How to draw a realistic eye | Joe McMenamin | Skillshare

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Sketching the eye


    • 3.

      Adding tone


    • 4.

      Drawing the pupil and lashes


    • 5.

      Adding the final details


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About This Class

In this course you will learn all of the steps for how to draw a realistic eye using pencil. We will cover the following drawing steps:

1. Lightly sketching the basic shape to get the proportions right

2. Add in some light tone to make the eye look more 3D

3. Think about the reflection or highlight on the iris.

4. Use a sharp 2B pencil to draw the fine details in the iris.

5. Draw the eye lashes

6. Add in the final details and tone to make it look realistic

This is an easy course to follow and all you will need is a 2B pencil, a piece of paper and a photo of an eye.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Joe McMenamin

Artist - Illustrator - Teacher


I am an artist, a teacher, a dad and creativity is something I apply to all of those things. For 14 years I was known as Mr Mac the art teacher, getting teenagers amped up about making and learning from them as much as they learnt from me.

Then in 2017 I did something I had dreamt of in those ‘what if?’ moments we all have. I stepped away from being a secondary school teacher and I put on my artist hat full time. I have pursued my love of organic, flowing patterns, diving into painting, drawing, making a beautiful mess with dyes and printmaking.

In my Feilding studio I follow a few different creative pathways. I might pick up an ink pen and let my mark making lead me to some intricate doodling. Native birds take flight – my pen imagines their song and nau... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Joe McMeniman. Welcome to this course. How to draw a realistic I in this course, you're gonna learn how to draw this. I using pizza. We're gonna talk about how to draw the basic shape to get the proportions right. Tell where headed EDS and tone in to make it look more three d. And they were gonna look at some of the fine details of the iris and the pupil and really focus on getting a nice, reflective contrast. Hit me in the in the black part of the eye pupil. Uh, then I don't know if you know this, but the eyelashes actually grow out off the island, not from under the island. So we're gonna talk about how to draw the eyelashes in a way that makes them look more realistic, more detailed. And then we'll look at some of the really fine details to try and make this drawing really good. You can follow along and draw this I or you can take a photo off another. I may be your loved ones, I or your own eye in the mirror. And you can draw that one too. So I hope you want to take this course and chicken had a drawer night. Thanks. 2. Sketching the eye: So starting off with this photograph of an I were going to make this piece of during, we're going to start off by just lightly sketching out the I. And the first thing you want to think about doing is just giving in the basic shape off the eye. Here. We want to make sure that we get their top line looking nice and kind of angled and then just spring in the bottom line, um, to get the shape. It doesn't matter if you have to do a few sketchy lines to sort of, um, work this out, that this is quite an important, important stage in the drawing. A lot of people when they start sketching, and I, they think it that it's kind of an arm and shape or it might be like an oval, but actually this is quite kind of different lines that it's important to just understand. So you need Teoh have a really good photograph that you can work from, um, that you can kind of kind of work out, um, work out the angles off now with the round part of the eye. It's really important Teoh to realize that you very really see the whole colored area. Um, the only time you'll see that is if you've got a person who is really surprised so usually it into six different with the top eyelid. Um, often with the bottom eyelid as well is it is in this picture, and what I'm doing here is just I'm just checking to make sure that the iris in the middle , um, is actually in the middle of the larger circle. So just just using the pizza was a bit of a measuring device. So here we are. We've now basically got the basic sketcher of the i n and we can start laying down some tone now to make it look more three d. 3. Adding tone: Okay. Now, as we start adding the tone to the I, we just want to think about the different shapes that there are in the eye now with the island, it's important to think about it is a rounded shape, Um, like a cylinder. Really? So, like a cylinder, It's gonna have kind of a lighter area in the middle, and it's gonna have darker tones on the top of the bottom. Is it kind of, um, rounds off towards the face. So what wanting to do now is just just lay down a very basic, um, base of tone. And I'm just using a to B. P So for this just to get a little bit of tone and you can actually see quite a lot of the texture. Um, there is coming through from the paper that I'm using here. So once we've got a really simple basic tone, we can start to kind of think about where to build up the DACA areas. So you can see now I'm just working around the colored part of the eye and just starting to kind of it in some or the shadows that Dr Shadows, um, they look good I'm just using my finger here to smudge. You can use a smudging tool if you like. Um, but I just find that that using my fingers quite easy to do. And we're just wanting to just kind of get a really faint kind of basic tone in here. And it's really about leaving the areas that are really white, um, with no tone or smudging on the middle. So we're talking about the white series of the I, um, with the middle part, that black here of why we're gonna be doing that nice and dark, I'm certain. But this is just a good base of tone for the more detailed tone that's gonna happen later on. One of the things that makes the I look really effective of the end in quite realistic is when you have a bright white highlight. Now the reason we get these bright highlights is that the I is a glassy surface, so it's a wit surface, and so that reflects the light. Whereas the rest of the skin tone around it kind of absorbs the light a bit more. Um, we don't get those sharp reflections, so it's important at this stage before we put too much tone on just to really define where the reflections are going to be. So just looking at, uh, drawing a bit of an age around them, um, you'll see as we work through that that it won't so much be a line around. It will just be toned up to the white. And we're also wanting to try and get the the white highlight to go over top off the pupil part of the eye, which is the black part, because that will create a really nice contrast. So contrast is when you have black and white beside each other, that creates a high contrast, and that's where your I will be drawn when you when you look at the picture. So now I'm just working on some of the details off the iris, just colored part of the eye. And what I'm trying to do here is if you if you've ever seen a really close up photograph, often I you'll see that there's a whole lot of kind of little fine lines with details. Um, and I'm just kind of laying down some some details in there to try and, um, yeah, I ever have a base here for when I tone over top of it. And obviously I have my photograph of the I right in front of me. So I'm just constantly referring back to their in trying to copy as much information from the father as I can, and that's really white. It is so important to have a good resolution photograph. Do you want one that is really clear and focus? It's, you know, large enough that you can zoom in and see the different parts of the I on that you want to see in my photograph. The iris has a dark area around it, so you can see that I've just started to just kind of add in some of those darker tones. 4. Drawing the pupil and lashes: All right, so now that we really to start Ah, adding the dark tone to the pupil, Um, the key to this really is just about having enough, um, darkness and your pencil to fill the space. Now you can use a fore be or sick, even a six b. But I I like the sharp each that you get with the to be pienso. So that's what I'm using here. And it's just really about just filling in the space trying to get a nice, sharp PGE So a nice sharp contrast, um, around the edges. And you can see already that the little areas that we've left white um, they are showing a nice contrast. Is there kind of moving into the pupil now? The pupil is actually ah, hole through the iris. So the pupil isn't solid is actually a hole through with the light comes through. And so they're a little kind of cracks or sharp edges, which I've started to kind of add in around the sides. And, yeah, it's important to kind of try and make it look organic. You don't want it to be a perfect circle. Um, it just wants toe. You know, wants to be a dark black area in the middle. Okay, so now that we've finished the iris and the pupil, we're going to start adding some more contrast in some more dark tones to the islands. Because at the moment they're very faint, quite low contrast. And so they don't really I don't really kind of sit off the eye or show off the detail in the tone of the eye, how we wanted to. So there's one of things that you can do with the pizza drawing is Don't feel like you have toe have every, you know, every layer be the final layer pencils Great that you can just keep working over it and over it. And so you can actually add some tone and then just sit back and think about it and think, Do I really need to add more here? Um, and just keep keep building it up over time. So again, I'm sort of smoothing out and bleeding as I go and just using the robber because I want to try and creates nice bit of contrast with with the but area above the island. You can see that, as I said, the tone it's starting to make the I look more three d Um, which is pretty important to do now. What I'm starting to do is I'm just looking at the white area of the eye and it's not flat . It's actually three dimensional as well. And so I'm sorry, just kind of add in some little series of turn Eddings adding some little smudges and details. Um, I like to think of it is at the start. I'm kind of looking at the big picture. And then as I move more into the detail side of things, I'm starting to really look at the tiny little details. I'm zooming right in on the picture and I'm trying to get a sense off. You know, how does this but work? How does this connect with us? Um and then trying to copy it is exactly as I can. So I'm just drawing in some of the little veins and the little bits of tone that happened around the white part of the eye and, yeah, just sitting back and just thinking, you know, thinking about what I'm seeing, I'm now if you notice I've just actually cut down the the eraser because I needed to get a nice, sharp ege on it. Um, because it was a bit too fit for what? I was trying to do it. So just cutting it in half gives you, Ah, a lot of sharp edges. And don't be afraid to sharpen. The pizza was. Well, while you're working, um, just keep it, Keep it working. Sometimes you need a nice kind of rounded fete tip, and sometimes you need a really sharp tip. So you just want to kind of figure out what's beast for what you're doing. All right, this is starting to come together. Next, we're gonna have a think about the eyelashes and, um, start working in those final details to finish the I. But right now, for the final stage of the storing, we need a really sharp pencil. So I like to use a craft knife when I'm sharpening my pencil. And, um, just getting a really, really nice, beautiful, fine tip, and it's gonna help us just with some of the details in the eyelashes, for example. Now, with the ill ish is one of the common mistakes is that people think the eyelashes come from either the inside of the eye, Um, or the top off the, um I lived. But what happens is, and if you look at a photograph, really clearly, they actually grow out of the eyelid, the inner island. So, um, what I do is I start at the point with a grow from, and I just do a little flecks that come out from that point and eyelashes. You know, there are kind of few enough of them that you can just, um, do each little flick individually. Now, what I generally like to do is think about the eyelashes is, um, kind of growing away from the center of the eye. So the eyelashes on the lift are going to be curving away from the eye and the eyelashes on the right there going to be curving away from the eye that way. The other thing to note is, and you'll see this on the photograph is that the eyelashes are fittest at the top on the outside of the eye. So you see me sort of building up more more layers, but I'm still drawing them individually. And you just see, I just over let them more and more um is they come for that area and again, is we come along the awesome of the eye? You can see the eyelashes, um, kind of leaning out or leaning in. Um, well, they looked leaning out from the center of the eye and there aren't many lashes on the bottom on the inside of the eye. Um, you can see why it's important to have a nice, sharp pencil because you want thes sharp less lines to be really, really nice and sharp in dark. 5. Adding the final details: now for the last part of the strolling. We just want to take another really close look at some of the fine details. So what I like to do now, we I mean, we could say this is finished, but I think it would be slightly bitter. So what I like to do now is just really look at the drawing and look back and forth between the drawing and the photograph and just try and pick up some of those tiny little micro details. So if you can see here, I'm just is a little bit of a vein there. You know, I'm just trying to darken up, um, underneath it eyelid, Of course, depending on the reflection on the photograph that using often you'll see the eyelashes in the reflection off the I, particularly if the light source is coming from above in. There's some tiny little veins as well, because you don't want to draw too many veins in the white part of the eye. Otherwise, the person won't look very healthy. Um, but they're they're awesome. Little tiny details in there. I'm just going to use the erasing now just to lighten up some of these fine white pieces and sometimes is your is your drawing and is your smudging. You can just get a little bit of pizza tone in those white ears, but ideally, you want them to be pure white. And I'm also eating a bit more contrast. A bit of doctoring just around them just makes them pop out of, but more. And then I'm just gonna add a little bit more detail to the iris because it feels a little bit fled to me. Um, this phase of the drawing the detail phase is really a face that you can take a long as you want. You could just keep taking away with the rubber and adding on with the pencil. And, you know, you could keep working on a drawing for 18 20 hours if you wanted to, in just getting it closer and closer and closer to photograph. And some of the masters who do photo realistic drawing. They do that. They spend a long, long time just working on the very fine details. Um, but I like to have it looking good in realistic, but, um, I'm not prepared to spend huge amounts of time on it, so now with my shop pizza. I'm just adding in, um, a few little kind of details. Squiggly lines. Um, and these were just kind of just sky some of those eraser max that I just made before, and I think that is pretty much looking good now. All right, Well, thank you for watching this. Trato really? How to draw. And I and I hope that you have learned a few things in the videos. And, ah, just encourage you to check out some of my other courses. And Yes, thank you for watching.