Saturday, 10 November 2012

How to Draw Manga Eyes (Part III)

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How to Draw Manga Eyes

Eyes From Different Angles

The eyes look different when viewed from different angles. As the view shifts from front to the profile view (left to right in the picture above), the eye that is further away slowly disappears behind the nose until you can no longer see it in the profile view.

Generally, both eyes should be drawn with the same height, no matter the angle of viewing. This is true for manga girls eyes.
The drawing below shows the top view of the eyeballs, and how they are placed along the heads curved surface.

The eyeballs are located in the head's eye sockets, which are basically holes along the curved surface of the head. Now because these surfaces are curved, the outline of the eye changes depending on whether they are viewed from the front, or at a low or high angle.

When viewed from a low angle, the line of the eyes slopes downwards on both ends. As a result, the inner corners of both eyes are higher than the eyes' outer corners.

When viewed directly from the front, the eyes form a straight line.

When viewed from a high angle, the line of the eyes slopes upwards on both ends which result in the inner corner of the eye drawn lower than the eyes' outer corners.

The drawings below of a manga girl are an example of how the eyes should be drawn when viewed at from a low angle, normal angle, and high angle.
The guidelines mentioned above apply not only for when the viewing angle is high or low, but also for when your character is drawn looking up or looking down. For example, the low angle can also be used if your character is looking up, and the high angle can also be used for when your character is looking down.

The eyes, eyelids, eyebrows and eyelashes all look different when drawn from various angles. The above drawing of a manga girl shows how her eyes look like from the side, the 3/4 views, and directly from the front. You can refer to the drawing above as a chart of angles if you'd like. Practice this by drawing the eyes from the common angles at first, and later progressing into the more complex, uncommonly used angles. 

Manga Eyes - Side View

The basic shape of a manga eye viewed from the side is the shape of a triangle.
The eyelids cover a curved surface on the eyeball since the eyeball itself is spherical. So when drawing the triangle, draw the sides of the eye slightly curved to suggest to roundness of the eyes.

Below are some variations of the basic triangle shape that can be used to give your manga characters distinct looks. Play around with the triangle by changing the length of its sides, the degree of slant, or even the roundness of the corners.

Also notice that in the third example of the side view of manga eyes above, you don't have to outline the entire triangle of the eye. This however, is up to you to decide on for look of your character.

Closing of the Eyes

You may have notice that in manga it is common to have characters that are drawn with their eyes closed. Drawing characters with their eyes closed is an effective way of portraying a variety of expressions such as cheerfulness, sadness or more. I have even seen some characters that are drawn with their eyes permanently closed all the time.

As the eye closes, the upper eye lids move downwards until it touches the lower eyelid. Notice that the lower eyelid does not move up. The iris slowly get covered by the upper eyelid as it closes down.

The same rule applies when drawing the eyes closed from both the side view and front view.

Notice how the curve of the closed manga eyes affects the emotions of the manga girl above. A downward curve of the eyelids means that they eyes are simply closed, whereas an upward curve shows happiness and joy.

Looking Direction

People normally look straight ahead, and so the iris and pupil will be in the middle of the eyes. To make them look left or right, simply draw the iris towards the direction that you want your character to look at. Remember to do this for both eyes, or your character will look cross eyed.

Where your character is looking at gives an indication of what he's feeling/thinking, so use it appropriately. When your character is looking away, he is possibly shy, looking at his surroundings, or maybe remembering something. Mixing this up with eyebrow positions gives a variety of expressions.

To be continued in Part IV


  1. This is very wel done series, thanks for it.

  2. Wow- am I glad I found you! I don't do much drawing anymore, but I do make angel figurines and have had a hard time getting the look I want with their faces. I usually end up leaving them faceless, sort of 'Willow Tree' style, but occassionally get a request for one with a face and never know quite what to do! Now I have a resource- thank you so much. I so appreciated the time you take to explain some of the more technical aspects of why things are done without getting too complicated. I always love getting an understanding rather than just being told 'copy this!' I will be linking to your blog site when I complete my next angel with a face... that is assuming I can translate this to embroidery satisfactorily!
    ~Cara Louise, www.Heritage

    1. please check out my blog!

  3. great blog! check out mine

  4. Wow. Such a nice tutorial :)

  5. I'll try these out. Thanks!

  6. do you have a how to on winking? that ones really hard :<

    1. scroll up to the part labeled closing of the eyes

  7. I love your Blog!
    Amazing Tutorial!


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