How to draw a realistic eye
4.2 (166 ratings)
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How to draw a realistic eye

Using pencil, follow the step by step instructions to draw an eye
4.2 (166 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
4,229 students enrolled
Created by Joe McMenamin
Last updated 8/2016
Price: Free
  • 34 mins on-demand video
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Draw a realistic eye using pencil
  • Use fine details to draw the details in the Iris
  • Draw eyelashes that look real
  • Create a white highlight that contrasts with the black pupil
View Curriculum
  • You will need a 2B pencil and some paper for this course.
  • You will need to take a photo of an eye to draw from, or you can find one on the internet.

In this course "How to draw a realistic eye" you will learn the skills and techniques needed to draw and eye using pencil. We will cover sketching the eye, adding tone to make it look more 3D as well as adding in the fine details to make it look more realistic. If you would like to learn more about drawing then this is the course for you. No drawing experience needed. 

I suggest that you take a photograph of an eye using your phone or a camera and then have it beside you as you follow through the drawing course. You will want to check back with the photo constantly as you draw. Try and make sure it is a focussed photo and taken in good light so that you can see the details in the iris.

Who is the target audience?
  • The course is suitable for anyone who wants to learn more about drawing. Being a beginner is fine as long as you want to learn.
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Curriculum For This Course
Drawing the eye
7 Lectures 34:17

The tools

In this lecture you will see how to sketch the basic shape of the eye, taking care to get the angles and curves of the eye lids correct. I am working off a photo of my wife Sarah's eye. I suggest that you take a photo of an eye on your phone, so that you can have it open in front of you when you are drawing.

Drawing the eye

In this lecture I will lay down a base of tone by lightly applying the pencil tone with a 2B pencil and then smudging it with my finger. They key for this part of the drawing is to try and keep the light areas of the drawing clean.

Adding tone

If you have ever seen a close up photo of an eye, you will have noticed all of the fine lines that fan out around the iris. We will use fine lines to add these details in the drawing. We will also define the highlight on they pupil and make sure there is a good level of contrast there. We will do the lashes next, which will fan out from the centre of the eye, giving it more of a sense of being 3D.

Drawing the pupil and lashes

In this final lecture, we will really LOOK at the photo we are working from. Adding in the tiny fine details to the drawing will make it look more realistic.

Adding the final details

In this lecture we will talk about tonal value and how to use a range of tones from light to dark. We will do a simple exercise in drawing a cylinder to look 3D using a range of tones.

Understanding Tone
About the Instructor
Joe McMenamin
4.3 Average rating
306 Reviews
10,097 Students
3 Courses
Artist - Illustrator - Teacher

Joe McMenamin is a painter and printmaker and the flowing organic patterns that ripple through his works have won him a following throughout New Zealand. Joe has a bachelor of media arts from the Waikato Institute of Technology. He teaches Art part time at Naenae College in Lower Hutt, Wellington. Joe loves teaching Art, and gets lots of the ideas for his work through interactions with his classes. His students also experience first-hand the different processes involved in his prints, drawings and paintings.
In Joe’s latest series of nautical themed screen prints his detailed drawings are screen printed as a ship and anchor or a deep sea diver. Joe then carefully drops coloured powdered dye pigment in the midst of the image, and the colours splash across the print, making each one bright, exquisite and unique. He finishes the print with some hand drawn pattern to represent the water.
Joe’s recent paintings depict a range of subjects painted directly onto the medium of plywood - it is a natural medium that attracts him and he makes the frames for each piece by hand. He is interested in New Zealand native birds. Joe skilfully paints these birds directly onto the plywood, which gives them a raw quality and showcases his photorealistic painting technique. He often applies a layer of Danish oil overtop, which brings out the grain of the wood and the jewel-like paint colours.
At the end of 2015 Joe resealed the NZ Native Birds adult colouring book. It was a great success with the first edition of 500 books selling out in 2 weeks. The second edition is available in the shop. He has a number of exciting projects happening this year, including video drawing and painting courses on Udemy, a mural, the Christchurch Art show and many more.