Learn to Draw Caricatures - Drawing caricature eyes




Drawing Caricature Eyes

Let's take each element of the face and look at in depth how each one could be caricatured. And let's start with the eyes.

The eyes are usually the first thing people look at in a photo or drawing of a person, so it's really important to get them right in your caricatures. If the eyes you draw don't look like your subject's eyes, your caricature is going to be in big trouble even if you get everything else dead-on.

Simple 2 line eyes (and a nose)

Eyes drawn more life-like

Click to draw these eyes

Drawing cartoon eyes is pretty simple, it could be done with two lines if need be. But with the eyes, don't go for simple, go for likeness. Really try hard to get your caricature eyes to look like your subjects' eyes because if they don't, your caricature is doomed. There's a lot of character in the eyes, so try to see every little nuance in the eyes and get them on paper. If the eyes are a prominent feature that need to be caricatured, caricature them. But if the eyes aren't one of the features you're going play with, draw them as true to life as you can.

The area around the eyes should be considered part of the eyes. The bags under the eyes, the eyebrows, and also the bridge of the nose should be looked at when you're drawing eyes. You should consider both eyes as a pair when you're drawing eyes, note how they interact with each other.

Let's draw the eyes pictured here. Get your lap desk out and put a sheet or two of paper on it and get comfortable in front of your computer. Sharpen your 5B pencil and have your eraser handy. If you'd like to print out the photo we'll be working with go ahead. Begin by knowing that you'll draw these eyes just above the midpoint of your paper. We're going to draw the whole face, so you'll need room above and below the eyes for the rest of the head. When drawing the eyes, start with the upper lid of the right eye. Draw the contour of the upper lid with as few lines as you can manage. I usually go from the tear duct to the outside corner. Follow all the hills and valleys you see in the upper lid. You probably won't be able to measure anything because this is your first line on the paper and you have nothing to measure it against. So just draw the upper lid as wide as you think it is.

When you've got the upper lid done, draw the lower part of the eye. As you draw this contour line, follow what you see in your subject, starting from the outside corner of the eye going towards the tear duct.

Lightly drawn lower eyes

Many times when I draw the lower part of the eye, the line I draw is much thinner than the upper lid line. This is because the lashes on the lower eye are usually a thinner hair than the upper lashes, and there are usually less intense shadows on the lower eye. So to draw this, start at the corner of the eye and draw a pretty thick line to show the lashes that are there. As you draw the line closer to the tear duct, gradually lighten it up. Sometimes, to the point that the line doesn't connect with the tear duct.

Now you should have upper and lower contours of the right eye. You may want to measure the height of your drawn eye against the width of it, and compare those measures with your subject. Do this if you're not going to exaggerate the eye. If you are going exaggerate the eye, you're just going to have to hope it'll look right in the final caricature because you're intentionally not drawing it in correct proportion.

Draw the contour of the eyes

If you feel that the measurements are correct on the eye, measure to see how much space the subject has between their eyes, mark that distance on your drawing, and then draw the upper lid contour, then the lower lid contour of the left eye. Notice that the contour of the left eye is different than the contour of the right eye - DRAW WHAT YOU SEE, don't just mirror the right eye. Even though this is caricature and we're exaggerating measurements, I still think the eyes should be the correct distance apart, it'll make things easier in the long run. Go ahead and draw in the eyelashes by just thickening the contour lines at the corners of the eyes.

Add the iris and pupil

When you draw in the iris, draw it with a really nice gradient and people will think it's the best eye they've seen. And all you did was make a darker shadow near the top of the eye than at the bottom. You may want to fill the whole iris in with a middle gray tone first then darken the gray tone nearer to the top of the eye. Make the pupil a crescent shape to allow for the highlight. If there was another highlight in the iris, you'd just not draw that part of the gradient and leave it white. At this point I'd draw in any detail in the upper lid, and also, I'd draw just a little hint of shadow on the bridge of the nose to help guide where the nose will go. And speaking of the nose, let's look at that next...

Your Assignment: Try and caricature some eyes. Try and draw your own while looking in a mirror, or draw these here. Ask to draw your friends eyes - just as long as they have very interesting eyes to caricature! I'm kidding, draw any eyes. Draw them with as few lines as possible and try and caricature them by making them droopier than they are, or make really large upper eyelids, or really large bags under the eyes, or anything else you can think of.

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