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  • Writer's picturePatricia Ochudlo

The Beginner's Guide To Drawing Realistic Eyes (4 simple steps!)

have you ever wondered how some artists seem to pull off drawing a perfect realistic pencil sketch portrait in as little as 5 minutes?

and yet here you are just trying to figure out shading and light and perspectives..

and wondering how and where to begin!?

I know how overwhelming it can seem when you see everyone's amazing skills thinking your drawings look like actual crap.

but don't worry - because I got you!

my beginners guide is designed to help you master realistic portraiture & drawing human faces..

by focusing on ONE facial feature in each post.

as you might have already guessed - i'm pretty much obsessed with eyes.

(i mean... i dedicated a whole series to drawing them, haha)

when we look at someone, their eyes are the part of their face which our attention is most drawn to.

that's why we often refer to eyes as the "window to the soul"..

holding eye contact with someone means connecting to them on a deeper level.

it let's you see them for who they are;

you can tell what they're feeling, you can immediately see the joy or pain they are experiencing.. if you just look them in the eyes.

isn't that powerful!?

now that means that once you master drawing realistic eyes..

you yourself will be able to create little "soul windows" that depict strong emotions.

this will make your portraits 10x more captivating and expressive!

so let's get right into the tutorial for creating realistic "soul windows" !


do a quick google search + find a picture of an eye or look at your own eyes in the mirror.

spend a few minutes studying the shape of an eye:

try to really examine and understand it first - this is CRUCIAL for avoiding a lot of mistakes!

so notice the placement of the pupil and iris, the eyelid, the waterline, the pattern in the iris, how the eyelashes are shaped etc etc..


start with drawing the outline of the eye.

whether you start with drawing a circle-like shape for the pupil or start off the way I did is up to you but make sure to hold your pen rather loosely;

remember never to apply too much pressure in the beginning!

just have the basic shape down - it’s not supposed to be detailed yet.

always go with nice, light lines first.

for the eyelashes you gotta be especially careful:

notice how they’re not all equally long!

also don’t just draw straight lines - but curved ones.

alternate between applying more and less pressure; the further away you move from the lash line the less pressure you wanna add!


once you sketched the different parts of the eye you can now start adding some shade for that 3d look.

hold your pencil in a (approximately) 45 degree angle and slowly start going over the areas that are the darkest;

such as the upper and lower lash line and the eyelid.

darken the iris and apply more pressure in the middle in order to create the pupil.

for the characteristic pattern of the iris draw darker and lighter/shorter and longer lines leading from the pupil like the rays of a sun.


keep adding shadows + darkening certain areas (pupil, lashes etc.) in order to

make them stand out more.

and don’t forget to blend blend blend so that everything looks smoother and the lines aren’t too „harsh“.

do this until you get the look you want!


don’t give up if your drawings don't end up looking exactly the way you imagined the first few times!

improving your skills takes a bit of time and practice.

so just keep sketching & following the tips and eventually, you’ll not only improve but come up with your own technique :)

if you liked this tutorial and followed along with it feel free to share your eye sketches with me, i'd love to see them!

and if you found my advice helpful share it with a friend who could benefit from it :)

thank you for supporting my work and helping me spread the word! ❤

with love & gratitude,

(my eye drawings are watching you 👀)


p.s: download the free PDF sheet of this tutorial HERE!


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