Drawing the Eyes

The eyes are where most beginners start. The eye first must be placed into the bony architecture of the eye socket where it is protected by the brow and cheek bone. Look at the drawing.

Drawing the eye 1
Drawing the eye 1

Start by drawing the eye as a ball. Establish the corners of the eye as if they were attached to a rod going through them, and then wrap the line over the eye from one point to the next, as in Illustrations No. 31 and 32. Try to see the eyelid as it goes over the eyeball like a series of flat planes.

Drawing the eye 2
Drawing the eye 2

Look at the Illustrations on the page to get a clear idea of the use of the planes.

Drawing the eye planes
Drawing the eye planes

As we place the eye into the eye socket, we need to leave a space between the corner of the eye and the nose. In the drawing below, observe all of the components that we have been studying, including how the corner of the eye socket connects the brow and the nose.

Drawing the eye 4
Drawing the eye 4

Between the eye socket and the eye is a padding of fat that varies from individual to individual. In the drawing below, “A” is being created by this fat pad.

Drawing the eye 5
Drawing the eye 5

Secondary folds, whether created by age, individual variation, or ethnic differences, are approached the same way as the edge of the eye lid that goes over the ball of the eye. The only difference is the starting and ending points.

Drawing the eye 6
Drawing the eye 6

By Glenn Vilppu

This article was taken from the Head Drawing and Anatomy, Volume One Manual. This book parallels very closely the head drawing classes that I teach, and a majority of the illustrations were created as lecture demonstrations in class. Consequently, this is in reality a head drawing and anatomy manual to be used by students in my classes as a textbook. The use of this manual should be of equal value to those working on their own who are unable to attend my classes in person. The material is the same as in my classes with the advantage of portability and no time constraints.

I have consistently found myself drawn to the fundamentals in teaching drawing. A solid grounding in the basics, approached as tools of expression, rather than rules that must be followed, free the artist allowing him or her to follow their individual direction.

The basis of my approach is founded on very simple grounds. First, you must know how to describe form. Second, you must understand the form you are drawing. These first two give you the freedom of expression.

As you go through the chapters, you will become aware of another basic element of my approach: to do anything you must have a clear cut procedure, the knowledge to put it to use and, of course, the spirit to carry it to completion. None of this is new, and in fact, everything I teach has a very long history. I think of myself as a student just as much as a teacher; each drawing I do is in reality an analysis of what I am drawing. I am constantly telling my students that we never copy the model, but that we are trying to understand it through visual thinking.

Approach this manual as you would any textbook, as a guide to learning.

Glenn Vilppu teaches life drawing at the American Animation Institute, the Masters program of the UCLA Animation Dept., Walt Disney Feature Animation, Warner Bros. Feature Animation, Dreamworks and Rhythm & Hues Studios. Vilppu has also worked in the Animation industry for 18 years as a layout, storyboard and presentation artist, most of this time was spent working at Disney. His drawing manual and video tapes are being used worldwide as course materials for animation students. Glenn Vilppu has, in effect, either through teaching them directly or teaching their teachers, trained an entire generation of professional animators.

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