Learn to Draw People - Drawing facial elements - eyes




Drawing facial elements - eyes

I know what you're thinking - "Enough with the measuring, let's DRAW!", and you're right. First, a word about what you draw: You can use photographs if you'd like as subjects, but I strongly recommend drawing real people. It's a much better learning experience if you can start with the full three-dimensional subject you can see from all angles. A photograph only gives you one angle, that which the photographer chose. I know how hard it is drawing real people - I've drawn about 10,000 real people. But ask someone you know and I bet they wouldn't mind sitting for you. You may even find something out about them you didn't know.

Let's start with the eyes, called the windows to the soul. It's very important to draw the eyes correctly, exactly as you see them. The eyes are often the first things people look at in a portrait and it's best to make a good first impression. Now remember - we want to draw the eyes that you are looking at. We don't want the logical mind to take over and make you draw just "a generic eye" - we need to draw a specific pair of eyes - the ones you're looking at. So remember: the instruction below applies only to the eyes that we're going to draw - that is as far as what you draw and what measurements you'll be taking. The general principles outlined below apply to drawing eyes, the specifics apply to only these eyes. Can you dig what the cat is laying down here?

Click the image to see both eyes

Let's draw the female eyes to the right. Click on the picture to see both eyes. We will be drawing both eyes to illustrate how different a subjects two eyes can be. 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 eyes go ahead.

Since we'll be drawing two eyes and starting with her right eye, your first line should be to the left of the center, top third of your paper. We'll be adding the nose a bit later, so try and place the eyes so they will be roughly in the top third of your paper. First draw the upper lid of the right eye. Draw a single curved line starting at the tear duct and ending at the outside corner. Notice that the outside corner is higher up than the tear duct, so the two end points of this first line should NOT be horizontally parallel. Make this arched line about two inches from end to end. After you're satisfied with this first line, lightly draw the bottom edge of the eye in a single line. These two lines establish the eye enough that you now have your basic unit of measure - one eye.

In the photograph, measure the width of the eye. Holding that measure slide to the right and measure the space between the eyes. These eyes are not average because there's only about half an eye between them! Keep sliding the measurement over and measure the other eye. This eye is about three quarters the width of the first. Measure the width of the drawn eye with your pencil. Slide to the right only half an eye and make a small dot there. This is where the second eye will start. Keep sliding the measurement over and make another dot at three quarters an eye, this is the other end of the second eye. Now looking at the photo, draw the curve of the upper lid of the second eye, noticing that this curve is a bit different than the curve of the upper lid on the right eye (but the outside corner of this eye is higher than the tear duct, just like the first eye.). Start the curved line at the first dot and end it at the second. With that done, draw the lower part of the eye.

draw the irises

With the two eyes drawn and spaced correctly, very lightly draw a contour of the iris of the eye. That's the colored area of the eye. Rather than drawing a complete circle for the iris, you might want to draw two semicircles to show that the upper lid is covering a bit of the iris.

Draw a small line above and below the outside corners of each eye representing the crease of the lid. Also, draw contours of the eyebrows. For placement of the eyebrows, hold your pencil vertically at each end of the eyebrow and note where it lines up with the eye. For the height of the eyebrow, measure from the top of the eye to the bottom of the eyebrow. i get about half an eye height for that measurement.

Now we have enough line drawings to start shading...

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