Learn to Draw People - drawing the eye




The eye in profile

On a profile head, the eyes will fall about halfway down the face, this is the same place the eyes would fall if you were looking at the face straight on. The thing that the Egyptians seemed to struggle with - proportion and perspective, changes when you turn your head. The Egyptians drew the same eye for profile and for straight on, this isn't correct. Just as if you held a coin between your index finger and thumb and looked at the face, then turned it to look at the side, you don't see the same thing. This applies with the eye. It's fairly easy to draw an eye in profile. You'll only be drawing one eye, if you see both eyes it's not a true profile. An eye in profile doesn't seem to be as expressive as an eye seen from the front. This is mostly because you really don't see much of the eye from the side, it's mostly the skin around the eye that you see. The eye in profile can minimally be drawn with three lines: the eyeball, the upper lid, and the lower lid. It's pretty much a triangle with the eye side being a curve. Take a look at these eyes:

Do you see the three basic lines? You can bypass your logical mind telling you how draw an eye if you break down the eye you're drawing into at least the three lines. But when you draw an eye in profile, don't just draw one of THESE eyes you see here, draw the one that you are looking at. No two eyes look the same. No - not even the two eyes on the same head!

Numbers 1-3 are well drawn and most realistic. The eyeball line isn't usually flat, the upper lid sticks out further than the lower lid. Do you see that? Number four shows the bottom lid further out than the top; it doesn't look right, does it?

Number five illustrates a point with the lashes. Don't draw individual lashes, rather, draw them "clumped". Since you're seeing the lashes from the side, it's almost like you're seeing one big lash, so draw one big lash. Like in these drawings, the lash will be thicker away from the eye than closer. Look at the eye you're drawing, men have eyelashes, too. Just because you're drawing a dude doesn't mean he hasn't got eyelashes. Just don't draw them too long, he's likely to inflict pain if he thinks you drew his lashes too long.

One last point: Crows feet. The little wrinkles at the outside corner of the eye. They might be there even if she claims she hasn't got any. Even babies have crows feet, look for yourself. You may want to draw them in lightly, though.

Have someone sit for you so you can draw their eye

Your Assignment: Draw some eyes in profile. Just the eye, not the rest of the face. You could do what I did here and draw the contour of the nose just to make the eye look more "eye-like". Look for pictures of people in profile, or better yet, get someone to sit for you. Draw their one eye, and then have them spin around so you can draw the other one. Draw several eyes on one piece of paper, and just do lines like I did, don't bother with shadows yet. You may want to start with the top lid then draw the curved line for the eyeball, then draw the bottom lid. When these three lines are drawn, thicken up the ends of the lid lines to make eyelashes. Then if you see them, draw in the "crows feet" wrinkles at the corner of the eye. Try and draw several different eyes belonging to several different people.

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