade with less pressure the area where there will be a shadow across the iris, which is underneath the eyelids. I press the hardest when coloring in the pupil. Next, I use an eraser to add some highlights at the bottom of the iris. With Gray A047, color in the eyeball’s upper section to make a shadow over the white of the eye. This creates volume and makes the eye appear rounder.  

Anime Eyes Step 5

Step 5

Use Pink A083 at the very bottom of the iris to make it look more alive. Add the highlights with the white gel pen.

That’s it! Pretty easy, right? You can use this as a sample to practice on as you begin your journey creating your own amazing characters. What’s your favorite anime character? Do you prefer the happy-go-lucky types or the defiant, anti-heroes? How do you draw their eyes to convey the emotions that give them a unique personality? 

Recommendations

  • It’s helpful to watch some anime to get the feel for how these characters move and all the expressions they make with their eyes.
  • You can use images from the internet to use for drawing references for the angle and position of the eyes in the head.
  • Experiment with lots of different colors. You can get sets in so many colors, so have fun and don’t be afraid to use unusual ones to make eyes you’ve never seen before.
  • When adding highlights, use more than just a few white dots. By putting in some curved lines, you give the eyes more volume and luminosity. 

I think focusing on the eyes is the best way to start building the personality of my characters. Once I have the eyes in place, I can adjust the head and body to complement them. Sometimes, the eyes’ color or shape helps me determine whether they’re going to be a good guy or a bad one. The most important thing is to let your imagination run wild and create a population that’s unique to your world. 

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