How to draw eyebrows on paper

how to draw eyebrows
Hey guys! In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to draw realistic and subtle eyebrows. Learn how to draw eyebrows that compliment a drawing instead of sticking out like a sore thumb!

The structure of this tutorial will be similar to my previous one on eyelashes: examples with explanations and then application in a step by step format.



Stroke Quality

eyebrow-hair-qualityKeep your strokes fairly thin. I always try to keep the tip of my pencil as sharp as possible for each stroke. Once your pencil starts to become blunt, individual hairs will blur together and eventually disappear as they blend in with each other.

Stroke Direction and Curve

I see a lot of people draw eyebrows like this:


While that’s great for cartoons and manga, it’s quite unrealistic.


We want to draw hairs that point in 3 main directions: Up, down and from left to right (or right to left if you’re drawing the left eyebrow).

eyebrow-hair-directionEyebrow hairs also come in a variety of shapes such as the ones below. Find the right combination/grouping to get your desired look or just go with the flow.



Stroke Length

Eyebrow hairs are usually shorter at the end of the eyebrow and as a rule of thumb, the lighter the hair, the shorter it is.

Root Placement

Slow down and carefully plan the placement of each stroke you make and try to make them as unpredictable as possible. Avoid predictable patterns like the ones below.


Random = natural

Do not make the mistake of drawing a single row of hairs in an attempt to cover the entire eyebrow. More on that later.


Eyebrow Shape, Length and Position

With your fingers, put some pressure along your eyebrow and move the skin up and down. You’ll find that your eyebrows grow along the brow bone. The brow bone is the protruding area directly above your eye socket. When you don’t know where to draw an eyebrow, visualize the eye socket around the eye.

Eyebrow length varies from person to person, but the average length is only slightly longer than the length of the eye itself.

As for the shape, there’s no one correct way. Just play around with different shapes while following along the brow bone.


How to Draw Eyebrows Step by Step

If you want to draw clean, sharp eyebrows, shade the area above the eye and blend it out first before you start. It doesn’t have to be perfect. This step eliminates the amount of shading and blending you’ll have to do later on.

Step 1: Shadowline the eyebrow

With an H pencil, use my shadow-lining technique to outline the shape you want the eyebrow to have. If you use this technique, your outlines will blend in perfectly when you draw the actual hairs later.

Do not outline it like the image below. It will be very obvious in your final drawing and a complete pain to erase!



Step 2: Draw first row of hairs

how to draw eyebrows
We’re going to draw hairs going in several different directions. Using a sharp 2B pencil, let’s start by drawing a single row on the bottom and go from left to right. These hairs grow in the upward direction and start pointing downward near the end of the eyebrow.


Step 3: Add a second row

how to draw eyebrows
Now, add an additional row or two. Remember to draw hairs at the beginning of the eyebrow longer than ones at the end.


Step 4: Add unique hairs


Make slight changes in the hair direction and amount of curve. Join some hairs together by their ends as well.

I’m not adding any more hairs on the left side of the eyebrow because I don’t know if that will be enough yet. I’ll be able to decide later when I draw the upper portion of the eyebrow.

It’s up to you how you want to design your eyebrow, so you can add more hair if you want.

Step 5: Darken overlapping hairs

how to draw eyebrows

In this step, I didn’t add any new hairs. I just looked at which ones were overlapping and used the sharpest edge of my 4B mechanical pencil to darken those areas. This will make the eyebrow look more interesting.



Step 6: Draw a light row of hairs at the top


Time to draw the upper portion of hair. I usually draw the first row really thin/light and then increase the thickness/darkness with the following rows.

Your ultimate goal is to get a smooth transition from upward-pointing to downward-pointing hairs.


Step 7: Merge hairs with bottom rows


Add an additional layer or two. As the ends of the hairs start coming in contact with the upward-pointing hairs, allow your strokes to slowly merge into the same direction.


Step 8: Fill the middle portion


When filling in the middle portion of the eyebrow, focus on drawing hairs that flow in the direction that seems most natural to you.

If you used the shadow lining technique for your outline in step 1, you will notice that it has blended in well and there should be no need to erase it.

Step 9: Touchups


If you see any inconsistencies in value or you think you’d like a darker eyebrow, go over some hairs with a sharp 4B mechanical pencil and darken overlapping hairs or individual hairs that you want to stand out more than others.

Be very careful not to overdo it. It’s hard to erase thin lines. If you do need to erase any hairs or make them appear lighter, pinch your kneaded eraser until it looks as sharp as a knife and then press it directly on the hair to lift a layer of graphite away.

Step 10: Add light shadows on the eyebrow


Can you spot what’s different in the image for this step? I’ve added shadows in the forest of hair. If you shaded the skin as light as mine, use a 2B pencil to shade over your entire eyebrow. Don’t press too hard.

At this point, the eyebrow still looks like it’s sort of pasted onto the face. We’ll fix this in the next step.

Step 11: Add light shadows around the eyebrow

how to draw eyebrows

Okay, last step! We just added some shadows inside the boundary of the eyebrow. Now it’s time to draw shadows around the outside. If your light source is coming from the top (like mine), draw your shadows directly below the eyebrow and/or sides only. Subtle shadows will do. Avoid hard edges!

If you think it still looks pasted on, use a sharp H pencil to draw really light hairs around the top and side.

And that’s it!

I just want to send a big thank you out to all of you guys who take the time to leave a comment or connect with me via email or Facebook. Your kind messages remind me that what I do makes a difference and helps give me the motivation to keep going! You guys are awesome! :)

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39 thoughts on “How to draw eyebrows on paper”

  1. I am happy that I found you. Great tutorials for beginners like me. Thank u so much for sharing your knowledge with us. :)

  2. thanks so much Darlene I was actually looking for a tutorial to learn how to draw my own eyebrows this is really going to help me out !!

    1. Darlene Nguyen

      Hi Gemma, if the hairs cross over each other, they will look like crosses. If you taper the ends (if the hair ends come together to form a pinched triangle), then it will look more natural :)

  3. Now thats an eyebrow tutorial!. Such detailed impression.

    I usually use the anime (manga) style to draw realistic eyebrows. You know, its quicker, much easier, and less stressful. But it lacked a huge sense of realism.

    But thanks to you, i’m saved.
    I have found your posts helpful these past few months.

    More hairs to your eyebrow. Hehe :D

  4. Hi! That eye is out this world – could you do a tutorial on how you drew it with all that detail in there? I’m new to drawing and it would be so amazing to see!

    1. Thanks Toma! I have an eye tutorial already, but it’s not as detailed as this one. I’ll add your suggestion to my to-do list :)

  5. Your tutorials are so helpful! I have been really in to drawing faces recently and these close up features tutorials have been lifesavers. Thank you so much!

  6. Thank you, Darlene. I’m just beginning my journey into portraiture and your tutorials are the best I’ve ever seen. Thank you so much.

    1. Thanks Joe!
      To draw blonde/white hair, use a sharp object like a blunt needle to draw invisible hairs (before you do any shading at all) on the surface of your paper. The harder you press, the thicker the hair will look. Make sure you’re using a thick paper like bristol or else you might put a hole in your drawing. Then shade over the area using a hard pencil. The harder the pencil, the clearer the white hairs will show up. If you use a really soft pencil, the graphite could fill the valleys that you just created in the paper and ruin the effect. After that, use a soft pencil to draw shadows for each individual hair, making sure not to deposit any fine graphite bits directly on any individual hairs.

      Hope that makes sense! I might need to make a tutorial on it :P

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