When you think of anime and manga, you probably think of that cute and iconic Japanese style of cartooning that has captured the hearts of people all over the world. From magic girls to action heroes, mystery solvers to adventurers, the many anime characters we have come to love were born from the hands of artists.
This detailed, step-by-step guide will equip you with the basic knowledge needed to draw the male anime eyes that you have seen in countless animes, mangas, and illustrations.
Did I mention this guide is also beginner friendly?
VIDEO ART TUTORIAL: If learning from an article isn't your style, check out my in-depth educational video on how to draw male and female anime eyes:
Step 1 - Sketch the basic eye shape.
Draw the basic shape of your eye, a fat oval. This will act as a guideline for the rest of your eye. Keep your pencil pressure relatively light in case of mistakes.
DRAWING TIP: The closer the basic shape is to a circle, the cuter your character will look. I chose to draw a fat circle because I'm going for a more action hero type look!
Step 2 - Draw the lash lines.
Draw slightly curved lines on the top of bottom of your shape. Note how my upper lash line is slanted towards the inner corner of the eye. When upper lash lines slant in, the character looks angrier, or more serious, while slanting outward makes them look innocent, or sad.
DRAWING TIP: The lower lash line is usually shorter than the upper lash line.
Step 3 - Draw a circle for the iris.
Add the circle inside the eye, and notice that my circle is cut off at the top. If your circle is not cut off at the top (bottom or sides) it can make your character look shocked or wide-eyed.
DRAWING TIP: Keep in mind that the larger this circle, the more relaxed or cute your character will look!
Step 4 - Thicken the lash lines.
Don't be afraid to make the upper lash line thick! Also note how the inner corner of lash lines taper off into a point.
Step 5 - Add a triangle to the upper corner.
Add a triangle on the outer corner of the lash line. Make it look like it's about to meet the end of your lower lash line, but don't actually connect them.
Step 6 - Draw the pupil and reflections of the eyes.
Using three circles of varying sizes, draw the pupil (biggest circle) in the middle of the circle you had drawn before, then reflections (two smaller circles). The reflections don't have to be circles -- you can choose to draw different shapes, such as a star, rectangle, or something organic!
Step 7 - Fill in the pupil.
Using a darker pencil, fill in the pupil. Make sure to avoid the reflections in the eye. The pupil should be the darkest part of the eye, along with the lash line (if your character has dark hair).
Step 8 - Shade in the iris with a gradient!
This step is what adds the most depth and interest in the eye, so take your time with it! Using a sharp pencil, apply the most pressure at the top of the eye, and slowly releasing pressure as you make your way down. For a more in-depth explanation of this, go to 6:25 of my instructional video on drawing female and male manga eyes.
Step 9 - Erase the guide lines you drew in step 1.
Step 10 - Shade in the top of the eyeball.
Using light pressure on your pencil, add a shadow on the top of the eyeball to add depth, and create a 3D-like effect.
Step 11 - Add an under eye crease (optional)
Everyone has tear ducts, so feel free to add this small detail under the eye.
Step 12 - Draw an eyelid, and shade it in (optional)
Draw a curved line above the top lash line. This will act as an eyelid crease. Note how the inner corner of my eyelid crease is closer to the lash line than the outer corner. Using a light pressure, shade in the sides of the crease near the inner and outer corner of the eye, avoiding the middle.
DRAWING TIP: The higher an eyelid, the more relaxed or sleepy a character looks.
And... Voila! Your male anime eye drawing is complete! Just draw the other eye with the same instructions, but with the image flipped. I recommend drawing both at the same time to ensure symmetry.
This guide provided you the basic steps and elements of an eye, but feel free to experiment! Try using a circle as your basic shape in step 1, or adding eyelashes. The great thing about anime and manga is the evolution of the art style and freedom of creativity, so I encourage you to take what you learned in this guide and add your own personal twist!