One of the most distinctive features of southeast Asian eyes is that the eyelid crease is tapered instead of parallel with the top eyelid.
You can easily make any drawing of an eye go from, for example, Caucasian to southeast Asian by changing just a few aspects which we’ll dive into as we go along.
If you’ve already followed my other tutorials on drawing eyes, you can skip straight to step 4 because most steps are similar.
Step 1: Draw a Circle
Start by drawing a faint circle. This is the eyeball. It doesn’t have to be perfect because we’re going to completely erase it later.
Step 2: Pick an Angle
Eyes can slant in a variety of ways. Choose how slanted you want your eye to be and draw a line going through the circle at the angle you prefer.
Note: For this tutorial, the left side of my circle is going to be the inner side of the eye.
Step 3: Draw the Inner Corner of the Eye
You can use a wide variety of shapes for the inner corner of the eye. I drew a deep V shape, but you can also draw a U or a mix of the two, etc. It can be narrow, wide, shallow, deep, small or large.
Here are a few examples:
Step 4: Draw the Top Lid
While staying within the boundary of your circle, draw the top eyelid. It can take on a variety of shapes. A high arch will give you a large eye. I’m going for a medium sized one.
While you’re drawing it, picture the eyelid hugging the spherical eyeball.
When drawing caucasian eyes, I like to end my stroke at the intersection of the circle and straight line, but for an Asian eye, I like to extend my stroke just a little further:
I also like to do the same thing with the inner corner of the eye. It makes the skin look as though it’s in tension:
Step 5: Draw the Bottom Lid
Now let’s draw the bottom lid. Try to keep it close to the line we drew in step 2. The bottom lid should appear a lot less curved than the top one, but not completely flat/straight.
Step 6: Add a Crease
Here’s where we can make the eye look Asian or Caucasian. We’re going to draw a crease that runs above the top eyelid.
To make the eye appear Asian, taper your pencil stroke at the inner corner of the eye. The degree you taper it is up to you – In the example below, the eyelid crease is only visible at the very end.
For some southeast Asians, the crease may not be visible at all, and for others, it may even run parallel to the top eyelid instead of being tapered on one end.
Here’s an example of a parallel crease, which is common amongst people of Caucasian descent.
Step 7: Erase Outlines
Carefully erase all your construction lines: the circle and straight line.
Step 8: Add Some Details
Located at the inner corner of the eye is an area called the caruncula. It’s a soft pink bit of flesh that is separate from the eyeball. You can draw a curve or two right there to indicate the transition between the two forms. In the video at the end of this post, I’ll show you how to shade it.
To draw an iris of the right size, I like to measure the eyeball horizontally and divide the space into four. The iris will take up about 2/4’s of the eyeball. For example:
To draw a realistic looking iris, draw a full circle and then erase parts that fall outside of the eyeball. This step should be drawn lightly. Once you work out the position and size you want, darken the iris outline.
Step 9: Shade Your Eyes
To learn how to shade an eye and more, please refer to the video below.
Iris detailing – 5:43
Shading – 18:09
Eyelashes – 30:50
Learn how to draw more eye shapes here: How to draw 6 different eye shapes
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Darlene created RFA In 2013 with the goal of sharing simple yet detailed drawing tutorials with other artists on the world wide web. She is a self taught pencil portrait artist and Youtuber.