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July 2017

How to Draw Closed Eyes

How to Draw Closed EyesHere’s a quick and easy way to draw closed eyes for beginners. I came up with this method by combining a few of my other ones, which turned out very well. You guys have been requesting me to draw a pair of opened eyes for a while now. So I’m going to work on that one next!

Tools I used in this tutorial:

Note: Up until step 6, use only an HB pencil with very light pressure so that your guidelines and mistakes don’t show through in your final artwork. Drawing lightly is also better for erasing. In the examples below, I’m using more pressure so you can clearly see what I’m doing.

Step 1: Determine Eye Size

Determine the size you’ll want for one eye and use 2 ticks to mark the boundaries for that eye.

Use a ruler to draw a horizontal line through the ticks and across the right side of the page.

Then measure the first space and multiply it by 3. You should now end up with 3 equal spaces going across your sketchbook horizontally.

Step 2: Draw Circles

Draw a circle for each eye. Make sure each circle fits within the boundaries.

Step 3: Determine the Angle for Each Eye

Determine the angle you want the eyes to slant and draw a line through each circle, making sure the angles are similar.

Step 4: Draw the Eye Shapes

Draw the inner and outer corners of each eye where the slanted line intersects with the circle. The inner corner of each eye should be deeper and darker than the outer corner or tail of the eye.

When you draw the tail crease, allow your lines to gradually become lighter instead of having a hard edge.

Finally, draw a set of curves to form the eyelids.

Step 5: Draw the Shape for Each Eyebrow

Use my shadow-lining technique to draw a set of eyebrows. I like to draw the eyebrows just above the circles and slightly wider than each eye. In the video, I show you a technique to make the eyebrows match as well as where to draw the arc.

We’ll detail the eyebrows later. Let’s move on to the next step!

Step 6: Shading

Before you shade, make sure the guidelines you drew from step 1-3 are only slightly visible. You can use your kneaded eraser to roll a layer of graphite off those areas.

Let’s start by shading the top eyelids. Use the side of your pencil to shade a shape similar to an almond. The circle around each eye can help you see if your shading on the right eye is similar to the left eye.

Add some light shading for the bridge of the nose.

Once you’re done, erase what remains of each circle.

Step 7: Shade the Rest of the Face

Shade the rest of the face. You can use these two tutorials to learn more about shading:

Step 8: Draw the Eyebrows

Here, I switched to my 4B 0.5mm lead. Starting at the lower part of each eyebrow, draw upward strokes. Make sure to lift your pencil up at the end of every stroke to make the hairs look more realistic. For a super detailed tutorial on this, check out this tutorial.

At the upper portion of each eyebrow, draw downward strokes. Add some hairs going down the middle if it still looks bare.

This step is very subtle, but also very important. Use an HB pencil to shade directly underneath each eyebrow. Make sure the transition is gradual. Now the eyebrows look like they belong, instead of just pasted onto the skin.

Step 9: Add Wrinkles to Eyelids

This step is optional… but it’s super fun, so why not do it too?

This one’s more of a crease than a wrinkle. When the eyes open, a crease forms on the eyelid. Use an H pencil and the lightest amount of pressure to draw two creases. The darker you draw them, the deeper they will appear.

Draw a row of curved diagonal lines along the edge of each eyelid. This area of the skin is very thin – wrinkling up when the skin is tugged. You’ll want to use an H pencil for this as well.

Depending on where the light is coming from in your drawing, blend the opposite side of each diagonal line drawn. For example: in this drawing, the light is coming from the top, so the side of each wrinkle that faces the light will be left alone, while the side facing away from the light will need to be blended.

Unless you’re drawing this on a large scale, avoid using a blending stump because the tip will not be thin enough for this job. Instead, use an H and HB pencil to create a nice gradient along each wrinkle.

Using a kneaded eraser, go over areas of each wrinkle that are facing the light and dab it gently with the pinched end of your kneaded eraser to lift a thin line of graphite. The highlights should appear brighter and the wrinkles should become more apparent and shapely.

Step 10: Draw the Eyelashes

To start, draw 3 eyelashes for each eye. One on the far left, far right and another in the middle. The lashes should fan out, angling away from each other.

If you want to be really careful, draw the eyelashes lightly with an H or HB pencil to start. Once you’re okay with the placement, curvature and length, etc… go over it with a darker pencil like a 4B. Here, I used a 0.5mm 4B lead.

Take your time to fill the spaces in between.

It’s okay that some eyelashes touch. It’s actually more natural looking when they form triangle shapes or even cross over each other.

How to Draw Closed EyesFinally, use an HB or 2B pencil to shade directly under the top eyelid to create a light cast shadow coming from the eyelashes.

Video Tutorial

I created a video to go along with the version you’re reading. You can check it out below! It contains a bunch of extra tips and tricks, which I think you’ll find useful! If you have the time, please leave a comment to let me know what you’d like to see me do differently in a future video, what you liked/disliked or other constructive feedback would also be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

The purpose of the video is not to produce a polished piece, but to show you the steps and techniques in a quick and easy manner. Click here to watch it on YouTube!

This is the first time I’ve done a written tutorial + video tutorial and I want to know what you guys think! Do you like videos in accompaniment to my usual stuff? Does it clear things up for you or would you rather see the video tutorial done another way?

Your feedback is always appreciated and will help me improve upon the tutorials further :)

I’m going to work on creating videos for past tutorials as well. So if you haven’t subscribed to me on YouTube, click here. Youtube won’t notify you when I post new videos unless you hit the bell icon beside the subscribe button as well, so don’t forget to click that too.

Thanks guys!

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Lesson 6: Introduction to One and Two Point Perspective

How to draw one point perspective for beginnersIn this lesson, I’m going to introduce one and two-point linear perspective. Perspective drawing is a way for us to express a three dimensional space on a two dimensional surface.

Here are a few terms you will encounter throughout this lesson:

Vanishing Point(s): The point(s) where parallel lines seem to converge and disappear. To put it a different way, it’s the point or points where orthogonal lines come together.

Horizon Line (aka “Eye Level Line”): This an imaginary line represents the farthest distance in the background. In perspective drawing, a horizon line is the height of the viewer’s eyes. So, when objects are centered on the horizon line, they are sitting at your eye level. If you place an object below the horizon line, the viewer will be looking down at the object, while placing an object above the horizon line gives the illusion that it is floating above the viewer’s head.


Orthogonal Lines: Imaginary diagonal lines that are parallel to the ground plane and radiate from or converge to the vanishing point(s). They act as guidelines to help you maintain perspective while constructing a three dimensional scene.

Transversal Lines: These lines are parallel to the picture plane. They connect orthogonal lines at right angles, establishing an object’s fixed width or height.



Introduction to One-Point Perspective

One-point perspective is the easiest to learn because there is only one vanishing point. In the image below, all the perspective lines in the scene originate from a singular vanishing point on the horizon line.

When to Use One-Point Perspective

One point perspective is appropriate when drawing subjects that are facing you directly, instead of at an angle.

This method is a really popular for drawing interior spaces – like the example you’re about to see below.


How to Draw Using One-Point Perspective for Beginners

In this step by step mini tutorial, I’m going to draw a room with several people in it.

Step 1: Draw the Horizon Line and Vanishing Point

Use a ruler to draw a straight horizon line with a vanishing point that you can see clearly.


Step 2: Draw the Room

Let’s start with the wall that’s facing us directly. Use your ruler to draw a rectangle (transversal lines). Make sure the vanishing point is somewhere inside of it.

If the vanishing point is outside of the rectangle and the rest of the room is drawn, we — as viewers — will be looking at the room from the outside.

Use the ruler to align the vanishing point to one corner of the rectangle. Draw a very light orthogonal line that stretches far past that corner.

Do this for the other 3 corners of the rectangle.


Now that your orthogonal lines are in place, draw solid lines to complete the structure.


Step 3: Add Some Detail

You can add things like tables and chairs or even doorways into the scene. For this example, I’m going to keep things fairly simple. So let’s put a glass panel on the left wall to turn this room into an aquarium.

Start by drawing a set of orthogonal lines on the left wall of the room.


Add two transversal lines (or dotted lines if you’re not sure exactly what size you want it to be just yet).

Once you’re confident with the shape and size of the glass panel, draw solid lines to define the new object within the room.


Add a big sea creature into the tank!


Step 4: Add People

Draw Person #1: I’m calling him Gary… for short.

Before I draw Gary, I want to define:

  • Where he is going to stand
  • How tall he will be

To do that, draw 2 orthogonal lines. The top one will define his height and the bottom one will define how far from the wall he will be standing (look at the distance from the bottom orthogonal line to the edge of the wall). Make sure your bottom line isn’t too close to the wall or else poor Gary will be flat against it.

Then, draw a straight transversal line to define exactly where he’s going to stand.


Now all you have to do is draw Gary!


Draw Person #2: Her name shall be Lisa.

Let’s draw her along the exact same orthogonal line as Gary. Since those lines have already been defined, all I have to do now is add a transversal line to define where Lisa will stand.

How to draw one point perspective people exampleTip: If you want Lisa and Gary to have the same body proportions like the same head size or waist height, draw an orthogonal line under his chin and another one through his waist. When you draw Lisa, just make sure her chin rests on the first line and her waist intersects with the second line.


Draw Person #3: Pete

It’s getting a little crowded on the right side of the room, so let’s fill the rest of the aquarium while keeping everyone’s height the same.

To do that, use a ruler to draw a dotted horizontal line from the top of Lisa’s head and the bottom of her foot to the far left side of the room. Then draw a vertical line where you want Pete to be positioned.

Draw Pete!


Draw person #4: Tom

You’ve probably gotten the hang of it by now! But let’s draw one more person.

Tom is going to be standing in the middle of the room. To make sure he doesn’t block Gary or Lisa’s view (they’re really enjoying the sharks by the way), draw a transversal line in between Lisa and Gary.

Remember the technique you used to draw Pete? Use the same one here.

Now they can all enjoy the show.


Introduction to Two-Point Perspective

In two-point perspective, there are 2 vanishing points. A single object can be drawn using reference lines coming from both points.

Here, every edge of the shape except for vertical edges can be found by using perspective lines.


How to Draw Using Two-Point Perspective for Beginners

In this example, I’m going to draw two structures and five people.


Step 1: Draw the Horizon Line and Vanishing Points

Use a ruler to draw a straight horizon line and two dots placed well apart.


Step 2: Draw the First Structure

How to draw 2 point perspective 2 RFA

Start by drawing a small vertical line between the two vanishing points. The length of this line will determine the height of your structure.


From each vanishing point, draw 2 perspective lines. Each line must touch the top and bottom of the vertical (transversal) line you just drew).

Step 3: Continue Forming Your Structure

Between each set of perspective lines, draw another transversal line. Now the structure has 3 edges.


The new transversal lines need to be connected to both vanishing points. So draw two additional sets of orthogonal lines to connect them.


Step 4: Define Your Structure

Those orthogonal lines were used to help you form the unknown sides of the structure. Now that you have a nice set of guidelines, use solid lines to define the shape.


Step 5: Draw a Second Structure

Use the same steps to draw a second structure somewhere in the distance.


Step 6: Add people

If you want to add people, draw a vertical line to represent the average height for each person. It can go anywhere you want.


Once you have that in place, draw orthogonal lines coming from each vanishing point. They should touch the top and bottom of the vertical line.


Draw people walking along the dotted perspective lines.


To add more people in other areas of the drawing, employ the same method mentioned in the section on one-point perspective, above.


Here’s a clearer image of what’s going on without the buildings obstructing your view:

two point perspective people only


How to Find the Vanishing Point & Horizon Line in a Scene

Let’s say you went out for a walk at lunchtime and came across a beautiful cityscape you badly wanted to capture in your sketchbook. With only 25 minutes left to spare, you struggle to measure and draw all 38 buildings and 15 lamp posts in the scene in front of you. Was that enough time to get the job done?

Perhaps the better question is: Was that the right technique to get the job done?

In lesson 4, I covered measuring techniques – and although they’re great to use on several objects or individuals in the same scene, it’s very tedious for something such as a crowded street or a railway with six train tracks.

If you can find the horizon line and vanishing point(s) in an existing scene, it will reduce the amount of guesswork and measuring greatly.


One-point Perspective Example

Here’s a large L-shaped building. Without scrolling down, can you find the vanishing point and horizon line?


You can find the vanishing point of a scene by tracing your way back to its origin using orthogonal lines. Draw a straight line against every side edge of the building. Where each orthogonal line intersects, you have your vanishing point.


To find the horizon line, look at the building’s horizontal edges.

Why is it important to find the horizon line? When it comes to one-point perspective, the horizon line helps you know which angle to draw certain edges of a building or objects within a space. For example: not all photographs are perfectly level, so it’s common to come across a reference image that is tilted/slanted.


Two-Point Perspective Example

Can you find the vanishing points and horizon line for the image above without scrolling down for the answer?


Draw perspective lines along the edges of each shape until they intersect/converge. You should end up with 2 vanishing points.


To find the horizon line, simply connect both vanishing points together using a straight line.


Homework Assignment + Challenge

Here’s your homework and challenge rolled up into one assignment! What does that mean? If you complete the assignment from this lesson and post it on the RFA facebook page, I’ll share your artwork with everyone by posting it below (along with a link to your facebook page).

Sound good? Here’s the assignment:

Find a room in your house or an outdoor space with buildings, structures and/or people and draw it using linear perspective. The more detail the better! I can’t wait to see what you guys will draw!

I’m going to submit my left handed homework too… as soon as I finish the assignments from lesson 4 and 5 haha. I’m a slacker.

If you’re done the assignment and are waiting for lesson 7, sign up to my mailing list over on the right to get updated when a new lesson comes out.

UPDATE: Lesson 7 is fresh out of the oven. Click here to continue learning!

Happy drawing!

Go to Lesson 7 ->

Lesson 6: Introduction to One and Two Point Perspective Read More »

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