How to draw and shade a realistic eye

Eyes are one of the most problematic areas for many artists. A well done eye can make your subject look lifelike and alluring. On the other hand, if you make a mistake on the eyes, viewers will know there is something wrong even if they can’t pinpoint the problem. Still, eyes don’t have to be difficult and since you can’t avoid them, it’s best to tackle them head on.

  1. One of the first rules to remember is that the eye ball is round. The reason this is important is the placement of the pupil. It is centered in the eye. Extend the eyelids past the curve of the eyeball.
  2. When drawing the pupil, make it slightly larger. We respond favorably to a dilated pupil. Start with a shadow from the eyelid onto the upper eye.
  3. After establishing the upper shadow, color in the iris radiating outward from the pupil. Extend the shadow across the entire eye.
  4. Using an eraser, lift the highlights in the eye. Curve them slightly as the eye curves. Cut across into the pupil. Eyelashes are little commas. Finally, lift an area at the bottom of the iris to allow for reflected light.

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