The topic for Week 13 is drawing kawaii eyes and mouths. I wanted to focus on just eyes and mouths first, before moving on to kawaii expressions for next week’s topic.
The goal not to simply memorise a few eyes and mouths, which is limited. The goal is to understand the different categories of kawaii eyes and mouths, which makes it easier to remember them and to select the best-fitting ones for a particular expression.
How to Draw (and Remember) Kawaii Eyes
Let’s start with the eyes.
First, I researched the web and filled two pages with different kawaii eyes and expressions. I wasn’t trying to remember them or get them perfect — I just wanted to get a feeling for different kawaii eyes.
I was soon able to sort kawaii eyes into 5 categories: 1) kawaii eyes drawn with simple lines, 2) dot-style kawaii eyes, 3) fancy kawaii eyes with solid areas, 4) kawaii eyes as objects, and 5) kawaii eyes with accessories.
Why categorise? To make them easier to remember! I don’t want to look up the eyes every time I need to draw a face. I want to be able to draw them from memory, and to pick the most appropriate eye style for a particular expression. I will explain below.
But first, let’s look at examples of the 4 kawaii eye categories.
1. Kawaii Eyes Drawn with Simple Lines
This type of kawaii expression is as simple as it gets. In the image below I drew 12 kawaii faces with different eyes, but I kept the mouths and head shapes the same. This way you (and I) can really see how different eyes affect the final expression.
2. Dot-Style Kawaii Eyes
This style is a little more detailed and a little more expressive. In essence, these eyes are composed of dot with a line or shape around it.
The line or shape around the dot is like an eyebrow, it amplifies the emotion.
The dot can be solid or open, either way works. But keep the dot small.
Dot-style eyes are really good to use, if you want to show the direction the character is looking at. The third line of the heads below demonstrates this concept.
3. Fancy Kawaii Eyes with Solid Areas
This style of eyes is very expressive and bold. I find that it works well with simple mouths. This way the features are not competing for attention.
Solid eyes should (almost) always have a sparkle. Otherwise, they end up looking like black holes, which doesn’t add to the kawaii charm. This is not a rule, but purely my own personal preference. Take it or leave it :)
4. Kawaii Eyes As Objects
These eyes reflect an intense desire of the character, whether it’s money, cheese or diamonds. It’s as if the object is reflecting in the eyes of kawaii, or as if the internal emotion is so strong that it’s coming out through the eyes.
Below are 8 examples.
5. Kawaii Eyes with Accessories
The final way to draw kawaii eyes is to add accessories. Glasses can easily replace the eyes, or be added to the eyes for an different look. Below are 3 faces with glasses: “cool dude”, “nerd” and “victorian era” :)
I guess, eyes can be accessorised by tears too, heh.
This is a fun way to dress up your character. I will look at kawaii accessories in detail for Week 18 of this drawing challenge. But here are a few examples.
How to Draw Kawaii Mouths
For Week 12 of this drawing challenge I purchased PicCandle’s practice sheets for drawing kawaii expressions. In the download, Zainab includes a blank page of heads to practice the expressions. So instead of drawing full kawaii faces, I filled the sheet with different kawaii mouths and kept the eyes as simple dots. This way I can clearly see the effect of each mouth on the overall expression.
This was a good way to experiment with different kawaii mouths. I again saw patterns, which can be used to draw kawaii mouths from memory and to select the best-fitting mouth for the expression.
Once you understand the rules of thumb, it’s easy to remember different types mouths.
Rules of Thumb for Drawing Kawaii Mouths
Here are 5 rules of thumb to help you with selecting and remembering kawaii mouths.
- If the corners of the mouth are pointing up, the character looks happy. If the corners are pointing down, the expression is sad.
- If the overall shape of the mouth is flat, the expression is neutral or unamused.
- If the mouth is sideways, the character smirking. Good for evil faces!
- If the mouth shape is oval or oblong, the expression is fear or surprise.
- Adding a tongue exaggerates the emotion.
The drawing below demonstrates some of the rules. I kept the eyes the same in each of the rows, and changed the mouth to see the resulting expression. It’s fun!
To finish this week’s drawing practice, I decided to experiment with different eyes and mouths. The first row has an expressive mouth that would usually work with grumpy eyes. But I just wanted to see what it would look like with other eyes, like sparkly girly eyes and freckles :)
The second row has an oval mouth showing teeth, which I paired with a few different eyes. I should create another rule of thumb here: fancy mouths work best with simple eyes, and vice versa.
For the bottom row, I used two very similar mouths. But in one case, the corners of the mouth are pointing up, and in the other they are pointing down. The result? A different emotion is expressed, even though the mouths are almost the same.
Pens I Used This Week
Disclosure: the Amazon links below are affiliate links. This means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will make a small commission, at no expense to you. I only link to materials and resources that I love and use myself. It's my way of keeping this blog ad-free :)
- Artline Drawing pen, size o4, black. This is becoming my goto pen :) I like it better than Micron in this size, because it writes smoother and feels “juicier”. But for a bigger size, I prefer Micron Graphic series.
- Micron Graphic pen, size 1, black
- 30 Cute / Kawaii Eyes to Doodle video by PicCandle
- Kawaii expressions practice sheet by Zainab Khan
- Manga for the Beginner Kawaii book by Chris Hart
- 1500 Colorful Illustrations book by Shihoka Mori
Drawing Time Diary
Monday, Feb 6: no drawing
Tuesday, Feb 7: 1 h 15 mins
Wednesday, Feb 8: 1 h 30 mins
Thursday, Feb 9: 45 mins, 1 h
Friday, Feb 10: 30 mins, 40 mins
Saturday, Feb 11: no drawing
Sunday, Feb 12: no drawing
Total drawing time: 5 h 40 mins