Mastering the Art of Drawing Anime Eyes: A Comprehensive, Step-by-Step Guide


Visual storytelling carries a profound resonance in the world of Japanese animation or ‘anime’. Of all the elements in an anime character, eyes are undoubtedly the most expressive. This ensemble piece aims to demystify the process of drawing anime eyes step by step. With over 3000 words filled with valuable insights, this resource-packed guide will get you sketching anime eyes like a pro in no time.

Understanding the Anatomy of Anime Eyes

Before jumping into the art, it is crucial to understand the intricacies of anime eye anatomy. Anime eyes are often more detailed and expressive than the rest of the face. They usually consist of four main elements:

  • The Upper Eyelid Line: The defining line that shapes the eye.
  • The Iris: The colorful portion of the eye that dilates and contracts with light.
  • The Pupil: The small black circle within the iris.
  • Eye Highlight: The small white dot or dash indicating reflection of light off the eye’s surface.

Beginning the Anime Eye Drawing Process: Outlining the Eye

Step 1: Draw the Upper Eyelid Line
Start with a downward curve for the top line of the eye. Remember, the line’s shape will change according to your character’s emotions. So, choose your line appropriately – sharp for an intense look or smooth for calm expressions.

Step 2: Draw the Lower Eyelid Line
Next, draw a slightly upward curve just below the first line. The lower line should be a mirror image of the upper eyelid line, forming a crude, elongated almond shape.

Adding Depth and Details: The Iris and Pupil

Step 3: Draw the Iris
On the lower half of your outline, sketch a big circle touching the upper eyelid line. Don’t worry about keeping it too round; a slightly squashed circle enhances the anime look.

Step 4: Draw the Pupil
Inside the iris, draw a smaller circle for the pupil. Position it so that it’s slightly covered by the upper eyelid line, adding a semi-realistic touch to your drawing.

Breathing Life into Anime Eyes: Highlights and Shadows

Step 5: Add the Highlights
Adding highlights gives that glossy, lively look to the anime eyes. Depending on the light source, place a couple of small circles — one larger, one smaller — at opposite ends of the iris.

Step 6: Add Shadows
Shading the correct areas brings an extra dimension to your drawing. Shadows should be darkest along the upper line and beneath the bottom eyelashes.

Final Touches: Eyelashes and Eyebrows

Step 7: Drawing Eyelashes
Draw tiny lines extending from the upper and lower eyelid lines to depict eyelashes. Keeping them short and pointed for male characters and long and curved for female characters will enhance the gender distinction.

Step 8: Drawing Eyebrows
Finally, draw a thin, curvy line above the eye for the eyebrow. Pay attention to its shape and thickness as they can convey a wide range of emotions.

Experimenting with Different Styles of Anime Eyes

Once you master the basic anime eye, experiment with different styles. Every anime eye style conveys different emotions and personalities. Understanding this can add depth to your characters and elevate your storytelling.


Mastering the art of drawing anime eyes step by step is certainly not a single day’s job. Detailed eyes, with their distinct style and emotional depth, add life to your characters. Remember, practice is the key to mastering this beautiful art form, so keep sketching, keep experimenting, and watch as your anime characters begin to take life on paper.

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