How To Color Anime Eyes – Step-by-Step Art Tutorial

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Draw the Line Art for the Eye

The coloring process starts by first drawing the line art for the eye.

Line art for the anime eye.

Add a Shadow Under the Eyebrow and Iris

You can create a shadow for the eye by using the multiply layer mode under the line art layer.

The first thing to do is to create a shadow under the eyebrow and to the top of the iris. I also blocked in colors for the sclera (white area of the eye). The color of the sclera will differentiate it from the skin color.

I will create a new layer and set the blending mode (layer mode) to multiply, then create a clipping mask for the sclera layer.

To make everything fit well together, I will change the colors during the coloring process.

This will create a shadow under the upper eyelashes.

Next, I’m going to show you what options look best when coloring. This technique is not necessary for a realistic eye but more for a fictional eye that fits this type of art.

Create a Base Color for the Iris

I will be creating the base color for the iris. To do that, I will make a layer and a clipping mask on top of the base color.

Then I will select a really nice-looking color for it. I can change the base color later on. For now, the sclera looks pretty good with the selected base color.

So, to start that, I will create a very basic shading. I will make another layer and create a gradient for the base color, and for this, I will use multiply layer mode. This feature helps the colors work well together and will keep the colors correct.

Next, I will reduce the opacity a little to get the underlying color more visible so that it comes through.

I will create another shadow that can be colored the same way the gradient color was. This part is yet another new layer. I can place it there and reduce the opacity.

You can clearly see when I reduce the opacity; the layers begin to add up slowly and look fantastic; however, if you feel like the color was not the exact way you wanted. You can just keep tweaking the color and opacity until it looks just right.

Next, I will create another highlight layer. I will try a slightly different color. I am not exactly sure which one yet. However, I will use this just under the pupil.

Now, you can test different layer modes and see which creates the best results. However, if I wanted to make it a bit more unique, I would use a mask and erase some parts.

Next, I will create a small highlight. I will use a different color this time, and I will use something like a complementary color scheme to create an effect that looks really good.

You can then select different layer modes until you find something special that you think is visually appealing.

If you want to emphasize the shadows more, you can create another layer and set it to “multiply.” Then, use a gradient, or you can also create a type of gradient results using an airbrush.

Next, I will add a few highlights to the iris to make it look magical and to give it some depth and needed variety.

To truly give the eye some needed candy flavor, I create a new layer and set the layer mode to overlay. Then I just draw a few speckles around the iris to give that authentic anime and manga vibe.

The eye is undoubtedly starting to look good now, and I will make some final adjustments. I would not say it is complete just yet, so I will slightly modify the eyelashes’ color.

I will also soften the eye white a little. Next, I will blend the line art a little to the eye somewhat more. Things are finally starting to look right now.

Now, at this point, I have been able to show you that the whole eye was colored layer by layer. So, when drawing or coloring anime eyes, I suggest you color the eyes one layer at a time.

I do not usually or always draw or color precisely this way with regard to the anime eyes. However, when coloring them and wanting to emphasize the eyes, you should dedicate a folder specific to coloring eyes so that this level of quality is the final result.

It is apparent that this was done layer by layer and just trying different layer modes and layering effects. I could go even further if I wanted to, but this will now do.

This method is how I approach coloring anime eyes. Hopefully, this provides value and knowledge with regard to how to color anime eyes.

Please check out my Patreon page for even more anime and manga art and resources, and I look forward to seeing you online.

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