Hey, Four Eyes! Tips for Drawing People Wearing Eyeglasses

Trying to draw someone who wears eyeglasses can be tricky. Sometimes, it’s hard to get the shape of the frames correct or even make it look like they're actually sitting on the bridge of the nose.

Here are some easy tips for how to draw eyeglasses:

You’ll first want to grab some sort of reference to study. If you’re having trouble finding a proper photograph, take a selfie! That’s what I did. I zoomed in on my eyes and glasses, with some of my nose, eyebrows and hair for context. To draw all of this, I’m using graphite pencils (2H, HB and 3B) and general art paper.

1. Consider: How do glasses look on a face?

Before we put pencil to paper, let’s study how glasses change how someone’s face looks. Eyeglasses add shadow to the upper portion of the eyes and often intersect with part of the eyebrow. Below and behind the glasses are shadows, too. And depending on what kind of eyeglasses you’re drawing, there are highlights on the rim and lenses. It’s a lot to consider! But, much like my tutorial on drawing shiny objects , we’ll break it up into multiple and manageable steps.

An important distinction: One of the best ways to make these glasses feel like they are on the face is through the sliver of light that’s found around the inside of frames and glasses. It’s this highlight that makes them appear that they’ve lifted away from the face and there’s space between the eyeglasses and skin.

2. Draw the general outline.

Now it’s time to start drawing. I am going to start with finding the shape of the glasses first and focus on the eyes and eyebrows later. My pair have a rounded-yet-squarish frame, so that’s what I’m starting with.

Guiding lines help me to make sure that everything is even on either side of the face (including the middle of my nose). After all, we wouldn’t want crooked glasses! Once the inner part of the lenses are drawn, I’ll record the outer edge.

Let’s move to drawing the eyes. Look closely at the shape of them and notice where they are behind the glasses. Is any part obscured by the rim? How much of the eye is really seen? Draw its shape, then pupils, being thoughtful of the highlights. This is what's going to give you a realistic feel.

3. Start to fill in and shade.

Think of the outline like your roadmap. It’s going to tell you what areas are where, and how to shade them. So, it’s vital that you take your time drawing all of the little shapes you see.

Double check your work, and erase it if you aren’t happy with it. Get it perfect, because once you start shading it’s hard to go back. When it comes to this step, I always work light to dark. Why? Because it’s easier to erase light pencil lines!

Start by giving the drawing an overall tone, with the exception of the white highlights. Then, look at your reference and see where it starts to get darker. A mixture of the two will give your drawing depth, so be sure that you avoid a lot of outlines and work on placing different contrasting tones next to each other.

4. Define, refine and don’t be afraid to erase.

So, you've gone through and drawn the shapes and added the shadows. You're almost done!

Now it's time to take a look and assess your work. Do the eyeglasses look like they're sitting on someone's face? If not, do they need more shading? More highlights? Don't be afraid to step away from the drawing. Sometimes a fresh perspective is just what you need.


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October 20, 2014
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Hey, Four Eyes! Tips for Drawing People Wearing Eyeglasses