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This post is adapted from For Your Eyes Only (Lesson 12 in Drawing Lab)


Even though I love drawing stylized animals the most, I believe drawing from life as much as possible makes my stylized work more “authentic.”

If you want to practice drawing realistically, eyes are a fantastic place to start.

What are some of the most fascinating eyes out there? Cat eyes! Almond-shaped, other-worldly and appearing to gaze beyond mere human experience.

Assignment: Draw 4 Variations of a Cat Eye

We are going to draw four different cat-eyes, the first one using only pencil, the second with pen and ink, the third with vine charcoal, and the fourth in color, using colored pencil.

Your sketchbook
Kneaded rubber eraser
Felt tip pen
Vine charcoal
Small set of colored pencils


1. With your pencil, draw a grid with four rectangles and lightly sketch the basic shape of the cat-eye in each box. Try to make them all the same size, and as accurate as you can (though you can adjust as you go, so there is no need to spend too much time erasing at this point)! I’ve worked small; the outer edge of the frame is about 5.5 inches.


2. In the first box, use your pencil for shading and cross-hatching and building up value (lights and darks). Keep your eraser handy and use it to pull out highlights. Reference your photo often!

3. Repeat the above step for the three other eyes, now using pen, vine charcoal, and colored pencils. Look at the all subtle variations in the iris. Be as detailed as you like.


4. This is a chance to play around with different media and let your intuition guide you. The assignment should take no more than a half hour total; try to let go of perfection and just do your best!

Taking it Further:
Once you practice drawing realistic eyes, drawing stylized ones will become even more fun:


Have a wonderful day!