Art Basics - How to Draw Eyes - Bring Your Characters and Drawings to Life! | Jordan Hill | Skillshare

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Art Basics - How to Draw Eyes - Bring Your Characters and Drawings to Life!

teacher avatar Jordan Hill, Illustrator and Storyteller.

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (28m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Eyeballs

    • 3. Top Lid

    • 4. Bottom Lid

    • 5. Eye Crease (or Not)

    • 6. Iris and Pupil

    • 7. Makeup and Eyelashes

    • 8. Eyebrows

    • 9. Varying the Shapes

    • 10. Showing Emotion

    • 11. Outro

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About This Class

They say that eyes are the window to the soul. In illustration, this is especially true.

Whether you are completely new to drawing and have never drawn an eye in your life, or you are simply looking to breathe new life into your characters in the form of different expressions and emotions, this could be the course for you!

In this course, we will go through the step-by-step process I use to draw different types of eyes, as well as a smattering of tips and tricks of the trade that I have found helpful over the years. We will talk about some different eye shapes, touch on some of my favorite methods of drawing eyelashes, and discuss a basic overview overview of how eyes and eyebrows work in combination with each other (and the rest of the face) to create different emotions. 

By the time you have finished this class (and the class project), I hope that you will be equipped with all you need to infuse the eyes of your characters and drawings with more expression than ever before!

Music: - Tomorrow

Meet Your Teacher

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Jordan Hill

Illustrator and Storyteller.


Hi, thanks for visiting! I'm Jordan, and I've been an artist and storyteller all my life.

I've always been intrigued by the arts and the sciences alike, and this curiosity has an impact on the way that I approach my artwork and life in general. The most important thing to me has always and will always be the emotion people get from experiencing my work. I want people to feel something, and I hope that I can help encourage you as well. 

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1. Intro: they say the eyes are the window to the soul. It may be a cliche line, something that you've heard over and over again, but the fact still remains that eyes can make or break a piece of artwork. My name is Jordan. I'm an illustrator and storyteller with a focus on character work and one of things that are very important when you're working with characters are the eyes, eyes, air definitely my favorite part of drawing face as well as the thing that I spend the most time on. If the eyes are drawn correctly, you can really bring a piece toe life and make something that is a two d illustration. Feel riel. Without this expression and emotion in the eyes, your character can feel lifeless or distant, though this may be the look that you want to achieve. Sometimes it's good to know why things look the way that they do, so that you're able to create other effects in this course. I hope that you will learn a little bit about why in the shapes are drawn the way that they're drawn and why understanding that is important. The ultimate goal of this classes to teach you to draw eyes that show what you want them to . We will draw different types of eyes and the emotion in them. Join me in this class and we will bring your characters and pieces toe life. 2. Eyeballs: So one of the most important things to keep in mind when you first start drawing eyes is that they're composed of three dimensional shapes. This may sound kind of straightforward, but it is very easy to forget. I actually talked about this briefly in my class. Art basics. How to draw two D and three D shapes. There's a lot of value and simply recognizing that you're not trying to draw a flat object . And there is a reason that it's called an eyeball and not a nice circle. So typically, when I first start drawing eyes, I'll start with some circles and then build the eye shape around it. I'm also going to draw some lines, intersecting these circles to kind of imply that that's where and Iris, where a pupil would go and E am drawing my circles in pairs so that I have sets of Iet's instead of standalone eyes. Something else to keep in mind is that unless you're trying to draw a cross eyed character or a character with a lazy eye, these angles will be the same or very simple. So just kind of experiment with this draw. A bunch of circles with some lines intersecting them practice different angles, different curved lines that follow the shape and give yourself something to build off. 3. Top Lid: now, as I mentioned in the last video, I typically start drawing eyes with the eyeball because I find it easier to place the rest of the elements. And also, when you're just getting started, it allows you to have a better understanding of what the eye shape is and why it's strong the way that it struck. Personally, I think that half of drawing is understanding, and so that's why I tend to use this method. Our next step is going to be toe. Add the island over top of these eyeballs We're going to cut across right over this circle and how we actually draw this topple. It depends on the type of I that were dry, and there will be more on that later in this course. Typically when you're cutting across, there is going to be a little bit of curve to it. But the angles of do very drastically now, what I don't need to dio is simply draw what you think of as an eye shape. I think a lot of people associate and I with a shape that's very similar to this, and though this can sometimes be the case, this is also a very wide open I, and there's usually going to be a bit more variation than that. Sometimes when people draw eyes, they struggle to draw the other I. It's a very common artist problem, but in my experience this is because they add way too much detail, toe one eye and then have no idea how to copy it on the other side. Instead of doing this, try to draw both eyes at the same time, follow each step on each respective I and I think you will find it quite a bit easier to draw similar eyes. Another thing to mention is that these eyes are much closer together than they would actually be on a human face. A good point of reference for a more realistic drawing is that there is approximately one eye's space between eyes. So if you are to draw your eye this size, there would be this space in between and then that I on the other side and this would be planking in the middle 4. Bottom Lid: Now the bottom lid is going to be armed next. Step again. The angle and curve of this bottom lid varies depending on what type of I that you're drawing. I tend to work from the outside of the eye to the inside, mostly because I leave a space here and you'll see that when I do it. And I find this to be the easiest way to really shape of the I in the way that I want it. And in a similar vein to the top lid, we're just going to cut around the island. And again we're going Teoh, matching the bottom lid on the opposite side to the first side that we true. A tip for attempting to make these lines fairly even is simply to pay attention. Sometimes I can get really caught up in my drawing, and I just kind of mindlessly sketch. And though that could be good for taking pressure off a lot of times it can be confusing because you're not exactly sure which angles you're dropping. Making conscious decisions about where you want to start raising the shape up makes it much easier to match that angle on the other side now to kind of finish this off. I tend to put a little mark where the inside of the I would be instead of completely finishing the lines. And I will be talking more about why I do that later in this course. 5. Eye Crease (or Not): now, depending on the type of I that you're drawing there may or may not be a crease above the upper island. In this example, I am going to add increase just so you know how to do it. But I will be doing some different examples later on as well. This just goes into remembering that not all eyes were the same, and you should definitely experiment with it now. Essentially, this crease is just going to follow the top lid, and it's going to be slightly above where that shape is. Sometimes there is a little why shape where there's a regal and sometimes there's not a lot , of course not shit on the other side and 6. Iris and Pupil: now that we have a base I shape. This is where it gets kind of interesting. This is the part where we add in the iris and people. And with this we can either make our characters look in different directions or give them different emotions, and that is all based on how you draw it. For now, I'm going to do a fairly mutual expression with our character looking straight forward. In a similar vein, Teoh how I left spaces between the corner of the eye and the actual lids. I'm also going to leave some spaces in my iris and people, but this is completely personal preference, and you do not have to do this if you don't want to. In a little tip for drawing the iris is that unless you want your eyes to look scared, make sure that the top of the iris is underneath the top lid instead of an entire circle within the white of the eye, and I will discussing emotion later in this course. Personally, I prefer to draw rather large people's, but that is, again a personal preference and feel free to experiment with it. 7. Makeup and Eyelashes: Now we move on to one of my favorite parts of drawing eyes, and that is makeup slash eyeliner slash eyelashes. This is where you can drastically change the appearance and feeling of the eye, depending on how much you dio I 10 to give my eyes fairly heavy on makeup. But to do something very basic, you might just want to dark in the upper lash a little bit and call it done. However, I'm going to basically do an eyeliner on this I where I give it a wing as well. Typically, I will cut into the I a little bit, may pull it out by drawing a little bit of a triangle shape on the corner, and I might add a smaller stray as well. And this is simply because I, like my characters, told dramatic. But you can completely skipped this stuff if you feel so inclined. A tip for doing eyeliner and just general eye makeup is toe look up actual makeup tutorials or simply search for photos of different eye makeup looks, which will give you some different examples of ways that it could be done. And overall, just have fun with it now I'm going to give you a couple of different ways that you could do eyelashes, but I'm going to do them on the same pair of eyes the first way. But you can imply eyelashes, as opposed to drawing them is to create a kind of scribbling, rough touched. I typically tend to do this on the lower lid, but I have done it on the upper lip as well. A lot of times I personally feel Aziz, though my eyes look overworked. If I draw individual lashes on the bottom, and I have found that this works for me now, the second way is to actually draw the individual lashes. Try for wind variation, if you can. If they're thicker near the base and taper out near the end of the lash, they tend to look a little more realistic. Another tip is to try to keep your lines as loose as possible and work them out toward the edge of the I instead of straight up. Now, lashes take a lot of practice, and for me this was one of the hardest parts of learning how to draw eyes. So ultimately, just be patient with yourself. Sometimes I still have days when I can't draw lashes. Okay. Uh, e also find that if I make the eyelashes smaller As I worked my way toward the inside corner of the eye, it looks a lot better than if they're long all the way across. 8. Eyebrows: the last thing I'm going to show you with this particular set of eyes are not technically the eyes, but they worked very closely with them and that his eyebrows, depending on how you draw your eyebrow, combined with how you draw your eye, you can get drastically different emotions. And so I thought that it would be best for me to cover them. Now I tend to draw eyebrows as three very distinct strokes, as opposed to trying to draw every individual hair. I find it much easier to shape the brown this way, and I also just like the way it looks. The first stroke is going to be the inside of the eyebrow. I tend to dry out a little bit of an angle, but it is more vertical than it is horizontal and and I will just do a little bundle of strokes. I'm gonna turn my paper to make it a little bit easier, and our next stroke is going to be at an angle in this general direction, and our last stroke is where we're going to taper off the eyebrow. So we're going to start where we left off and angle it down on. But that is approximately how I draw eyebrows do the same on the other side. Another thing Teoh mention about eyebrows is that people have different types of eyebrows. Some people have very thin eyebrows. Some people have bushy or thick eyebrows, and I tend to go for a brow that's a little bit thicker. But I do experiment with that and kind of push it a little bit. This can also drastically change the style of your character and can kind of give a little bit of information about them as well. 9. Varying the Shapes: now that we've went over the basic steps of drawing and I This is when we start to bury everything different angles and amounts of curve on both the top and the bottom, Linz will give your characters drastically different looks. One of the things that I like to dio is look up pictures of people and zoom in on their eyes and just try to copy them. Once you've kind of gotten used to drawing something, it's very easy to fall into the habit of drawing them the same way over and over again. Not only is this unrealistic but varying things also makes your work a lot more interesting . It's a lot less likely toe look like you're drawing the same thing over and over and over again. Way. Okay. Uh, okay. Uh 10. Showing Emotion: now that I have a few different examples of different eye shapes. Now that I have that we can talk a little bit about drawing emotions. Now, emotions are combinations of several different things on the face. But a big part of that is a combination of eyes and eyebrows. The mouth also plays a big role as well as the actual shape of the face. But for now, we're just going to keep things fairly simple and experiment with eyes and eyebrows. Some things to note are the If you can see the entire iris, the emotion immediately becomes more intense. If the top lid covers more of the iris than it can give the character aboard look, they can look happy. Were angry or numerous different things, however, where you actually police your iris has a big part of emotion as well. For example, if I wanted to make this character look kind of annoyed, instead of putting the iris looking straight forward, I might want to consider putting it in the corner of the eye so that she looks like she's rolling her eyes right now. She can't just looks like she's looking this direction, however, depending on the eyebrows you choose. If you decide to go with one eyebrow arching and one arching the opposite direction, that will give your character a drastically different look than if I was simply using eyebrows like I used here. No, with this character, I kind of want to make them look angry but extremely angry. So instead of making sure that part of my iris is covered, I'm actually went to draw the entire iris. And small iris really makes it look kind of angry already. But to make sure that that comes across instead of making high arching eyebrows, which would give the character more of a surprised look, you wanna make them very deep. Uh, E decided on some thinner eyebrows here just to really work with that intense look. And I'm also going to dark in this top lid instead of adding lashes. Bond. That's a way you can kind of add a faux lash line without actually having to draw the lashes, something you might want to try in order to figure out emotions a little bit better. It is. Instead of looking up photos, which can be valid, try looking in a mirror and making expressions that way. Let's make this character look kind of sad, and in order to do that, I'm gonna have them looking down and you do that exactly the same way you would the top. No, I might cut this a bit lower to make the expression a bit more droopy. That is a thing you could do. You can exaggerate the shapes and change them even after you already have them down. And with something like this, If I was trying to make my character look, they're sad. I could add some running eyeliner. So it's just a matter of kind of thinking outside the box and thinking of how you can best represent those emotions. Now, instead of doing higher arching brows, I'm going to actually do both, like I did with this one here. And sometimes when I'm doing a brow that's not just a straightforward brow look, I will roughly outline the shapes that I want to use before adding in my strokes. It just makes it easier for me to see what I'm doing now. As you can see, this character already looks pretty traumatized, but for even more emphasis, you could draw in some tear shapes as well. And for this last look, I think I'm going to go with something a bit more devious. And that's just because of this deep crease and the angle and the sharp edges, and everything just kind of falls into that direction. But in order to do that, I'm going. Teoh Paige, my eyes slightly off to the side, not a spar to the side, as I did up here. No, I'm going to make the eyebrows just as deep as I did when I was drawing this angry character as That's a fairly reliable way of making a character look like they're steaming . And now this is where things could again get kind of interesting. And this is where mouths really come into play. This character right now kind of looks like they could simply be angry about something, but just roughly putting this in here. If you major character have a wide open, angry mouth, that's when they would look angry. We erase that, and on the same set of ice and eyebrows gave them a smile. Now, all of a sudden they look a lot more devious, and this is where you really have to experiment. There's a lot that you can do with simply eyes and eyebrows, but when you start to incorporate the mouth, it adds another layer to what you're able to achieve. 11. Outro: So I hope that this course has taught you something about how important spending time on the eyes and your artwork is and that you picked up some tips and expanded your understanding along the way. Your class project for this course is going to be fairly simple, and it is just to draw a Siris of different eyes. These eyes should have varying shapes and angles, and each I should have a pair. Don't worry too much about the perfection that comes with perfectly identical symmetric allies, because in reality there tends to be a little bit of variation in real life as well. If you would like you coning and color these eyes, or you can simply leave them in pencil, it's completely up to you. I would recommend doing at least 10 different pairs so you can do as many or as few as you would like. I know for me I often find myself doodling eyes on random surfaces because once you truly understand how to draw them, they become really, really fun. And of course, this only serves to give you even more practice. I would love it if you would share whatever you come up with in the project section of this course, but above all, have fun and enjoy drawing eyes and infusing interest and emotion into your artwork as a result.