Eye Drawing: Proportions and Shapes

The eyes are the window to the soul, or so the saying goes. Learning good techniques for eye drawing is an important skill. The eyes of your character can show a lot of emotion to the reader. Start with learning the basic proportions and shapes and practice those. Then you can jump into drawing full ranges of expression.

To help with those techniques, enjoy this free eye drawing demo from Learn to Draw Action Heroes.

Eye Drawing: Proportions

When drawing eyes you must start with the basic forms. When you learn to compare them to other objects and techniques you’ve memorized, they become much easier to reconstruct. It’s quicker as well.

Eye drawing | how to draw an eye | comic eye | eye proportions | eye shapes

Iris Measurement
Notice that the iris part of the eyes is about one third the width of the overall eye. This can vary greatly in comics because of style, but proportions like this will help to keep your drawings consistent if you know what to look for.

Eye drawing | how to draw an eye | comic eye | eye proportions | eye shapes

Showing Expression
Notice how the eye has an expression of fear or excitement. This is because we are leaving white on both sides of the iris as well as making the pupil smaller. Small changes like this have a big effect on the look and expression of your characters.

Constructing a Rounded Eye

Eye drawing | how to draw an eye | comic eye | eye proportions | eye shapes

Try an exercise where you place the iris on the spherical shape of the eye. Draw a circle with two ovals to create a dimensional effect. Where the two inside circles meet at the lower right will be the placement for the iris. This is a drawing you should practice often. It comes in handy for various things in comics and drawing in general.

Draw the iris over the point you marked. From this angle the iris and the pupil will appear to be a bit more oval in shape. This shaping is something you have to learn to see in your drawings to make them appear realistic to the viewer.

Now draw the rest of the eye around the iris. Try to make the shapes curve with the sphere. Notice that the eye tapers away from the viewer at this angle. Practice this method often and you will soon get the hang of it. Eye promise!

Eye Drawing: Step-By-Step

1: Define the Shape
When drawing eyes, think of a dove’s head with the back of the head being higher than the beak area. Eyes are not level so you have to tilt the shapes a bit. To draw the eyebrow, start off thicker in beginning and the middle brow area and taper it toward the outer portion of the eye.

2: Darken the Edges of the Eye
To darken the edges you basically start to add eyeliner. Then define a shape for the top and bottom eyelid. There are a multitude of eye shapes, so feel free to experiment when creating a character’s eyes.

3: Draw the Iris
The iris is generally one third of the horizontal distance of the eye. This varies greatly in comics and cartoon styles. Just remember that the smaller the pupil, the more you can show fear, anger or excitement!

Eye drawing | how to draw an eye | comic eye

4: Draw the Lashes and Fill the Iris
With all the base shapes in place, you can now create more detail in the eyelashes. It is good to keep them pretty solid for comics, but a few small eyelash tips won’t hurt. Just don’t over do it. Draw in the glint of the eye. You can also give it contrast by shading the iris a bit.

Eye drawing | how to draw an eye | comic eye

5: Render the Eye
Solidify the lines and add crosshatching to help round the forms. Remember that the eyes are compound rounded shapes, so do your best to illustrate that with your shading.


You can find more eye drawing, figure drawing and costume drawing tutorials in Learn to Draw Action Heroes by Robert Marzullo, now available for pre-order on Amazon, the North Light Shop and Barnes and Noble!


IMPACT Facebook page  IMPACT Twitter  IMPACT Instagram
IMPACT Tumblr  IMPACT Pinterest IMPACT YouTube