How to draw anime eyes that suit my anime character

Thank you random Quora person who asked me to answer this.

The first thing you maybe want to consider is what is your character like. Is she/he:

  1. A cute, innocent girl
  2. Brave protag
  3. ‘I'm the antagonist and you know it'

For starters, consider their personality. Are they an innocent, naive character. or a badass action-hero type? Generally, the more innocent or "cute" the character, the larger, rounder, and shinier their eyes are. Action heros generally have angular, thinner eyes, often with smaller irises. Evil characters often have eyes like this as well.

When I'm drawing a character I'm unfamiliar with, I often use a corner of the paper and thumbnail different eye shapes and types to see what sort of eyes I like best. It usually takes some tweaking and maybe even multiple complete sketches of the character to get their look down pat.

Sometimes it's also fun to make a character's appearance deceiving. Just experiment, and see what you like!


Child: big eyes.

Adult: small eyes. Vertically small.

Energetic: Outer cornes up (tsurime : Tsurime Eyes - TV Tropes)

Meek: "Droopy" eyes, outer corners down (tareme: Tareme Eyes - TV Tropes)

Shocked, blind, dead or with no will of their own: Eyes do not shine.

Angry or villain: Small pupil and cornea, eye whites take most of the space.

Red or purple eys: evil, devil/demon blood, supernatural.

Blue eyes: usually innocent or related to water.

(sometimes) Alien, demon or a robot: Black whites.

Moment of emotional shock or important decision: Eyes are hidden by "shadow" and are not drawn at all.

Kitsune or extremely cunning character: eyes always closed.

May have vertical pupil to illustrate cat-like or snake-like character, or make character feel more villainous.

Color is less important than shape and may be an artistic choice.

There are manga drawing books by "Graphic Sha" which cover anime characters, including eyes. I believe "basics of character drawing" and "Mastering Bishoujo characters" cover eyes, and "Mastering" may be more interesting, because it talks about them in conjunction with archetypes.


Anime eyes reveal personality. If the character has big eyes with many highlights then they are sweet and naive (Mostly used for chibis.) Anime eyes are never perfect. One thing I noticed is that as most anime characters grow up their eyes get smaller. Male eyes are narrow when they are teenagers and adults. Very detailed eyes mean that a character is mysterious, creative, sad, or it's just the artist's style. Generally, it depends on the character's personality or the way the artist draws.


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