How to Draw Tears

How to Draw Tears

Table of Contents:

Start Drawing Realistic Tears

From the Renaissance devotional images, such as Dieric Bouts "Weeping Madonna", to Gustav Klimt’s "Freya’s Tears" of Gold, to Roy Lichtenstein’s pop art works that include women crying, artists have been portraying the tears of their subjects for generations. Tears help tell the story of the painting, convey sorrow and heavy emotion, and also bring tears to the eyes of the viewer. They are an important element you may wish to add to your paintings, making it well worth your time to master the art of drawing them.

Whether you’re drawing manga characters or portraits, it’s important to show a range of emotions. Facial expressions are crucial to making your characters come alive and that includes showing them crying. Tears can also be added if you want your character to weep tears of joy. To enhance whatever emotion you’re trying to convey, tears should look as real as possible. This is easier than you might think! To get you started and show you the process of drawing tears, we’ve created this short drawing tutorial.

Also, since tears are transparent and reflect the light, you’ll see that once you learn how to draw them you can apply some of the techniques shown here to creating raindrops, condensation, and any kind of dripping water.

Let’s get started!

List of Supplies

Easy Drawing Tears Tutorial

For this lesson in how to draw tears, our artist used Arteza Colored Pencils. They are highly pigmented and offer strong and vibrant colors. Their triangle-shaped barrel makes them really comfortable to use and they won’t roll off your desk or worktable. We also recommend you use one of Arteza’s drawing pads, these handy pads contain paper that’s the perfect weight for color pencil drawings. The spiral binding keeps your drawings clean and protected.

Image of a tear step 1

Step 1

You may think that tears are small separate drops, but in reality, as tears come out of our eyes, they slide down the face. To make your drawing look accurate, you’ll want to capture that shape. You can achieve this by starting with an elongated and rounded shape that will be the tear rolling down the face. Next, add a few more irregular shapes beside it to represent the stray droplets of the tear. You can do this using the A012 pencil and applying very little pressure to create light lines.

Image of a tear step 2

Step 2

Tears reflect the light; therefore, you should draw a few circular shapes within the initial shapes to create the areas where the light will be highlighted. It’s also a good idea to draw a shape along the bottom of the tear that will become the tear’s shadow.

Image of a tear step 3

Step 3

For this demonstration, the light is shining along the right side of the tear, so you should add some lines to indicate where the shadows will be on the left side. Once color is added, you’ll see that these shadowed areas will give the tear dimension and volume.

Image of a tear step 3

Step 4

It’s time to start adding color! Use A086 to give the illusion of water. Be careful to color around the areas where there will be the highlights, as these areas won’t have any color and will make the tear appear to be transparent. Now, it’s time to color the shadows. Use A047 for those areas.

Image of a tear step 5

Step 5

Continue to darken the shadows slowly to give the tear a more three-dimensional look. Make the areas closest to the tear darker and work your way outward, lightening the shadow as you go. Also darken the blue areas and blend some of the gray on the top of the tear with the blue. Add a bit of A088 on top of the large teardrop. This touch of purple adds more dimension to the reflective quality of the tear. As you can see, the more contrast you have between the colors the better.

Image of a tear step 6

Step 6

Keep darkening the shadow areas (keeping the darkest parts closest to the tear) as well as the blue along the sides where little or no light would be shining. You can also add more purple and continue to blend it into the blue. You’ll see that the beauty of color pencils comes through layering your colors. To enhance the contrast between the tear and the skin, add a warm shade with A110.

There you have it! This tear looks real, right?


  • Decide from the beginning where you want the light to be shining on your tear. Make sure to keep the lightest shades on the side with the most light and your darker shades on the opposite side.
  • Instead of trying to get a dark shade all at once, use several layers of the same color to get more depth in your darker shade.
  • Have some fun and try creating new colors by layering individual colors on top of each other.
  • When coloring shadows, make them darker the closer they are to the subject, getting lighter as the shadow moves away from it. This creates the feeling that the subject is grounded on the paper, instead of floating in space.

Whether you’re drawing an anime character or a human face, adding tears will instantly convey what they’re feeling. You can show so many emotions besides sadness by adding tears, such as extreme exertion, uproarious laughter, and the misty eyes of someone in love. We know that once you get the hang of drawing tears, you’ll want to add them again and again. Plus, the more you practice tear drawing the better you’ll get! We hope this tear drawing tutorial has helped and we would love to hear all about it. So, please leave a comment below, and make sure to tag us on social media, and add the hashtag #Arteza.

1 comment

This was a verry helpfull drawing I love how it just flows. And the shade ing is realy top notch I love it. U need to make more like this one. On how to draw real lips. That would be nice if you could. Thanks mike

Michael Regimbald

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