January 2017

How to draw 6 different eye shapes

THUMBNAIL different eye shapes 324x235In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to draw 6 different eye shapes: almond, round, monolid, hooded, upturned and downturned.

You’ll get a chance to look at different types of eyes being drawn at the same time. I don’t encourage you to draw them all at once, so pick only one and follow it throughout the tutorial.

Feel free to mix and match as you get comfortable on your next run-through.

Since I couldn’t fit all 6 eyes in every step, the last 2 have been pushed into a bonus section at the end of the article.



Step 1: Draw a Circle

How to Draw Different Eye Shapes 1Using an HB pencil, let’s start by drawing a circle. This circle represents the eyeball.


Step 2: Pick an Angle

How to Draw Different Eye Shapes 2 RFAHow slanted do you want the eye to be? Draw a line going through the circle with the angle you prefer. Feel free to deviate from the examples above.

Note: the left side of each circle is the inner side of the eye

This method is awesome if you’re drawing a set of eyes on the same face.

Step 3: Draw the Inner Corner of the Eye

How to Draw Different Eye Shapes 3 RFATime to draw the inner corner of the eye. You can use several shapes. Angular, pointy or rounded ones like the examples above and in the bonus section. For small or shallow corners, stay very close to the circle. For deep and large corners, place it well outside the circle.


Step 4: Draw the Top Lid

How to Draw Different Eye Shapes 4 RFA
Draw the upper eyelid while staying within the boundary of the circle. Imagine that the eyelid is wrapping around a sphere. The last example shows the right side of the lid wrapping around the eyeball with a big steep curve.

For almond shaped eyes, you’ll want to stick to a slim football shaped curve and the deepest part of the arc should be located at the middle of the lid.

Step 5: Draw the Bottom Lid

How to Draw Different Eye Shapes 5 RFANow draw the lower lid. Make sure to draw a slight bump near the inner corner of the eye and avoid drawing the lid too far away from the line you created in step 2.

For almond shaped eyes, the arc of the top and bottom lids are very closely aligned vertically.

Step 6: Add a Crease

How to Draw Different Eye Shapes 6 RFADraw the fold above the eye starting from the inner corner and working your way out. The thicker the space between this line and the eye, the thicker the fold will look. You can loosely mimic the curve of the top lid.

This crease should not go past the line you created in step 2 unless you’re drawing wrinkles.

For the hooded eye, you’ll want to bring the crease as close to the top lid as possible. You can even overlap them or cut through a portion of the top lid.

When drawing the crease, keep your lines fairly light. A dark crease will look really deep.



Step 7: Erase Outlines

How to Draw Different Eye Shapes 7 RFA

Carefully erase your outlines. I used a hard tombow eraser to save time.

Step 8: Add Some Details

How to Draw Different Eye Shapes 8 RFA

At the inner corner of the eye, draw a curve or two to separate the eyeball from the soft pink caruncula.

For Iris sizing, a good rule of thumb is for the iris to take up about 2/4’s of the eyeball (horizontally). Examples below:

How to Draw Different Eye Shapes Iris Sizing Example RFAIf you want to draw a perfectly shaped iris, draw a full circle and then erase parts of the circle that go outside of the eyeball. This step should be done very lightly. Once you have the position and size you want, darken the iris outline.

How to Draw Different Eye Shapes Iris Example RFA


Step 9: Shade Your Eye

To shade and add more details, you can refer to the tutorials below:


How to draw eye shapes Bonus RFA

Monolid: You can draw a monolid eye by excluding the crease or giving a small hint of it at the end of the eye.

Downturned: Try not to angle your line too much when drawing downturned eyes. In fact, the one I drew is pretty extreme already. Actually, you know what? Just do what you feel like. Experiment and have fun!

Click here to learn how to draw a pair of eyes!

I hope you got a lot of value out of this tutorial! If you didn’t, let me know why in the comments below and I’ll do my best to make it right for you.

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How to draw short hair (very detailed)

wm-rfa-how-to-draw-short-hair-from-the-side-view-10_2Looking for a highly detailed tutorial on how to draw short hair? This is a very extensive one with plenty of examples, a full step by step tutorial and mini tutorial.

It’s an expanded version of the mini tutorial from my first hair article. So if you’ve seen the thumbnail for this article before, I’m not feeding you old content. What you’re getting in this tutorial is new content with more images, more steps, more explanations and over 2000 words of valuable content! Let’s get into it!


I hope I don’t lose you during any step in the application part of this tutorial, so here are a few things I want to cover with you before we start. Let’s talk about:

  • Grouping Hair
  • Layering Hair
  • Hair Flow/Direction
  • Shading
  • Detailing Short Hair
  • Lighting and Consistency
  • How to Draw a Small Section of Hair (Mini Tutorial)


Grouping Hair

Grouping is a great way to approach drawing a an entire head of hair, especially if the sheer amount intimidates you. This method can help you draw hair faster because you’re simplifying something that looks complex.

When you’re in the grouping phase, you’ll want to draw using very light outlines. These groups will eventually be broken down into smaller, more detailed sections of hair.

In the grouping phase, all you need to think about is the length, overall design and flow of hair.

If you’re drawing from a reference image, you can identify groups of hair by zooming out of the image or standing back to find patterns in the hair. Group hairs that are flowing in the same direction and/or close together.


Layering Hair

This part is self explanatory, but I decided to include it just in case. If you get the idea, move on to the next point.

The order in which you draw each group of hair is important. If you’re drawing a hairstyle where the hair is prominently parted at the side of the head, you’ll want to start your first layer there and work your way out.

The image below is an example of drawing from the part and working your way down the side of the head.


If all the hair is brushed from the back of the head towards the front, start your first layer of hair from the back of the head where the swirl or whorl is located.

If the hair is brushed from front to back, you’ll draw starting from front to back.


Hair Flow and Direction

wm-how-to-draw-short-hair-flowIf you have a reference image, look for patterns in the hair to find out the general direction where the majority of hair is flowing. In the image above, the hairs at the top of the head are all pointing in a similar general direction while hair on the side of the head seems to have a more unique flow. You can use arrows in your reference image to help visualize the flow.

Avoid drawing hairs that follow the exact direction your arrows are pointing. You can make your drawing look a lot more interesting by pointing the hair in several different directions, while still appearing to point in the same general direction.


Dark Spaces

Drawing hair isn’t about creating as many lines as possible. Between some hairs, there should be dark space. These dark spaces are important and can make a head of hair look more interesting to the eye and give the hair more volume or depth.

wm-dark-spaces-exampleYou can introduce dark shadows in areas like the swirl behind the head, spaces between large groups of hair or even areas where overlapping, curly or unruly hair appear.


Detailing Short Hair

If you’re drawing from a picture and you’ve lost track of which hair you just drew and you don’t know which patch of hair to draw next… there’s really no need to copy the exact picture hair by hair.

If you end up reading through this entire tutorial, you will be more comfortable playing it by ear instead of pouring over the tiny details from your reference image.

Below are just a few ways you can detail hair. You can incorporate a few or all of them in your drawing wherever you see fit. Come up with your own formulas. It’s a lot of fun!



Lighting and Consistency

Overall Lighting:

rfa-overall-lighting-exampleIf you often find it hard to keep track of the overall lighting while you’re drawing, it really helps to plan ahead. You can do this by outlining/shadow lining areas of the hair you want the light to fall on or areas you want to have the most shadow and then shade these areas in. This step should be done before grouping and layering.

Lighting Across Particular Sections:

Once you start drawing the individual hairs, it’s easy to lose track and end up with inconsistent lighting across small groups of hair. Here’s an example:

particular-lighting-exampleYou can easily change the highlighted section of hair by pinching your kneaded eraser into a long thin shape and swiftly remove graphite from your drawing.


How to Draw a Small Section of Hair – Mini Tutorial


Step 1: Light Planning

mini-tutorial_drawing-small-section-of-hair_lightingHave a good idea of where you want the hair to be lightest and where it should be darkest. Use a soft but sharp pencil to shade the darkest areas of hair. I used a 6B. If you don’t want such dark shadows, use a harder pencil. Make sure to use strokes that follow the hair’s flow.


Step 2: Add Individual Hairs

You can start drawing the individual hairs now. If you’re not comfortable with that just yet, see the mini tutorial from the original hair article. You can do this step with many pencils or you can use one. I usually draw one group of hair at a time. But in order to make this mini tutorial short, I’m working on all 3 groups at the same time.

Using a 4B mechanical pencil, I created strokes that were bold to begin with, but ended lightly as I approached the areas I wanted to highlight. Then I used a sharp HB pencil to fill in some spaces. I applied a variety of pressures to get a mix of different values and line thicknesses.

Some lines are shorter or longer than others. This is great, but make sure the area that you want to highlight has not been shifted.

Step 3: Directional Strokes

Now, you’ll want to draw from the end of the hair towards the highlight. If you draw the hair ends as dark as the root, the hair will have more of a curve to it.

The thing you need to keep in mind here is that the stroke needs to appear as though both ends are faded out or thinned out. The way to do this is to draw each hair using 2 strokes going in opposite directions. You only need to do this if your hair ends are noticeably blunt, making them appear unnatural.



Step 4: Touchups

If you haven’t been mindful of the prearranged lighting and your highlights appear to be off, use your kneaded eraser to redefine them. If you want the highlights to pop more, increase the level of overall darkness and/or use an eraser to brighten up individual strands of hair.

If you’re still reading, you’re one heck of a patient person. I think you’re ready for the full tutorial now!

How to Draw Short Hair From the Side


Step 1: Head Outline

rfa-how-to-draw-short-hair-from-the-side-1Draw the shape of a head from the side. You can use this tutorial for proportions. Make sure to draw the ear and neck in this step as well. I used a 4B pencil so that you can clearly see my outlines. If you’re afraid of the outlines showing through in the end, use an HB pencil.


Step 2: Hair Length

rfa-how-to-draw-short-hair-from-the-side-view-2Decide on the length of hair you’d like to draw. In this example, the hair is shortest around the back and sides, while the hair on top of the head is longest. Once you’ve decided on the length, grab a blunt 4B pencil and use the shadow lining technique to outline the hair.

Make sure the distance between the hair and head is consistent.


Step 3: Separating Top From Side Hair

rfa-how-to-draw-short-hair-from-the-side-view-3Erase any outlines that you made for the head and then use an HB pencil to create an outline that separates the hair on the side of the head from the hair on top of the head.


Step 4: Overall Lighting

rfa-how-to-draw-short-hair-from-the-side-view-4If you don’t want to lose track of the overall lighting, use an HB pencil to shadow line areas of the hair you want to the light to fall on and then shade around those highlights. You can shade using a single tone or take it a step further and introduce darker tones. I used a blunt 4B pencil for that.


Step 5: Grouping, Layering, Flow and Shading

wm-rfa-how-to-draw-short-hair-from-the-side-view-5_1If you did step 4, use a 4B pencil to layer groups of hair starting from the swirl at the very back of the head. If you didn’t do step 4, use an HB pencil. Make sure you keep the overall direction/flow in mind as you draw.

You can cover the entire side of the head or work section by section. I stopped as soon as I got close to the area I wanted most of the light to fall on.

wm-rfa_how-to-draw-short-hair-from-the-side-view-5_2When you start shading, start by defining the darkest areas before drawing individual hairs (sharp 6B). If you happen to cross into the area you wanted most of the light to fall, do not introduce overly dark tones.

After you’ve defined the major shadows, start drawing individual strands of hair. Naturally, you’ll start breaking large groups into smaller groups and you’ll find ways to incorporate overlapping hairs and other unique and interesting patterns.

For the individual hairs, I used a 0.5mm 4B mechanical pencil.


Step 6: Repeat

wm-rfa-how-to-draw-short-hair-from-the-side-view-6Continue working around those highlights. When drawing hair at the nape of the neck, curl the hairs in towards the neck. For areas close to the back of the head that aren’t getting much light (the light source for your drawing may be different), focus more on mid tones and dark tones instead of trying to define highlights/shine. It’s okay if the hair doesn’t stand out.


Step 7: Grouping, Layering, Flow and Shading

wm-rfa-how-to-draw-short-hair-from-the-side-view-7_1Working in small sections at a time, I drew layer upon layer of large to medium groups of hair. Working in layers helps me carefully plan out the hair direction and flow.

wm-rfa-how-to-draw-short-hair-from-the-side-view-7_2In the image above, I shaded around major groups of hair, making certain areas darker than others to show some depth. Since this is the area I wanted the majority of light to fall on, I used an HB 0.5mm mechanical pencil and a 2B pencil to draw the individual hairs.


Step 8: Fixing/Adding Highlights

wm-rfa-how-to-draw-short-hair-from-the-side-view-8If you’ve shaded too dark, or simply want your highlights to pop more, roll your kneaded eraser into a ball, pinch one section so it’s flat and sharp and then run the eraser along areas you want to highlight as though you’re drawing white hair.
The image on the left is before erasing and the one on the right is after.

Step 9: Grouping and Layering

wm-rfa-how-to-draw-short-hair-from-the-side-view-9In step 2, if you can recall, I wanted the hair on top of the head to be longer than the sides. The longest hairs you will have to draw will be in your first layer. The following layers are overlapped by layer 1, so they’ll appear shorter.

Step 10: Adding Dark Space and Individual Hairs

wm-rfa-how-to-draw-short-hair-from-the-side-view-10_1Use your creativity to define shadows along random areas of hair. These might be areas that you’re not sure what to do with or that would have looked awkward if you did draw hair. You’ll know what I mean if you’re following along and applying this to your drawing.

After you’ve drawn the shadows, use your mechanical pencil to break groups of hair down into smaller groups until they start looking like individual strands of hair. While you’re drawing the strands, improvise and find unique ways to incorporate unruly, overlapping, loose hair, etc.


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If you like this tutorial and want to see more in-depth hair tutorials, drop me your suggestions in the comments below!

In the meantime, here are other tutorials you can check out:


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Beginner’s guide to graphite drawing pencils

beginners guide to graphite drawing pencilsIf you’re new to drawing with graphite and wondering what are the best drawing pencils you should be using, this guide is for you!

In this guide, you will learn:

  • What the numbers and letters on a pencil mean
  • Which pencils you should use
  • Which pencils are best for drawing portraits and pencils for sketching
  • The reason why there are so many pencil grades
  • How the quality of a pencil can affect your artwork


Pencil Grades

pencil graphite value scale H to 9B RFA 4

The letters on a pencil will tell you its level of hardness or softness. For example:

H: Hard
F: Fine Point
HB: Hard Black
B: Black

Hard pencils produce light lines while soft pencils produce dark lines. Why? Because soft pencils deposit more graphite onto your drawing surface. The softer the pencil, the smoother the graphite.

The number beside each letter represents the level of hardness or softness. So a 9B pencil is softer/darker than a 2B, while an 8H will be harder/lighter than a 3H.

Here’s a list of pencil grades in order from lightest to darkest or hardest to softest.

9H, 8H, 7H, 6H, 5H, 4H, 3H, 2H, H, F, HB, B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B, 7B, 8B, 9B

Value Range

Each pencil is capable of covering a wide range of values. If you look at the first image, there are some gradients under each square. This shows you how flexible each grade of pencil is. Even though 9B is the softest pencil, you can still use it to draw an entire portrait with values ranging from medium grey to black. Although, it would be a big challenge since it would require a lot of effort to keep from shading your drawing too dark.


The Best Pencils For Drawing

Don’t be intimidated by the number of pencils I listed up there! Most likely, you’ll only need to use 3-5 of them. The pencils you need will depend on the type of drawings you do.

Architectural / Product Sketches / Technical Sketches

If you’re into drawing buildings, cars or technical sketches, a set of hard pencils will suit you well. Hard pencils don’t smudge easily, so your drawings will always be sharp and clean. You won’t need to sharpen your pencils too often because the graphite is hard enough to hold a sharp tip longer than any B graded pencil.

If you want to add dark shading to your drawing, pick up a few soft pencils so you can make your drawings pop out of the page.


Portraiture /  Animals / Realism

guide to graphite pencilsIn order to achieve realistic textures such as fur, skin or fabrics, you’ll need pencils that blend well and are flexible enough to reach the darkest of tones in order to convey a realistic sense of depth. A set of soft pencils will fit the job perfectly. If you don’t want to buy a full set, you can get a few individual pencils. When it comes to portraiture, my most frequently used pencils are HB, 4B, 6B and 8B.


Why You Should Use More Than 1 Pencil

Each pencil has its benefits and can help you get the job done faster! I could use a monkey wrench to drive 1000 nails into my patio deck, but it wasn’t designed for that job. A hammer is so much more efficient!

Here’s how each pencil below helps me get the job done faster and more efficiently:

HB: This pencil helps me shade the lightest areas of my portrait such as eyeballs and highlights without having to spend too much time focusing on the amount of pressure I’m putting on the paper and worrying if I’m shading to dark.

6B: Without any effort at all, I can easily shade large areas of a portrait or background with a smooth dark layer of graphite.

If you feel really strained after you finish a drawing, you might need to add a few more pencil grades to your toolbox, or learn how to use them more efficiently.


Graphite Quality

Graphite pencils are typically mixed with varying amounts of clay. Which means that a low quality pencil could contain many sand-like bits that feel scratchy and can damage your artwork.

If you can’t test a pencil before buying it and you want to be sure it won’t be scratchy, check to see that the packaging says it’s mixed with high quality, pure or smooth clay. Keep in mind that no matter how high the quality, you’re not going to get a 100% pure pencil.

Pencils that I’ve used and recommend are Derwent Graphic and Daler Rowney Graphic (not sketch).

Have a question? Leave it in the comments!

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Drawing technique #1: Shadow lining

Hey guys! This is the first article in a new series I’m starting. The series will be focused on drawing techniques using a variety of different tools.

Today, I’m going to delve into a technique I call Shadow Lining. I came up with this technique a while back, but only recently introduced it in my tutorials. I’m not sure if anyone else uses this technique already or if it already has a name. If it’s an actual thing, let me know in the comments below!


Shadow Lining is basically the process of outlining an area on your portrait such as the boundary of a dark shadow or highlight using pencil strokes that mimic the way you would shade the drawing instead of using a continuous line to do so.

Example: In the image below, I Shadow-Lined the cheeks. This helps me break the face into sections, which makes it easier to shade and it also provides a guideline to follow while I’m shading.

Since my drawing is mainly shaded using the hatching technique (strokes going in a single direction), my Shadow Lines will also be drawn using the same technique. If I shaded the drawing using circulism, my Shadow Lines would be drawn as circles.

Shadow Lining

Image on the left shows shadow lining on the cheeks. Image on the right shows how well the outlines blend in after the area is shaded.

With Shadow Lining, you can outline areas of your drawing without worrying if the outline will show through in the end.


Even though it’s called “Shadow” Lining, you can use it in many applications such as outlining noses, lips, hair, eyebrows.. the list is endless!


drawing technique shadow lining eyebrows

Hair (Lighting):

rfa-shadow-lining-hairIf you usually outline elements of your drawing like the images below, this technique will give your drawings a major improvement and a more professional look.



Have any requests for future articles in this series? Let me know :)



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