How to Draw an Eye with Pen

In this tutorial I will explain how to draw an eye step by step using pen and ink. Eyes drawn with pen and ink feels different from other mediums like one drawn with pencil as the tone gradations are not as subtle. Instead, use of lines and contrast in eyes drawn with penĀ  gives it intensity and power that one should strive in their drawing. If you are not comfortable with drawing parallel lines, then stippling technique is discussed later to draw the eye with pen as well.

Step 1: Draw the Outline

Start by drawing the initial outline as shown below. Shape of outline determines the final appearance and hence has a big impact on the feel of eye it creates. Later you can experiment with different shapes but in the beginning learn by drawing a generic outline like shown below.

drawing eye outline

Step 2: Draw Initial Contour Lines

Contour lines in pen drawing are curved parallel lines that bring out the underlying form through their curvature. Most important thing to understand when drawing eyes with pen are different curvatures that surfaces around the eye follow. Following drawing shows those forms and contour lines to use to bring out those forms when drawing an eye with pen.

drawing eye

It is important to understand the curvature of areas around eye that is brought out using contour lines as shown above.

Step 3: Adding Tonal Change

In addition to the curvature of the contour lines, their intensity also has to be adjusted based on light source. Parts of eye receiving more light will be light brightly with less contour lines. Areas in dark will use more contour lines to add more tone or darkness to them. In the following drawing we assume that light in directly in front slight above. More lines are used to darken areas with less light. This starts to give form to areas around the eye.


Step 4: Adjust Tone and Finish

As the form of eye begins to emerge, adjust tone of darker areas as appropriate to bring out the feel you desire. As mentioned before, an eye drawn with pen often has intensity resulting from use of dark tones. Don’t be afraid to use it.

Following is another quick example. Keep in mind that angle of source of light will dictate light and dark areas and shading will have to adjust based on that.

Texturing Eyes with Dots: Stippling

Dots (stippling) can be used as means of texturing eyes with pen if drawing contour lines is not in your comfort zone. Process is the same in terms of areas to darken to bring out the relevant forms of the areas around the eyes.

Step 1: Outline of Eye

As mentioned before, shape of eye has a big impact on the feeling it evokes. An almond shaped eye is most commonly used to represent female eye.

Step 2: Texturing with Dots (Stippling)

Use dots to add tone as shown below and discussed before.

Step 3: Further Texturing

Different level of contrast will bring out different feel for the eye. This is also a matter of personal preference. Below I have increased the contrast to give more dramatic feel to the eye.

Step 4: Finish

Adjust the final tone as desired. Here I added bit more dark near the ends to give eye more depth. This finishes this eye drawn with pen.

Following are some examples of eyes I have drawn with pen. They follow the same steps but with more details. With more experience, you can attempt such details as well.

This finishes this tutorial. Try it today with this template to practice drawing eye with pen. Check out other Step by Step drawings with pen I posted before and extensive set of FREE resources to learn to draw landscapes with pen.

Happy Drawing,


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