The Best Way To Draw Eye Expressions, Step By Step!

Draw Facial Expressions - Eye Expressions by Don Corgi
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Drawing Eye Expressions

Is your Character looking very Stale and Emotionless?

That’s because it needs some Expression! Remember that it’s not all about your Posing and Gesture Drawing (although that really helps too!), it needs to transmit Expression through his/her own face as well.

“But how do I make him angrier/happier/sadder?” you ask.

Well that’s what this Post is all about, so let’s get into it.


Eye Expressions and the Emotions

Remember how we’ve talked about Angular being more Menacing when creating the Eye Shapes? This rule also applies to many different things, including Expressions! The more Angular the Eyebrow is the more Menacing and Angry the Character will look like, this is very useful if you’re creating a Villain Character or if your Character is just having a bad day.

Let’s give it a test.


Draw Facial Expressions - Eye Expressions Examples by Don Corgi

Another rule of Thumb is the closer the Inside tip of the Eyebrow is to the Nose, the ANGRIER it looks.

And the Opposite is also true, if you Invert the overall shape of the eyebrow, making the Inside tip go Up instead of down, it will look far less Menacing and rather more Scared or Sad.

If you’d like to make it even Sadder or more Scared just make a more Loose line for the Eyebrow instead of it being completely Angular. A nice Wave form will help a lot conveying the feeling of the Emotion.


Drawing Happy Expressions

To do this, let’s create an Eyebrow with the same Direction of an Angular one but keep it Smooth, a nice Big Curve and a bit Higher Up than the usual. This will make your character look Happy and Amused, can you see the HUGE difference it makes?

I mentioned more on how to draw cute eyes in this article.


What if I don’t want to rely on Eyebrows for the Expressions?

Well let’s use the Eye Expressions then!

The Eyes can give a lot of Expression simply by changing a few things.

As a Rule of Thumb, the Larger the Eye the More Emphasis it gives to the overall Expression, it basically magnifies whatever your Character is feeling Tenfold.

So if you’re making a Happy Expression with Big eyes, it will look SUPER HAPPY!

But if instead you Squint the eye , it will look more Amused or Laughing.


Draw Facial Expressions - Eye Expressions Size Examples by Don Corgi


Bigger and Smaller Eye Expressions

Let’s try this with an Angry Expression. If you add a Large Eye to the already Angry expression, it will look VERY ANGRY, like if it’s ready to kill whoever he/she’s looking at. But it will look like it’s conspiring something, plotting some evil plan or just a bit Annoyed in general if you Squint the Eye making it smaller and narrower.

On the Other hand if you’re making a Sad Expression with a Big Eye, it will look extra Sad and Mopey or even Scared. But if you make the eye Smaller and Squinting, it will just make it look a bit disappointed an Teary Eyed.

Alright I could keep on and on with this but there’s so much to Cover that I don’t want to Overwhelm you with Information, I hope this post has been useful to you!

Leave a Comment showing your Angry/Sad/Happy Characters so I can take a look!



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Patricia Caldeira is the main writer here at Don Corgi. She's an art teacher with over 20.000 happy students across many platforms and courses!

Enjoy your stay and as always:
Keep on drawing!