How To Draw a Realistic Eye From the Side with Pencil

How To Draw a Realistic Eye From the Side with this how-to video and step-by-step drawing instructions. Pencil drawings for beginners and eveyone.

How To Draw a Realistic Eye From the Side

Please see the drawing tutorial in the video below

  Nina Blangstrup

You can refer to the simple step-by-step drawing guide below

Step 1: draw eyeballs

Lightly draw or draw a circle for the eyeball. It doesn’t have to be perfect as we will use it minimally while building our eyes and then remove it altogether. In case you were wondering, my circle is 6cm in diameter.

Step 2: draw the cornea

Draw a small bump or cornea in the direction you want the eye to face. I want to face the right side, so I’m going to draw my cornea from the right side. In terms of size, the length of the cornea is roughly half the diameter of the eyeball (or the length of the radius).

Step 3: draw the iris and the pupil

Now draw the iris creating a curve tangent to the upper and lower parts of the cornea. Make sure your work is light so you can make changes easily.
Remove the part of the eyeball that crosses the iris/cornea. Then, inside the iris, draw a narrow oval for the pupil.

Step 4: Draw the eyelids

Now let’s draw the eyelids. Starting from the center of the eyeball, gently draw a curved line for the upper eyelid. It can partially cover your iris or fully expose it, then wrap the eyelid around the other side of your eyeball.
To draw the lower eyelid, create a curved line where the eyelids meet, then continue sweeping down the iris.
An example of a narrow eye (The iris is more exposed at the bottom than the top. Normally when we open our eyes, the iris is most exposed at the bottom, not the top.) So if you want to draw a narrow eye, keep this in mind: okay, move on! Just above the upper eyelid, draw the crease of the eyelid.
You can use the eyelid shape as a reference or draw a crease with a more unique shape. Connect this pencil line to your upper lash line using a slight curve.
To finish the bottom flap, I draw an almost straight line down, but you can angle it outward or inward if you want. You can add wrinkles to the corners of your eyes or the tips of your eyelids if you wish. An example of a protruding eye.
Tip: If you roll the eyelid skin very close to the eyeball, you can create a bulging eye effect: Once done, erase the circular guide and the parts of the iris that are out of the line of sight .

Step 5: Position the eyebrows

Now let’s see where to put the eyebrows. Lines from left to right: tail, arch and top of the eyebrows.
Draw a very thin line at the tip of your eye, another line from the edge of the cornea, then a perpendicular line away from the eye, similar to the image above.
They are for the tail, the arch and the tips of the eyebrows. Eyebrows come in all shapes and sizes, so don’t worry too much about this part. These are only rudimentary instructions.
Now that we have 3 guides, we can draw our eyebrows more easily – use them as rough paths/boundaries. You can draw your eyebrows lower or higher than mine if you want, and you can draw as thick as you want.
Keep your pencil strokes extremely light so your outline doesn’t come out later – This will take away from the realistic effect we’re looking for. When you are satisfied with the shape of your eyebrows, remove the 3 rules above. We’ll add the eyebrows later!

Step 6: Draw the highlight / reflection

Let’s add some highlights in the eyes. Highlights are the lightest areas of the drawing. The highlight can come from a nearby window or any light source.
Here are some sample shapes: These shapes are all curved because the eyeball is curved, so a rectangular window, for example, might look like a C-shape.
You can create your own shapes and stretch them over the eyeball, covering as much or as little space as you want. If you wish, you can add accent obstacles, such as the silhouette of a person standing in front of the window or curtains.
You can even create a gradient on your highlights to show the difference in light intensity. Anyway, once your highlights are drawn, erase all the lines that cross them, clean them up. I like to use my kneaded eraser for this, rolling the end until it’s pointy, then pulling out the graphite.
Here’s a close-up: you can even flatten your eraser to work at an angle: during the drawing process, try to keep the highlights as clean as possible so they can stand out.

Step 7: Shade the pupils

Time for some shade! Let’s start with the pupil, shade it very dark, since it’s actually a hole in the iris.

Step 8: Shade the iris

Next, we are going to shade the iris. Remember to be very careful around the highlights as we want to keep their edges sharp. You can make the shadow as light or dark as you want without darkening the pupil.
I recommend blending the iris now, using a paper towel or a blending stump for example, to make it smoother before moving on to the next step, or you can skip blending if you wish.
I combine all my drawing at the end to keep the Youtube video short. But I highly recommend blending as you go because it’s much easier that way and you can avoid messing up your work in the process.

I shade the light values, blend them, then add shadows, I try to blend only the shadows so I don’t spill the darker graphite into the lighter areas. Then finally I add details. If I need to blend after the details have been added, I blend around them, being very careful not to blur or smudge my detail work.
My imaginary light source is coming from the top right, so I’m making the top of the iris darker because the shape of the iris is recessed, so the top of the iris is actually facing the light, while the lower part of the iris points towards the light.
As I go up, I apply less and less pressure to achieve a gradient, as the concave shape of the iris begins to curve / towards the light.
Alternatively, you can shade the upper part of the iris even more to create a shadow from the eyelid.
What I like to do is make the outline of the iris darker than the body of the iris to create more contrast, but that’s entirely up to you.
The big highlight is too strong for my taste, so I’m going to make it more subtle by painting a gradient over it, making it dark at the bottom and lighter at the top, like my example showed you earlier:
When you’re done shading the iris, make sure the outline of each highlight is no longer visible. If it remains, you may need to erase it a bit or paint the surrounding area a bit darker to make it blend in/disappear.
Alright, this is the quick and easy version for shading the iris. If you want more details, you can apply the following steps…

Step 9: More detailed version of Iris

This part is optional, but to make the iris more interesting you can add some small details like lines extending outward from the center. Use your pencil and eraser to draw these lines.
If you want to draw straight lines, you can flatten your kneaded eraser, then simply press and lift the graphite or lightly rub it. If you curve your lines closer to the pupil (the hole inside the iris), you can make the iris look more 3D.
Try slanting or randomly spacing some of your lines and changing the thickness to make them look more natural. An example of a meandering line. You can use a kneading eraser or a solid eraser for this. You can draw doodle shapes instead if you want.
I’m drawing this example on the same iris, but I would recommend going with just one style or merging the two. An eraser will definitely work too, just make sure it’s sharp enough. You can cut the eraser to make it as neat as you want. Also suitable for overlapping squares.
Next, use a pencil to darken some of the spaces between your squares to add depth and contrast. These lines and squares are both part of the iris, so we’ll need to shade them the same way we shaded the iris before adding them. Remember we shaded the top part of the iris? I do it again, except this time, lighter.
Oh, and shade the outside of your pupil if you want the area to appear deeper. Anyway, this is the detailed version of the iris. Of course, you can stick with the simplified version.

Step 10: Blend the whites of the eyes

Now polish the whites of the eyes. They’re called the whites of the eyes, but they’re not exactly white, so don’t be afraid to shade them in.
Refer to your light source (mine is top right) – Shade the eyeball lightest where it faces the light and darkest where it faces the light.
For very smooth shading, try to keep the pencil strokes close together to eliminate gaps.

Step 11: Shade the rest of the skin

Let’s paint the rest of the skin, then we’ll move on to the eyelashes.
Starting at the crease of the eyelid, I will lighten as I move away from it (as the skin curves and turns towards the light).
Tip: If your outline is still visible after shading around your eyes, try lightening them or darkening your shadows until the outline disappears.
To shade the brow area, I’ll go back to the top right light source and figure out which areas of the skin are directly facing the light and which are facing it.
I color the right part of the eyebrow lighter than the left because it faces the light directly.
You can shade the brow area, but you want to set any brow shape you like.

Step 12: Shade the rest of the skin

Let’s paint the rest of the skin, then we’ll move on to the eyelashes. Starting at the crease of the eyelid, I will lighten as I move away from it (as the skin curves and turns towards the light).
Tip: If your outline is still visible after shading around your eyes, try lightening them or darkening your shadows until the outline disappears.
To shade the brow area, I’ll go back to the top right light source and figure out which areas of the skin are directly facing the light and which are facing it.
I color the right part of the eyebrow lighter than the left because it faces the light directly. You can shade the brow area, but you want to set any brow shape you like.

Step 13: Draw the eyelashes

Alright, time to hook up. But before painting hair, I suggest you mix your shadow mode now because it will be quite difficult to mix all the individual lashes.
To draw eyelashes, we first need to sharpen the pencil. I work with a mechanical pencil, so it’s pretty sharp already. Practice drawing your eyelashes until your strokes become fairly consistent. Your eyelashes may curl more or less. Just make sure the ends of the lashes are tapered.
You can use strobe motion to achieve this effect. If you have trouble drawing smooth curves, rotating your sketchbook can help. Let’s start with the upper eyelid, creating eyelashes that grow from the lower edge.
Tip: Avoid drawing too many eyelashes parallel to each other. If you gather them together, you can create lashes that look more natural and less structured: There are several things you can do to make your lashes more unique and random. Like changing the length, distance or number of curves.
Keep doing this until you reach the corner of your eye. Eyelashes near the corner of the eye are usually shorter, thinner and therefore appear lighter. Don’t forget to add a few lashes along the other (far) side of the eyelid. Moving on to the bottom cap, dust the lashes along the ridge we created earlier (put them in a random zig-zag pattern).
I like to draw these lashes much shorter and wider than the top lashes. You can paint lighter than mine if you want a more subtle look.
Again, avoid obvious stereotypes. You can draw the eyelashes yourself, join them at the ends or cross them. You can also change the spacing, length and thickness of your hair. Don’t forget to pull the lashes along the other (far) side of the eyelid 🙂

Step 14: Draw the eyebrows

Once you’re satisfied, it’s time to work on the brows. The hair growth pattern seems confusing, but let’s analyze it. We can draw a line across the eyebrow to separate it into two areas. I drew a line from the top right to the leftmost. This line is different for everyone because there are so many different eyebrow styles. In zone 1 (lower part), we will pull the hairs upwards, then when we do the left side, they will point more towards the tail of the eyebrows. In zone 2 (upper part), the hairs are mainly directed towards the tail of the eyebrow. When the hairs of the two areas meet, I prefer to glue them together instead of crossing them, but you can do whatever you want. Draw a line through the eyebrows to separate the 2 areas. Alright, let’s draw a blurry line for our eyebrows to separate the 2 areas using short, disconnected pencil strokes because we don’t want the line to come out at the end. Then, with light strokes, roughly draw the hairs in area 1 while staying within the boundary.

Step 15: Wet your eyes

To prevent the eyes from getting wet, we can add water along the bottom of the eyeball. Take your solid or pointed eraser, flatten it and erase a thin space along the eyeball where it meets the lower eyelid. If the water flow does not show up well, shade around it a little. The (increased) contrast will highlight it. Or you can use a white gel pen or correction fluid to introduce some bright white value.

Step 16: Mix your eye designs

If you’ve been blending your drawing throughout the tutorial or aren’t interested in blending, feel free to skip the section on how to make the drawing stand out. Make sure your shadow is as smooth as possible.
Ok, before blending we need to make sure our shadows are as smooth as possible, this means there are no gaps between our strokes and all speckle areas are minimized to the best possible level .
Before and after blending with a paper towel and strain blending. Blend one part of your eye at a time, using a clean blending stub, tissue paper, a pointed tip, or a fine-bristle brush (depending on your preference). I like to blend the highlights with the shadows to avoid unwanted spots. In large areas of the drawing, I wrapped the fabric around my finger and gently stroked it from the lightest to the darkest areas. Blend as much as possible until the drawing becomes nice and smooth.
Be very careful when blending details around a job like eyelashes and eyebrows, being careful not to blur/smudge them. A blending tool with a pointed tip like a blending stump will work well for getting into tight spaces, blending exactly where you want it. But you can also use a folded tissue: carefully blend around the lashes with a pointed-tip blending tool (I used a folded tissue). As you blend, follow the direction of each lash, being careful not to smudge them. If you’re using paper towels and need to get into a tight spot, fold your fabric using fewer layers, pull it tight, or you can blur the area with a pencil. sharp, essentially filling in white spots or grooves on the surface of the paper. When the handkerchief gets too dirty, fold it using a clean place or just rotate it to a cleaner place.
Tip: You can remove excess graphite with a lightly kneaded gouache eraser (find out how to make this eraser here). Here is how I removed the speckled areas to make the drawing smoother. Areas that don’t have enough graphite can be filled in with the dirty blend tool (which also blends the drawing at the same time).
Ok, note! So we covered that earlier, but if you still have a visible border around the cornea and you can’t remove it because it looks weird without the border, you can make it blend in by shading the skin just outside just enough to make the outline disappear. Now the edge of the cornea is no longer visible because it has merged with the background.

Step 17: Bring out the designs

If your drawing doesn’t stand out enough, try cleaning up the shiniest parts of each highlight or use a white gel pen/correction fluid to make the highlights crisp white.
You can also shade the darker areas of your drawing even more. Or you can add more detail to the iris to make it stand out more, like in the example I showed earlier (in the section called “More detailed version of the iris”).
I also tracked and blended more to make the drawing smoother.

Step 18: Additional Tips

If you want to draw small wrinkles in the skin like I did here along the upper eyelid, squeeze your kneaded eraser flat then press gently along the eyelid, removing a very small amount of charcoal. conduct. Arrange them randomly and change the angle. I hope this guide was helpful to you! If you have any questions, leave them below. If you haven’t seen the YT guide, you can click here to see it. I hope you are all staying safe and doing well. Thank you for your visit!

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