Cartoon Eyes Expressions Study

Sunday, 11 January 2015

While working at Disney many years ago, we were asked to do a drawing exercise to explore expression using only the eyes. Some of the eyes we drew ended up in The Illusion of Life book. The idea was to see how many variations we could get by changing up brows, eyelids, pupil direction, etc. We were told that the first thing the audience looks for when connecting with a character on the screen are the eyes. Therefore, the eyes needed to clearly convey the thoughts and emotion of the character. This is a fun exercise I thought some of you might like to try.


1.) The left eye doesn't have to do what the right eye is doing. Variation can add life to your expressions. 

2.) Don't think of eyelids as "windshield wipers" or "venetian blinds" mechanically moving over the eye. They are soft fleshy parts that wrap around the eye and can change shape when pushed and pulled by facial muscles.