Self Portraits – Drawing Workshop – How to Draw Amazing Eyes

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Margritte Le Faux Miroir
Le Faux Miroir - Renne Margritte

"Your Eyes are the Reflection of your Spirit"

Hello hello! Its Friday, and we are moving into the end of our week where we are discovering the best versions of ourselves, through art! So far we have explored our hands, words that describe us, and how to express ourselves through abstract art. I hope you have enjoyed the week so far?! 

Jacob Ivaniczko - EYE
Eye - Jakob Ivaniczko

Today we will be looking at our eyes, and how to use them to create self portraits ,and abstract and expressive work! This post has a drawing workshop, a smattering of artist inspiration, a look at Manga cartoons, and a gorgeous short film. This afternoon’s post will see us embark on a little project that focuses on your own creativity! Let’s get going! 

How to Draw Eyes

May Ray - larmes de verre1932
L'armes de Verre - Man Ray

The first thing we will do today is learn how to draw different types and styles of eyes. We haven’t had a drawing workshop all week, so we will dedicate the morning to it. 

We will be able to use our skills when we make paintings, photographs, collages or sculptures of our eyes later this afternoon! Remember that drawing doesn’t have to be exactly lifelike; there are lots of ways to draw, and you can choose what you want to try! 

Let's Draw...

Pablo Picasso

Here are a few tutorials to help you understand how to draw eyes, or improve upon your existing skills! You could get a few different drawing implements ready and try them to see which you prefer to draw with. 

  • Try pencils of different softness (HB is in the middle, H’s are harder and thinner, Bs are softer and thicker). 
  • A regular biro pen – I love to draw with these
  • A finaliser or ball point ben, gives a more inky feel than a biro 
  • Charcoal pencils or sticks – great for dark lines and smudging effects 
  • Felt tip pens – for bold and thick lines
  • What else do you like to draw with?

This is a super tutorial from Art Projects for Kids  Its a large scale drawing that uses an old CD as a template! I love that it includes a step to draw what you would like to see inside the eye too! 

I really like this straightforward step-by-step tutorial from Carrah AldridgeThe artist has used charcoal here, but you could do it with any medium. The last step requires some gentle shading – have a go, and let me know if you need any help! 

Check out this worksheet tutorial and video from JeyRam. He has some great stuff on his website, and we will be revisiting it next, when we look at Manga. 

Different types of eyes

This is a cool guide which shows different types of emotions and characteristics through eyes! Have a go at copying some, or try to create your own – look in the mirror and pull different faces – focus on where your eyebrows go, the shape of your eyes, does the skin around your eyes crease… what else do you notice? Try and draw what you see, and for a cartoon look, emphasis the shapes and lines! 

Artist Inspiration... Manga

From My Neighbour Totoro

Just like yesterday, Ive dusted this post with some famous art inspiration. So many artists use eyes as focal points in their work, because eyes are so important in people! Eyes can tell us so much about a person, they are points of connection between people, and they are full of our emotions! 

Eyes are also symbolic for many reasons. They are sometimes seen as portals and windows to other worlds, or of clairvoyance and mysticism…  Sometimes eyes are seen as scary surveillance symbols, or in many cultures as symbols of protection. What do eyes mean to you? Perhaps you could jot some ideas down in your journal.

We are not going to look at any of the artists above in any more detail today. Instead, as we are focusing on drawing, we are going to have a quick look at Manga Art (also known as Anime) and how eyes are created in this style! 


Manga is a Japanese style of animation used in cartoons and graphic novels. It is sometimes known as Anime, which is a more general term for Japanese animation. One of the characteristics of Manga characters are their big, expressive, glistening eyes; so they are perfect for us to study today! 

Let’s head back to JeyRam for his take and tutorials on Anime eye drawings! Have fun! 

Lunchtime Viewing

This is super random, but perfect. It combines cartoon and eyes and abstract art and I love it! 

how to draw amazing eyes
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Katherine is a mixed media artist, art teacher, writer, designer, photographer – and mum of 2 – who works and lives in North Devon, nestled in the woods on a little smallholding. She has a BA in Performance Studies, an MA in Fine Art, and an MFA in photography, alongside a background in early years childhood and special education. Katherine uses her artistic talents, passion for helping people, and unique creativity to create articles, courses and classes that promote creativity, artistic skills, self expression and well-being. She believes in the power of the creative arts and how engaging with them can improve so many aspects of life.
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