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In anime, eyes are one of the things that set characters apart from each other, and give them individuality. By using different shapes of eyes, and adjusting the angle, we can change the whole personality of a character and how they are perceived.
Let’s take a look at how eyes are made up, how eyes have changed over the years, and how to draw eyes in the most popular modern style.
How are anime eyes put together?
For girls eyes, we generally want to use a rounded shape. Using more lashes will make the character look more grown up, and adapting the size of the highlights can make the character look more full of life! In general, the larger the highlight in comparison to the iris, the more lively the character’s eyes will look.
How to draw eyelashes
When drawing eyelashes, make sure to follow the rules on the image above. We want the lashes to look less curled in the centre, and shorter and more curled as we move to the outer sides.
How anime eyes have changed over the years
Anime trends, just like makeup and fashion trends, change over the years. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, a large, oval shaped pupil was the popular style. We usually saw a very clear line for the bottom lash-line, and many long lashes on the top lash-line. In the 80’s in particular, artists preferred to draw more grown-up looking women.
Flash forward to the 2010’s and the present day – we see a much more childlike style being favoured by most artists. The pupil is much rounder and smaller, and there are fewer lashes drawn in on the top lash-line. The bottom lash-line is often omitted entirely, to make for a more wide-eyed “cute” appearance.
Typical girls’ eyes
When an artist isn’t looking to bring out any specific personality types in their character, and they just want a regular, bright and cheerful character, this is the style they will often go for.
Upper eyelid ・・・ A large arc with the centre of the pupil as the apex of the circle. The line showing the outer corner of the eye should come below the centre point of the pupil.
Lower eyelid・・・A gentle U-shape with the centre of the pupil at the apex of the curve. When omitting the lower eyelid, there should simply be a short, straight line parallel to the bottom of the iris.
Shape of the iris ・・・A large, rounded pupil, following the shape of the arch of the upper lashes
1. Mark in the shape of the iris, and the centre point of the iris. Deciding on the placement of the bottom lash-line at this point is good too.
2/3. Draw in the top lash-line, first drawing the left side in, up to the apex of the curve, and then drawing the rest, curving downwards to the right. Then add in the line for the outer corner of the eye. Make sure to draw this line at an angle that would make it comfortably join up with the bottom lash-line if you chose to draw in the whole line.
4. Clean up the linework, and add in a highlight of two to finish the eye!
How eyes look from different angles
Remember that the eyes will look different depending on the angle from which you draw, so be sure to use plenty of guidelines to help you out with the perspective!
In part 2, we’ll be looking at the two main “types” of eyes – cat style upward turned eyes, and droopy downward turned eyes.. Drawing Girl’s Eyes: Part 2
Remember, we go over all of this and more in our drawing courses over at Anime Art Academy, where you can get personal advice on your work too! Be sure to check it out!