My name is Jonene Ficklin, and I'm a full-time wife, mom, writer, and professional artist. I've been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I use colored pencils, oil paints, and watercolors. I love what I do!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lesson 13 - How To Draw Eyebrows

Let's go back to the basic proportions of the face. When you drew the bridge of your nose from the ball in the nose up to the eye line, it went straight on both sides (see lesson 10 - Drawing a Nose). But now at the eyeline, the nose line will curve up and into the eyebrows, like the example below. Now this one is female, and females like their brows tweezed and arched. I have two different levels of arches below, both of which are acceptable for females. Males, however, like their brows thick, non-arching, non-tweezed and hairy.

So, here's what I'm going to do. I'll show you how I draw male and female eyebrows and show the differences. First, they start off the same. Unless you have a unibrow, the insides of your eyebrows start straight up from the inside corner of your eye, or a 90 degree angle.

Your brows go straight back from there. Coming off the top lid of the eye, you get the next mark. This is where your brow will begin to change angles. It's the same for both male and female, and coming from the corner of your eye, it's a 35 degree angle.

Now, coming off the corner of the eye, your brow will end at the 15 degree mark, or using the iris and pupil as a marker, you will cut an angle that will just shave through the top of the pupil, or upper third of the iris. For guys, this last angle can be lower, and their eyebrow wider. Note how his line goes about through the middle of the pupil and iris.

When you put in the outlines of the eyebrows, it will look like this. Note that the female eyebrow is thinner and angles more, particularly on the under-side.

Okay, if you drew in the outlines above, erase them until just barely visible. It's time to get hairy. Look in the mirror at the bottom hairs in your eyebrow. They angle up and slightly toward the outer edge of your eye. As the eye angle changes, the hairs angle further and further out toward the corner of your eye (a little like doing eyelashes.)

Next, look in a mirror at the top hairs in your eyebrows. They angle down and toward the outer edge of your eye, like below.

It's time to fill them in. Working just above the bottom hairs, add more that angle up and out, but watch out for making strokes that are darker than the others. It's easy to do, and then that part stands out. Instead, keep your strokes about the same darkness as you work. To make parts darker, do it by drawing another layer on top of the previous one, rather than trying to push harder.

Now to finalize, add a light tone along the top and bottom of the eyebrow, to tie in the stray lines. For the male eye, add a few more stray hairs at the beginning and end of the eyebrow.

If you so desire, go back and shade in your eye. One thing of note on the male eye, notice the eyelashes. On a female eye, they curve and curl out away from the upper eyelid. On the male, they don't curve and they go out over the eye itself. Keep them light.

Disclaimer: As I've said before, this is a basic pattern, and every individual varies from the pattern slightly. Eyebrows can be quite unique, so pay attention to how close they sit over the eye, the angles at the front and back, thickness and hairiness. To get a feel for individual eyebrows, sit down and draw a bunch of them from a bunch of different people.

And there you have it! You're an eyebrow expert.

Next week: How to draw a jawline and outside lines of the face.


  1. I love how you put both male and female together. I loved seeing how the small differences really added up to big ones. Great post!

  2. I love the mathematics behind this! You are so amazing. I'm always blown away by your posts. I wish I could draw this well!

  3. Leisha and Lydia, thanks! It's fun sharing.

  4. ola Jonene Ficklin gostei dos tutorial de desenhos,sempre gostei de desenho mas não pudi seguir o desenho agora estou com 64 anos apo setado, depois de velho quero aprender a desenhar,obrigado pela dicas


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