Illustrating emotive and captivating eyes.
Eyes are unique in that they make up a small portion of the human face yet convey a large majority of human emotion. For this reason, eyes can make or break the mood of a portrait drawing. “They seem to be a small part, but really they say everything about what somebody is thinking or doing,” says caricaturist Greg Bigoni. “Are they tired? Are they excited? Are they having a good or bad day? Are they skeptical? Are they having the time of their life?”
Discovering the underlying anatomy of the eyeball can help you bring life and feeling into your drawings, from the corners of the eye to the pupils. Drawing digitally with layers makes finding the most compelling eyes for your character easier, as well. Whether your aim is more cartoon-like anime eyes or photorealism, explore these various ways to step up your eye-drawing game.
Key facts about the geometry of the eye.
Start by getting a handle on the underlying shape behind the visible eye. “You’re not drawing what you see, you’re drawing behind the object,” says illustrator and drawing instructor Lucas Elliott. “You’re not just drawing the eye itself, but you’re drawing the actual ocular orb and then everything on top of it: the eyelid, the eyelashes, the eyebrows.”