how to draw a eye

How to Draw a Eye – Drawing Turorials and Coloring Tips

Do you want to master the art of drawing an eye that looks remarkably real? Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, the process can be both challenging and rewarding. But where do you start? And how do you capture the intricate details and depth that make the eye truly come alive on paper?

In this comprehensive guide, we will take you step by step through the process of drawing an eye, providing you with valuable tips, techniques, and tutorials along the way. From creating the perfect outline to mastering shading and coloring, you’ll discover the secrets to bringing your eye drawings to life. So, grab your pencils and get ready to embark on an artistic journey that will leave you with stunning eye drawings that capture the essence of realism.

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn step-by-step tutorials for drawing realistic eyes
  • Discover essential tips and techniques for shading and coloring
  • Master the art of creating depth and dimension in your eye drawings
  • Explore different mediums, from colored pencils to digital drawing
  • Unlock the secrets to capturing the expressiveness and intricacy of the human eye

Step 1: Outline

The first step in this eye drawing tutorial is to outline the shape of the eye. By starting with a well-defined outline, you can create a solid foundation for your drawing. To begin, draw an almond-shaped outline that represents the overall shape of the eye.

The almond shape should have a natural curve, with the inner corner slightly lower than the outer corner. This will give the eye a more realistic appearance and make it look more lifelike. Take your time with this step, as getting the outline right is crucial for capturing the essence of the eye.

By outlining the eye accurately, you set the stage for adding intricate details and bringing your drawing to life. This initial step is the foundation upon which the rest of the eye drawing will be built.

Step 2: Inner Circle

After outlining the shape of the eye, the next step is to draw the inner circle. This circle represents the iris and pupil, adding depth and realism to your drawing. Ensure that you place the pupil in the center of the circle to maintain proportion and accuracy.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to draw the inner circle:

  1. Start by drawing a perfectly round circle within the outer outline of the eye. This will serve as the base for the iris. Use light pencil strokes to create the circle, keeping in mind that it should not be too large or too small compared to the overall eye shape.
  2. Once the circle is complete, you can proceed to draw the pupil. Place the pupil directly in the center of the inner circle. It is helpful to use a drafting compass or any round object of appropriate size to ensure accuracy.
  3. Add a small highlight in the pupil to mimic the reflection of light. This will give the eye a more lifelike appearance. The highlight should be a tiny, bright spot located slightly off-center towards the light source.

Remember, the inner circle is an essential element in capturing the essence of the eye. Proper placement of the pupil and highlight will make your drawing more realistic and captivating.

To visualize the process, refer to the image below:

inner circle eye drawing

Step 3: Pupil and Highlight

Now that you have drawn the inner circle of the eye, it’s time to add the pupil and highlight. These two elements play a crucial role in bringing your eye drawing to life. The pupil represents the dark center of the eye, while the highlight adds a touch of realism and captures the reflection of light.

Start by drawing the highlight, which is a small, bright spot on the surface of the eye. This is usually located towards the top or bottom of the eye, depending on the direction of the light source. Use a lighter pencil or an eraser to create this highlight, ensuring it stands out against the surrounding tones.

drawing the pupil and highlight

Next, draw the pupil directly underneath the highlight. Use a dark pencil, such as a 6B or 8B, to fill in the pupil. Take your time and apply the pencil with light pressure at first, gradually building up the darkness to achieve a deep black color. The size and shape of the pupil may vary depending on the desired effect and the lighting conditions.

Remember, the pupil and highlight are essential elements that add depth and dimension to your eye drawing. By carefully placing the highlight and filling in the pupil with precision, you can create a realistic and captivating eye.

Step 4: Fill in the Pupil

Now that you have outlined the eye and added the highlight, it’s time to fill in the pupil. This is where you’ll bring depth and realism to your drawing.

Grab a dark pencil, like a 6B or 8B, and gently apply it to the inner circle of the eye. Start with light strokes, gradually building up the darkness. The goal is to achieve a deep black color that creates contrast with the rest of the drawing, making the eye stand out.

To create a more realistic effect, consider using shading techniques to add dimension to the pupil. Start by shading lightly around the edges of the pupil, gradually darkening towards the center. This technique mimics the natural reflections and variations in color that are present in a real eye.

Take your time and observe reference images or real eyes to guide your shading. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to experiment and refine your technique.

In the example below, you can see the gradual darkening of the pupil using shading techniques:

shading techniques for eye drawing

As you can see, the deep black color and shading bring the pupil to life, adding a sense of depth and realism to the eye drawing. This technique is crucial for capturing the intricate details of the eye and making your drawing truly stand out.

Step 5: Upper and Lower Eyelid

In order to achieve a realistic eye drawing, it is important to accurately portray the upper and lower eyelids. This step involves drawing the crease of the upper eyelid and defining the line underneath the eye, which is known as the lower eyelid.

Pay close attention to the natural curves and folds of the eyelid, as they play a significant role in capturing the lifelike appearance of the eye. By carefully observing the anatomy of the eye, you can enhance the realism of your drawing.

drawing upper and lower eyelid

One useful tip for drawing the upper eyelid is to begin with a light outline, following the shape of the eye. Then, add depth by shading the area underneath the crease, using light strokes to create a gradual transition.

Similarly, for the lower eyelid, start by drawing a smooth curved line along the bottom of the eye. This line should follow the natural curve of the eye, and you can add slight variations to suggest the presence of eyelashes or fine wrinkles.

Remember, attention to detail is key in achieving a lifelike eye drawing. By accurately representing the upper and lower eyelids, you will bring depth and dimension to your artwork.

Step 6: Begin Drawing the Eyelashes

Now that we have outlined the eye and added the basic details, it’s time to bring the eye to life with beautiful eyelashes. Drawing the eyelashes can give your eye drawing that final touch of realism and add depth to the overall composition.

To start, sketch a few individual lashes along the upper and lower eyelid. Use short, gentle strokes with a pencil to create thin and delicate lashes. This initial sketch will serve as the foundation for adding larger clumps of lashes later on.

Keep in mind that the direction and curvature of the lashes can vary depending on the desired look. Some lashes may point outward, while others may curve slightly inward. Take a close look at reference images or observe real eyes to understand how eyelashes naturally grow and follow the contour of the eye.

Remember to consider the length of the lashes as well. Depending on the style you’re aiming for, you can make the lashes longer or shorter. Longer lashes tend to create a more dramatic and glamorous look, while shorter lashes can give a softer and more natural appearance.

Pay attention to the spacing between the lashes as well. Avoid making them too uniform or evenly spaced, as this can make the drawing look less realistic. Instead, vary the distance between lashes to mimic the natural pattern of eyelashes.

Take your time during this step and add as many lashes as you’d like to achieve the desired effect. It’s okay if they overlap or have slight variations in thickness; this will only enhance the natural look of the eye.

Refer to the sketch below for visual guidance on how to draw eyelashes:

drawing eyelashes

Step 7: Darken a Few Things Up

To add depth and definition to your eye drawing, it’s time to darken certain areas. By selectively shading specific regions such as the inner circle, outline of the eye, and a line in the inner corner, you can bring your drawing to life. For this step, it’s recommended to use a darker pencil to achieve the desired effect.

Start by shading the inner circle of the eye, gradually building up the darkness. This will create a sense of depth within the iris, making it appear more realistic. Be mindful of the light source and consider where the shadows would naturally fall.

Next, focus on darkening the outline of the eye. This will give it a more defined and three-dimensional appearance. Use light, gentle strokes to gradually darken the lines and create a subtle gradient effect.

Finally, add a line in the inner corner of the eye, using the same darker pencil. This detail helps to enhance the overall shape and structure of the eye, adding another level of realism to your drawing.

Remember to take your time and build up the darkness gradually to achieve a natural look. Pay attention to the reference image and observe how the shadows and highlights interact to create depth and form. With each stroke, your eye drawing will become more detailed and captivating.

darkening eye drawing

Key areas to darken:

  • Inner circle of the eye
  • Outline of the eye
  • Line in the inner corner
Step Actions
1 Shade the inner circle of the eye
2 Darken the outline of the eye
3 Add a line in the inner corner of the eye

Step 8: Lines and Lashes

To further enhance the realism of your eye drawing, it’s time to add more lines and lashes inside the inner circle of the eye. This step will bring texture and dimension to your artwork.

Using light and delicate strokes, carefully draw additional lines within the inner circle. These lines will mimic the fine details and contours of the eye, making it appear more lifelike. Pay attention to the natural curvature and direction of the lashes to create a natural and realistic look.

Remember, each individual lash doesn’t have to be drawn meticulously. Instead, focus on capturing the overall shape and thickness of the lashes. Lightly sketch the outlines of larger clumps of lashes, and gradually fill them in as needed.

enhancing eye drawing

Take your time with this step, as precision and attention to detail are key. Use the tip of your pencil or a fine liner brush to create the thin, wispy lines that characterize lashes. Vary the length and thickness of the lashes to add variety and depth to your drawing.

By adding lines and lashes, you’ll bring your eye drawing to life, making it more captivating and realistic. Continue this process until you’re satisfied with the final result.

Step 9: Adding Some Depth

Now that you have outlined the shape, added the pupil and highlight, and defined the eyelids and lashes, it’s time to bring your eye drawing to life by adding depth. Creating depth in your eye drawing will make it appear more realistic and three-dimensional. One effective way to achieve this is through shading techniques.

Start by shading the inner and outer edges of the inner circle of the eye using a darker pencil. Focus on the areas where shadows naturally fall, such as the creases and corners of the eye. By shading these areas, you can create the illusion of depth and roundness.

Consider the lighting conditions in your drawing and imagine where the light source is coming from. This will help you determine which areas of the eye should be shaded darker to create realistic shadows and highlights. Take your time and use light, gentle strokes to gradually build up the shading.

Remember to pay attention to the details and variations in shading to add dimension and depth to your eye drawing. This will make your eye look more realistic and captivating.

shading techniques for eye drawing

Shading Techniques Description
1. Hatching Creating parallel lines to represent shadows and shading.
2. Cross-Hatching Using crossing lines to create shading and texture.
3. Stippling Applying small dots or stippled marks to gradually build up shading.
4. Blending Using blending tools or your fingertip to soften and blend the shading for a smoother appearance.
5. Smudging Using a blending stump, tortillon, or your fingertip to smudge and soften the shading.


Congratulations on completing this eye drawing tutorial! By following the step-by-step instructions and incorporating helpful tips, you have learned how to draw a realistic eye. But your journey doesn’t end here. To truly bring your drawing to life, don’t forget to add the final touches.

Take your time to carefully shade the corners of the eye and the eyelids. This will add depth and dimension, making your drawing look more realistic. Remember, practice makes perfect, so keep honing your skills and don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques.

With dedication and perseverance, you will be able to create eyes that are full of life and expression. So grab your pencils, continue practicing, and enjoy the wonderful world of eye drawing. Happy drawing!


How can I draw a realistic eye?

To draw a realistic eye, start by outlining the shape of the eye using an almond shape. Then draw the inner circle to represent the iris and pupil. Add a highlight and fill in the pupil using a dark pencil. Define the upper and lower eyelids, and sketch the eyelashes. Darken certain areas of the eye to add depth, and continue adding more lashes and lines inside the inner circle. Finally, shade the inner and outer edge of the eye to create roundness and depth.

What tools should I use for drawing an eye?

For drawing an eye, you can use various tools such as pencils (6B or 8B for darker areas), erasers, and colored pencils. It’s important to have a range of pencils with different hardness to achieve different shades and textures. Additionally, you may find it helpful to have a blending tool or cotton swabs for blending and smoothing out the shading.

How can I make my eye drawing look more realistic?

To make your eye drawing look more realistic, pay attention to details and proportions. Study the anatomy of the eye and observe real eyes to understand the natural curves and folds of the eyelids. Use shading techniques to add depth and dimension. Experiment with different pencils and techniques to achieve realistic textures and highlights.

Are there any recommended tutorials for digital eye drawing?

Yes, there are various digital eye drawing tutorials available online. You can search for tutorials on platforms like YouTube or websites that specialize in digital art tutorials. These tutorials often provide step-by-step instructions and tips specific to drawing eyes digitally using software and digital drawing tools.

How can I color the eye realistically?

Coloring the eye realistically requires attention to detail and understanding of color theory. Start by filling in the iris with a base color, then gradually add layers of darker and lighter shades to create depth and realism. Pay attention to the reflections and shadows in the eye. Consider using colored pencils or digital painting techniques to achieve realistic colors and textures.

Do I need to have artistic talent to draw a realistic eye?

While having artistic talent can be beneficial, anyone can learn to draw a realistic eye with practice and perseverance. Drawing is a skill that can be developed with time and effort. Start with simple shapes and gradually build your skills by studying and practicing different techniques. With patience and practice, you can improve your eye drawing abilities.

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