Learn to draw an eye in anime style

Learn to draw an eye in anime style

In this tutorial Maxim Grafskiy will teach you how to draw a classic anime-style eye. The technique was borrowed from an existing tutorial on Corel DRAW, improved and adjusted for Inkscape.

I'm assuming that you already have a grasp of vector graphics. The tutorial itself will improve your skills using the Pen (Bezier curve) tool in Inkscape.

The result should be looking like this:

The anime-styled eye

Start with drawing eyelids using Pen tool. It might take a while, so please be patient. The fuzzy part on top can be created using Tweak tool in Roughen mode. Be careful, however — it's too easy to create too many nodes in this mode, Force=25 should do. Fill the result with black color.


Draw the white of the eye and place it under the eyelid (use PgDown on the selected object), then fill it with 0,0,0,12 color (CMYK).


Now draw pupil and iris.  Easiest way to do this is to draw two ellipses, outline their strokes (Path > Stroke to Path) and tweak the resulted shapes. E.g. for iris you want thickening the left arc of the outlined ellipse which you can do by selecting and shifting nodes on the outside to the left. Or you can draw the paths from scratch.


Now use Fill and Stroke dialog to fill the pupil with 80,50,0,75 color (CMYK), and the iris — with a radial gradient going from 100,35,0,35 (CMYK) to 70,35,0,55 (CMYK again).


Then use the Pen tool to create highlights objects and fill them with 20,10,0,10 color (CMYK). The objects don't have to be geometrically perfect, but you might just like to make them so.


Next step is to create a shape like on the illustration below.  It will take some time. Easiest way, again, is to draw the basic oval and then just populate it with nodes and drag them into position. And the best way to fill it with nodes is Add Nodes... extension (Extensions > Modify Path > Add Nodes...). Or you can select some nodes and repeatedly click appropriate button in Node tool's options toolbar or even just press Ins key on the keyboard. When you are done, fill  the shape with 55,25,0,15 color and lower opacity to 50%.


Create two copies of this object, shift them vertically relating to each other and use Path > Intersection (Ctrl+*) to get such a shape:



But the iris is not exactly flat, eh? So let's add some depth using highlights. Use the Pen tool to create several objects like on the illustration below:


Fill the larger highlights objects with gradient going from pure white to full transparency. Then apply Gaussian blur (easiest way is to do it from Fill and Stroke dialog) to the smaller objects. Use different radii for blurs.


Now you only have to create a grey shadow from the eyelid. Use 0,0,0,30 for that shadow (CMYK again):


That's all!

Oh, and if you want the eye-spy bit, feel free to add the keyhole above the whole thing. It's as easy as:

  1. Drawing a rectangle
  2. Drawing a circle above it
  3. Selecting both and using Path > Difference (Ctrl+-)
  4. Drawing a rectangle, outlining it (Object > Object to Path) and dragging both bottom nodes away from each other horizontally
  5. Selecting both shapes and using Path > Difference (Ctrl+-) again

And now it's really all  ;)

Was it useful? There's more:

47 Responses. Comments closed for this entry.

  1. wow, great design.
    i’m learning inkscape now. i need tutorial like this, but it’s hard to search on the net.

  2. Great tutorial and nice drawing. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I think if you are a “world” we’ll find more and always new tutorials but they are almost 2 years old!!

  4. I will soon attempt to draw an Anime girl and this will help me hopefully.

  5. Pretty nice, classic anime-style eye,increased the beauty of eyes. o will also try to attempt to draw this drawing no matter how poor i am in sketching.

  6. Does Inkscape have layers?

  7. Alexandre Prokoudine 23 January 2012 at 3:38 am

    Yes, it does

  8. @Smartie
    To open it, press Ctrl + Shift + L.

  9. Can’t believe this tut is so old..but totally awesome..top of that I totally love manga style drawing..this is going in my arsenal as I struggle with inkscape..not many reliable ink tuts around.. thanks @alexandre

  10. Now that’s some amazing, funny and beautiful work, loving it!

  11. Thanks for this tutorial! It’s not easy to switch of illustrator to inskape because of the functionnality. This software is much better that I expected and it’s free.

  12. Very nice indeed.  I’ve been an artist for most of life.  Now that I’m back in school I have to use a software for school projects.  This is my very first time even seeing this type of drawing. It’s my first time hearing about vector drawing.  Thanks for the tutorial.  I will buy the books so I can read how to use it.

  13. thanks for the drawing tutorial, got something new to learn.

  14. Thanks por the tutorial man, this is awesome for me since I’ve recently started drawing in anime style.
    Could you make a tutorial on how to draw the lower body of anime characters?

  15. it is nice but complicated

  16. Alexandre Prokoudine 15 November 2012 at 10:54 pm

    @Inba Raj Which part of the tutorial?

  17. in gimp,there is no pen tool how to draw the eyelids using Pen tool. I used pencil tool but i am not getting smooth curve.

  18. @Alexandre Prokoudine i have difficulties in fill dual color inside the eye.

  19. Alexandre Prokoudine 16 November 2012 at 10:44 am

    Wait, but this tutorial is on Inkscape, not GIMP :) It’s possible to complete this in GIMP, but the workflow will be different indeed.

  20. Great tutorials, but unfortunately the images are broken on this one? :(

  21. looks like, the image disappear. something wrong?

  22. Alexandre Prokoudine 26 January 2013 at 9:34 am

    Keiji, it seems that I screwed up permissions when moving files between hosts a a week ago. Thanks for notifying! :)

  23. I think Corel Draw is not free graphic. Thats true?

  24. Alexandre Prokoudine 20 February 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Yup, it’s not.

  25. Hey CorelDraw was free for me. As I got it from Piratebay….:-)

  26. CorelDraw is wonderful tool for vector. Although it’s not free, but worth to buy.
    Nice tutorial as usual. Thanks.

  27. thanks for the drawing tutorial….

  28. I love this illustration. very clever.

  29. Wow.. great tutorial, thanks :)

  30. Long ago (1989) I was exposed to Coreldraw - ver 2 then ver 3 at my wife’s workplace. I had to have it, but could not afford the $300+ at the time. I made it a point to request it at my work & used it for to create various graphics for work - and play. But, I wanted something similar at home & I found GIMP, which I used for image manipulation, clipart creation, etc. and still use it to this day. Somewhere along the way Inkscape was produced and I started using it with the mouse and wacom - very fun indeed - on Linux. I’ve learned that you are best served to go with the free/FLOSS option and learn how to use those tools. You’ll be proud of yourself end the end.

  31. I am new to this design work, and I have to work so hard to strive in this graphic world.

    Thanks for posting these useful step by step tutorial.

  32. very nice tutorials, thanks for sharing!

  33. I tried your design above. Its pretty amazing, really enjoyed. But my PC got hang and could not saved it.

  34. I am a big fan of Game of Thrones and wanted to learn how to draw my favorite characters the anime way your article really helped me alot….can I contact you on your mail ?

  35. Thanks for the drawing tutorial. this is awesome for me since I’ve recently started drawing in anime style. Thanks for sharing.

  36. Wow, thats amazing. When I starded to play with PS, there was a thousand tutorials with ANIME Eyes. Yours is good as well

  37. Thanks guys this is one of the best Tutorials I have seen for drawing eyes, firing up GIMO now to give it a go,



  38. The instructions are very good, that anime style eye is iconic, if you ask me.

  39. great tutorial! i love the anime drawing and that’s a really helpfull tip!!!

  40. Nice tutorial , we would like some more .

  41. “The fuzzy part on top can be created using Tweak tool in Roughen mode.”

    I can’t get the result of the tutorial with just the tweak tool. What am I doing wrongly?

    Look at this picture to see what I mean.

  42. Wow, thanks a lot for this tutorial!!!

  43. Thanks for an excellent tutorial with great examples!

  44. the way you show it,make it easier to do.but when i tried, it was very horrible.haha

    i guess i dont have pretty good hand skills in drawing.

  45. This tutorial really helpful.But in real hand drawing, we must know about coloring and shadows.Read more..http://betterdrawing.com/