If you want to draw a portrait that differs from the ordinary face with both eyes open you should explore your options. A portrait with both eyes closed is a beautiful way to express sensuality and seduction. By following the 8 steps of this tutorial you will learn how to draw closed eyes that look realistic.
We start with the equipment list used for this tutorial before we look at the whole drawing process.
Equipment used to draw closed eyes
- HB Pencil
- 2B Pencil
- Kneading rubber
- Drawing paper
Step 1: Determine eye size and distance
The basis for a realistic drawing are harmonious proportions. In frontal perspective – as we use it in this tutorial – the distance between the two eyes is one eye width. Depending on the person, the distance between the eyes of a real person differs a little bit, but as an orientation this “one eye distance” works perfectly.
Use a ruler to draw a fine horizontal line on your paper. Divide the total length of the line into 3 sections of equal length. The two outer marks represent the outer corners of the eyes, the inner marks the inner corners of the eyes.
Step 2: Angle and shape of the closed eyes
Next, draw two circles freehand over the 1st and 2nd line, and over the 3rd and 4th line. Don’t worry. It does not have to be perfectly round.
Erase the horizontal help line from step 1.
Now look at your reference image and draw a new construction line through the center of the circle. This line will give the eye its shape and determine the curve of the lashes. For most people it is common that the inner corner of the eye is a little lower than the outer one.
Step 3: Draw the eyelids of closed eyes
Now give the new support line a swing that will mark the course of the upper and lower eyelids. It is important that the eyelid line roughly crosses the points of intersection of the support line with the circle in order to maintain the correct angle.
When you are finished drawing both eyelids you can erase the construction line from step 3.
Step 4: Draw the eyebrows
With a small distance above the circles you can now draw in the eyebrows. The shape of the eyebrows is also based on your reference motif. We have chosen a classic curve and drawn it with a fine border.
Step 5: Drawing closed eyes means mastering shading
To draw the fine curves and curves of the eyeballs, nose and eyebrows, you need to be able to draw soft shades. For this we use the HB pencil and a kneaded eraser.
However, before you start shading, make sure you erased all supporting lines so that they are not visible anymore. It helps if you did not apply much pressure when drawing these lines.
Next, draw shadows on the bridge of the nose, the eyelids (getting darker towards the outside) and the cheeks. You can do this in layers and alternately soften the newly drawn area with a blending stump to achieve a smoother, more even result.
Step 6: Finishing the eyebrows
If you are satisfied with the shades, you can draw over the eyelid with a 2B pencil and then proceed to draw the eyebrows. Learn how to draw beautiful eyebrows in our tutorial.
Step 7: How to draw closed eyes – Draw wrinkles
To make the eyes look more real, you can add small wrinkles above the eyelid and draw the eyelid fold. Draw several diagonal lines from the eyelid towards the outer corner of the eye. A harder pencil is recommended for very fine lines.
In order to harmonize these wrinkles with the rest of the shading, you should blend the area. Either use a blending stump and wipe several times, or use a HB pencil and shade the area around the eyelid again.
Next, take your kneaded eraser and erase very fine lines in the same diagonal direction. These light lines should be implied where the light hits the eyes.
Step 8: Draw lashes
If you want to learn how to draw closed eyes that look realistic you should pay special attention to the lashes. Start with a few individual lashes, which you spread over the length of the eyelid. Draw the outer and inner lashes a little shorter and the ones in the middle a little longer.
Then take your 2B pencil and fill up the lashes a little more to make them look fuller. Last but not least, you can also darken the eyelid a little where the lashes originate. After all, the little hair cast a shadow here too, which should be marked.