This tutorial shows how to draw anime or manga style eyes with a normal expression. It consists of eight illustrated steps and a line by line drawing video.
If you are interested in learning to draw in the anime and manga style the eyes are a good place to start as they are one of it’s most defining characteristics. This tutorial provides a very simple step by step guide to drawing anime eyes. It can be especially helpful for beginners interested in learning the style.
The eyes in the example are shown in their normal/relaxed state that is not intended to convey any particular emotions. This example also acts as the basis for all the other anime eye drawing tutorials in this series. These include the following:
- How to Draw Excited Anime or Manga Eyes
- How to Draw Sad Anime & Manga Eyes
- How to Draw Happy Anime or Manga Eyes
- How to Draw Scared Anime or Manga Eyes
- How to Draw Angry Anime or Manga Eyes (8 Steps)
- How to Draw Surprised Anime or Manga Eyes
- How to Draw Bored Anime or Manga Eyes
It’s recommended that you start the tutorial in pencils and make light and easy to erase lines (unless drawing digitally). You can darken them later on (before shading).
Above is the line by line drawing video for this particular pair of eyes. You can watch it and then read the more detailed instructions and explanations below.
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Step 1 – Draw the Outline of the Eyes
Begin the drawing with the outer shape of each eye. Define the top, side and bottom of each eye with curved lines. Leave the inner ends open (as is common for the anime and manga style).
Space the eyes in a way where the distance between them is roughly equal to the width of one eye.
Step 2 – Outline the Eyelashes
Outline the eyelashes by adding another pair of curved lines to each eye. As these are anime eyes the eyelashes are highly simplified but there will be a little more detail added to them in a later step.
Step 3 – Draw the Irises
Anime and manga eyes often have oval irises (as in this example). For a neutral expression draw a good portion of their tops covered by the top eyelids and their bottoms just slightly touching the bottom eyelids.
Also be sure to draw the irises fairly large in relation to the eyes. This will give them a more friendly appearance.
Step 4 – Draw the Eyebrows
Add the eyebrows by placing them just a little bit above the eyes and make them slightly thicker towards their inner ends.
For a normal/relaxed expression draw the eyebrows in smooth curves where neither end is much higher or lower than the other.
For drawing different types of eyebrows see:
Step 5 – Draw the Inner Details
Inside each iris draw an oval pupil (same shape as the iris but smaller) and a pair of reflections. The number of reflections that eyes have generally depends on the number of light sources surrounding them. For a generic setting though two is usually a good amount to go with (a large and small one).
Step 6 – Draw the Eyelids
Similar to the eyelashes anime eyelids are also generally highly simplified. You can give just a hint of each eyelid by drawing a small curve near the inner end of each eye.
Step 7 – Add Hints of Individual Lashes
After you’ve drawn out all parts of the eyes listed in the previous steps you can give them just a little more detail by adding some hints of individual lashes. Place these near the upper/outer ends of each eye. You can optionally add more lashes if you like or not draw any at all.
Step 8 – Darken & Shade the Excited Eyes Drawing
To finish the drawing give the eyes some very basic anime/cartoon style shading. This is known as “Cel” shading or shading without gradients.
To do this fill the eyebrows, eyelashes, upper parts of the irises and pupils with black (or dark pencil shading). Make the remaining portions of the irises grey or color them (if you prefer a colored drawing instead).
As mentioned at the start of the tutorial, drawing anime or manga eyes can be a good way to get into learning the style. Eyes with their normal/relaxed expression are a particularly good starting point as they act as a basis for all of the other expressions.
You can find the links to drawing the other expressions for this pair of eyes at the start of this tutorial. For other similar drawing guides see the following:
- How to Draw an Anime Face (Structure & Proportions)
- How to Draw Anime “Hime Cut” Hairstyle
- How to Draw an Anime Little Girl (Entire Body)