The Art Lab, Episode 23: How to Draw a Realistic Eye

I am so excited to show you guys this episode of Art Lab! As you may know, I absolutely love drawing and photographing eyes, so I thought this would be a fun post to do. 🙂

Art Inspiration:

The inspiration for today is this amazing tutorial (also shown below). The end result seriously looks like a photo, doesn’t it?

The reflection is what I have trouble with...:

AHHHH, I love it! Mine looks more like a drawing and less like a photo, but I’m still quite pleased with how it turned out. 😀

DSC_0627 (800x533).jpg

It was sooo much fun to draw! Today I’m going to show you a few tips and tricks I’ve learned from this and other tutorials and help you avoid some common mistakes. Now I am NOT saying I don’t make mistakes, because I do, and plenty of ’em! When you make a mistake you can’t fix, sometimes you just have to figure out what went wrong and start over. I know you’ve heard this about 2 billion times in your life, but seriously: if you want to get good at something, art included, just keep practicing! Sometimes you have to fail once or several times before you succeed.

Mistake #1: Eyelashes

Eyelashes can be incredibly hard to draw, am I right? They give me a lot of trouble sometimes. But here are some things to keep in mind that might help.

  • Most people’s eyelashes are not perfectly straight and thick like American Girl Doll eyelashes. It’s a sad fact of life, my friends. (Actually, maybe not so sad – that would be kind of creepy. XD ) Look in the mirror: eyelashes cross over each other and are often bunched together in little clusters.eye 11 (1280x853)
  • Lashes aren’t as thick and dark at the top as at the bottom. Press your pencil down hard when you start at the base of the eyelash and not as much as you curve the line upwards.
  • Peoples’ bottom set of eyelashes can actually be pretty long (or not, depending on the person). Draw them lighter and more sparsely than the top set. And again, they aren’t perfectly straight and thick. I think eyelashes in the bottom set cross over each other especially much. (Look at the “Art Inspiration” at the beginning of this post for an example.)

Mistake #2: The White of the Eye

Often people leave the white of the eye just that – blank white. But the truth is, your eyelid and eyelashes cast shadows on it, so it’s not perfectly white. Shade and smudge around the inner edges of your eye to make it really pop.

eye 12 (1280x853)

Now that you know what to avoid, I wanted to do a little tutorial for you guys. I already showed you the super amazing, super realistic tutorial for the art inspiration, but it was a bit hard to follow, wasn’t it? This tutorial should be easier to follow, even if it’s not as amazing. 😉

Step 1: Draw the shape of the eye. It’s a rounded almond shape, wider or thinner depending on the person. Don’t forget to add a rounded triangle thingy for the tear duct.

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Step 2: Draw the iris, pupil, and highlight. (I just did a simple circle highlight for this tutorial.) Don’t draw the iris as a complete circle because you can’t see the whole iris in real life unless you’re opening your eye really wide. Sketch out the pupil until you find a satisfactory size – a too-small pupil can end up looking kind of weird.

Now add a curved line for the eyelid on top and another curved line at the bottom.

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Step 3: Every person’s iris is different, but for this tutorial I went with sort of a starburst pattern. It’s okay if it isn’t perfect because it’s not always perfect in real life! Add a bunch of irregular dark lines coming out from the pupil.

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Step 4: Color in the pupil the darkest you can and try to pull out the dark pigment into those lines surrounding it.

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Step 5: Ooh, this is an exciting step! Finish the iris by adding more dark, inward pointing lines around the outside of the iris. Shade the top of the iris darker – remember those shadows! I smudged the pencil a bit in the middle of the iris where the starburst was to blend everything together.

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Step 6: Woohoo, looking good! See what a difference those shadows make? Shade the top of the eye, the corners of the eye, and the tear duct. Smudge the pencil with your fingers to smooth out the shading.

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Step 7: Add the eyelashes, and ta-daa! For extra credit and realism, you can shade the skin around the eye too, which I didn’t show here. (Note: Oops, the eyelashes didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped. I think I should have made them darker, longer, but not as close together. Remember what I was saying about making mistakes? Heh heh. XD Oh well, better luck next time!)

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And there you have it! I hope this post was helpful to all you wonderful artists out there. 🙂 Do you have any tips for drawing eyes to share with me and the other readers?

Happy drawing! 😀

***Allison***

P. S. If you want to see another fun tutorial for drawing eyes, be sure to check out Anika’s post here! Her tutorial is super easy to follow (unlike mine maybe, heh heh) and shows you how to draw pretty, colorful eyes with pen and watercolors. I especially love all the expressions she did with the eyes at the end. XD 😀

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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50 thoughts on “The Art Lab, Episode 23: How to Draw a Realistic Eye

  1. Allison, thanks so much for this tutorial! I can’t wait to try it! Drawing eyes is something I love, for some reason, but this looks really cool! You’re such a great artist!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow, this is really good! 🙂 I’m good at drawing eyes, just not the face XD Maybe you could do a tutorial on drawing a face? That would be very helpful 😀

    Like

  3. How Beautiful! I could never do that, LOL! You did a great job, when I saw the cover photo I was like, “It’s like a picture, how could that be a drawing?”. I’m not much of an drawing artist, although I am a painter and love to paper craft! I am a card and such artist! I have a craft business, I sell bookmarks and magnets so far, but I want to add greeting cards. Everything is handmade by me. Does that sound cool to you? 😉

    Like

  4. Out of curiosity…how do you follow Aria’s blog (Purrfectly Inspired)? I know that she had Bloglovin’, but that never worked out for me and I ended up quitting it. Now, I don’t see any way to follow her at all, and if I enter her into my WP Reader it says emails can’t be sent. :\
    Thanks! 😀

    Like

    1. Good question! You can actually sign up to be on her email list, so she emails weekly life and blog updates to you, but otherwise I just get her updates in WP reader… I don’t get the emails. Yeah, otherwise, I’m not sure! Maybe she would know?

      Liked by 1 person

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