How to Draw an Eye in Pencil


Drawing an eye is quite simple when using a pencil. The pencil allows you to control the lightness and darkness of your sketch lines, it allows you to easily shade and blend the color for realistic shadowing, and it allows you to erase mistakes and start over. When choosing a pencil to use, you can draw with a standard wood cased pencil or a mechanical pencil. Use whatever is most comfortable for you, and make sure to have an eraser on hand.

Things You'll Need

  • Standard wood-cased pencil
  • Mechanical pencil
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Extra lead
  • Kneaded eraser
  • Draw the outline of the eye first by lightly drawing an arch facing downward and then another arch facing upward, connecting the arches on the two sides. This will create an oval shape with two points where the rounded arches meet.

  • Draw a circle inside the top middle of the oval, connecting the top of the circle with the top arch. Inside that circle, draw a smaller circle. Instead of making this circle perfectly round, create a half-moon shape.

  • Darkly shade the smaller circle with the pencil. After shading, complete the circle on the half-moon side, but do not shade the rest of the circle in. This small, dark circle is the pupil and where the circle is not colored in looks like the natural glare that eyes have toward light.

  • Lightly shade in the larger circle, which is the eye color. You can either draw squiggly lines around the circle to represent color, or you can draw the squiggly lines and then use your finger or an eraser to blend the lines. How dark you shade this part of the eye is up to you. Shade around the pupil and along the bottom edges of the circle darker than the other parts of the circle.

  • Draw squiggly lines inside the oval, around the shaded circle, to look like veins. Draw these lines as lightly as possible so that they are just barely visible.

  • Draw another half arch over the top of the oval, leaving however much space you want for the eyelid. The larger the space, the more droopy the eyelid will look. Lightly shade this area, and then use a finger or eraser to blend the shading.

  • Lightly draw wispy lines along the top arch of the oval, which will create eyelashes. Begin with the lashes on the outside of the eye, making them curved and as long as you’d like them. Then continue up the arch, making the lashes in the middle of the eye straighter, because they would look straight if you were looking at an eye from the front. Make the lashes in the inside corner of the eye shorter than those on the outside.

  • Draw the lower lashes using the same technique as the top lashes. These lashes will be significantly shorter, but also with a slight curve. Don’t overdo these lashes, because they are often subtle on a person’s eye. Overlap a few lines to make the lashes appear messy and more realistic.

Tips & Warnings

  • Shade in layers. This allows you to easily erase a mistake that you make as soon as you notice it. If you shade very darkly on your first try, that’ll be harder to erase.
  • Look at a close-up photograph of an eye to help you determine where shadows and light glares naturally appear.

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  • Photo Credit graffiti eye image by Stanisa Martinovic from
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