How to Draw Tears: Helpful Tips, Strategies and a Full-Length Tutorial

Tears are one of the most powerful expressions of emotion. Whenever we see a person crying, our empathy kicks in and we want to know what’s wrong or how we can help. Tears also have a way of making us feel things more deeply.

If you want to learn how to draw tears then this article is for you! We will answer some of the most common questions about drawing tears and provide a full-length tutorial. It doesn’t matter if you’re new or old at drawing – we have tips that can help anyone.

Before You Start Drawing

The best way to practice drawing tears for beginners is to draw cartoon characters since it’s easier to make mistakes on those illustrations! Nowadays there are many tutorials available online so you can try finding a few of them and then just choose one that seems most useful or interesting.

Drawing realistic tears is a bit trickier than drawing cartoonish ones so if you don’t want your picture to look too exaggerated, try using the hatching technique with darker colors and keep in mind that contours under the eyes must be visible!

If these elements are missing it may seem as if someone has forgotten their lines when reading some dialogue from a movie script – people won’t take such drawings seriously because they lack realism.

You can draw something simple but still full of content: just check out this tutorial about drawing tears on faces and notice what kind of details we added. It looks very cool and the way it’s done is simple so you can try doing this on your own.

So let’s jump right in!

Supplies You’ll Need to Draw Tears

For starters, you’ll need to have a piece of paper and then choose the right pencil. If you’re not sure which one would work for your drawing, just try testing out different leads on some scrap paper – that way you can see what colors they produce when applied to dark surfaces.

It’s also important to keep in mind whether or not it’s possible for you to erase mistakes!

For example, if someone is using graphite pencils with hard lead which doesn’t smudge very easily, there won’t be much room for errors since everything must look perfect from start until the end. On the other hand, softer leads are easier to handle but these kinds of pencils might leave unwanted marks after erasing them multiple times.

How to Draw Tears Anime

Tears in anime and manga look different than real ones because the characters usually have bigger eyes so their tears are longer when they fall down from them, but these differences should be not too obvious for such details to become distracting.

When learning to draw tears it’s important to understand emotions people experience when crying – these droplets are rarely drawn in a plain way so take this task very seriously even if you want something that looks cute or funny!

These drawings may have different purposes but they all must look natural no matter what kind of tear-inducing situation took place in the background.

Emotions of your character will often convey more through body language than the actual dialogue. In comics and manga, you will need to indicate how your characters feel with their faces and poses rather than relying on your text bubbles alone.

To get started drawing tears, we should first understand what exactly is happening when a person cries.


  • Angry
  • Sad
  • Happy
  • Excited

The first thing to do when drawing tears is deciding what kind of tears are they going to be – sad or joyous? Tears may also have both qualities at once but usually, one outweighs another. If your characters cry because something bad happened, their eyes will look more narrow and wrinkle lines will show up.

Angry and sad tears are the easiest to draw since they look quite similar. Try focusing on drawing a tear that’s falling down from an eye – it doesn’t have to be perfect but if you can get this element right then your picture is really successful!

If people smile while crying at once droplets around the eyes will have an oval shape with one side being flat and another rounded depending on whether the face is convex or concave at that particular moment.

Tears of happiness are going to be easy to draw – they will usually be more round and their size won’t change much, only tears from sorrow may become bigger. In this case, you should keep in mind that tear ducts that make eyes moist get narrow when a character is angry or sad so your drawing must reflect these emotions! Don’t draw droplet-like shapes for eyes if your character is sad or angry!

If people smile while crying at once then droplets around the eyes will have an oval shape with one side being flat and another rounded depending on whether a face is convex or concave at that particular moment.

The best way to practice for beginners is by working on drawings of characters who cry because something bad happened.


  • Falling down
  • Moving to the side
  • Pushed out by force (water coming from a hose)

The watery liquid which comes out of your eyes can be drawn using the hatching technique – you’re making small lines that go in one direction and then change their course for about 90 degrees so they look like waves or ripples on the water surface.

If something pushes tears away make sure to take it into account when describing these droplets since this will affect how much space there is between them!

Try adding some waves on the surface of the water if you want your drawing to be taken seriously – these ripples will add realism to the picture!


  • Wrinkles around eyes
  • Contours under them (bags)

Wrinkles around eyes can be added by drawing two or three curved lines under them. Contours under the eye may look like bags and you shouldn’t exaggerate their size but it’s still useful to draw some shadows if they’re present in your reference photo!

Realistic drawings are usually interesting because they feature lots of details that tend to make viewers wonder about the story behind every picture. This is why it’s worth putting effort into learning to draw tears realistically no matter what skill level you’re currently at. It will come in handy sooner than later.


  • Not very realistic (bright colors)
  • More realistic picture (dark colors)

If you’re trying to draw realistic tears try using the hatching technique with darker colors. If your picture is not meant to be taken seriously, choose bright colors and make the drawing look more cartoonish by putting some simple lines around eyes instead of wrinkles!


  • Tearing up because something bad happened
  • Tearing up for other reasons
  • While making an expression (smiling or frowning)

The background of the picture should show where you are portraying emotion; it helps set up an environment/atmosphere around your characters.

Settings in anime drawing mostly depend on its genre so you can’t expect to see similar backgrounds for each story but don’t forget about the weather!

Rain, fog, and snow are all related to sad or angry emotions so if your anime character is crying a lot then you should take into account these elements as well.

Character Type

  • Younger character
  • Older character
  • Girls
  • Boys

People of all ages can cry because it’s a natural human behavior. However, older characters are more likely to show how they feel by crying since younger ones may try to hide their tears or smile through them!

When drawing children’s crying faces always keep in mind that teardrops won’t really roll down from these big round globes without any support! You can draw some curves under each tear to make it more visible.

Adult men rarely cry out loud so there are no visible signs on their faces except for the weeping eyes.

If your character is younger then it’s easier to draw them with tears because they may have rounder eyes. On the other hand, older characters can be drawn using the hatching technique if their face looks wrinkled due to age so feel free to experiment until you find something that works best for you!

Now we have all necessary knowledge about drawing tears. Let’s start drawing!

Anime Tears Tutorial

Option 1:

  1. Draw a squiggly line that curves on each side of the eye.
  2. Draw a “u” like shape for the tear.
  3. Draw two curving lines and then connect them at the bottom with a curving tear shape.

Use this kind of tears when a character first starts crying.

Option 2:

  1. Draw two oval shapes in the eye.
  2. Draw a whole bunch of circles and ovals for the tears.

Use this kind of tears when a character starts yelling while they’re crying or there’s a sudden burst of emotions.

Option 3:

  1. Draw a squiggly shape all around the lower eyelash line.
  2. Draw a “u” like shape for the tear.
  3. Draw two curving lines and then connect them at the bottom with a curving tear shape. Try to follow the shape of the face.
  4. Draw some tears dripping off the face.

Use this kind of tears when there are too many tears so they start overflowing.

Option 4:

  • Draw the tears outlines.

  • Draw filled circles inside to add shine.

  • Add some shading to the tears using the color of your skin tone.

  • Use dark brown color to add circular shades to the tears.

  • Add soft lighting using a lighter skin tone.

  • (Optional) Add cross light for more shininess.

Remember that it’s easier to start learning how to draw tears once you’ve mastered other drawing techniques first – don’t neglect practicing eyes and mouths! That being said, these things do come naturally after a while so there’s no need to worry if you’re still struggling with them at the moment. Just keep following your passion because doing this will eventually lead you somewhere even though it may not seem like it at first sight.

How to Draw Realistic Tears

Anatomy of a Tear

The first thing you’ll want to do is familiarize yourself with the anatomy of a tear. That might sound odd, but it really helps if you know what you’re drawing and how it should look before putting a pencil on paper.

There are four main elements that make up tears: an upper eyelid, a lower eyelid, an eyeball, and watery liquid coming from inside your eyes. It can help tremendously to study some images of people crying so that these areas become more clear and easier for you when trying to draw them.

Drawing Realistic Eyes

Drawing the Round Eyeball Circle Shapes

  • Start by drawing a circle that will become the eyeball. Use a hard pencil (2H) for this step. Then add depth and realism with a softer one. Make sure you don’t press too hard on your pencil.
  • Draw the iris in the middle of the eyeball. It’s usually twice smaller.
  • The size of the pupil changes depending on the light. Draw the size you prefer.

Drawing the Eye Shape

Draw the eyelids and shape the eye. Obviously, the length of your eye is determined by the eyeball’s first circle. The inner corner is a little lower than the outer one. To draw the lids, connect both corners. Make sure the top of the iris is covered by the lid. The underside lid is shallower than its counterpart on top.

Drawing the Lashlines

The next step of your sketch is to draw the upper and lower lashlines. You don’t need to draw eyelashes at this step. It’s much better to draw these after the shading part is completed.

The Reflection of the Eye

  • Draw the reflection on the pupil to show where the light source is. Reflections can be drawn in lots of different shapes depending on the light source.
  • Fill in the pupil using the black pencil.

Drawing the Iris of the Eye

  • Fill in the iris and blend the pencil to get a smooth and even surface. Give more darkness to the ring of the iris. Even if the eye has a very dark natural color, the iris ring is darker anyway. Every iris is a beautiful and unique thing so if you do a good one, you have almost done a cool realistic eye.
  • Add a shadow. Even though you haven’t drawn the lashes yet, you have to think about them because they cast a shadow right under the upper lid. That means that the area under the upper lid is going to be a little darker. Blend the pencil if needed.
  • To give the iris a beautiful structure add some lines coming out of the pupil. They can be both straight and curved. Don’t forget to blend it. You can also add light lines to your eye using the eraser.

Shading the Cornea

Shade the white of the eye. The area right under the upper lid is darker because the lashes block the light. Slightly shade the entire cornea making it darker on top and in the outer corner. Blend everything carefully.

Drawing the Tear Duct

Fill in the tear duct using a 2H pencil and blending it. Pull down the highlights in the middle of it using the eraser.

Drawing and Shading the Upper Lid

Fill in the upper lid and blend it afterward. When blending, you have to follow the direction of your strokes. Make sure the shadows are pretty smooth and don’t have any hard edges. You can achieve this result by taking your time and making steady strokes that are really close to each other.

Drawing and Shading the Lower Lid

Do the same with the lower lid except the area right under the lashline. It’s also darker. This will make the eye look three-dimensional and therefore realistic.

Drawing the Eyelashes

It’s time to draw the lashes to finish your eye. Eyelashes are not straight at all, they are curved. Since the eyelid is wrapped around the eyeball you need to draw the lashes at different edges. Be sure to keep your pencil sharp. Some of the lashes overlap each other. Don’t draw the lashes too short. Also remember, the lashes never grow in one row. You can also add some unique lashes that grow in a messy way.

Drawing Realistic Tears

Draw Basic Shapes

To create a believable image of tears flowing down from the eyes we need to use long curved lines for contours and then add smaller ones on top of them (that’s what makes these effects realistic). Start with a simple oval-shaped spot that determines the future tear. When you’re done, don’t erase it but instead move on to the next step!

Drawing Lines

The trick here is to use lighter colors because these spots might appear darker than your pencil lead depending on paper color so try experimenting with different types of surfaces until you find one that works well enough. Don’t forget about shadows either – just leave some white parts untouched when drawing highlights in order to achieve certain effects later on.

Once all shapes have been defined, take your eraser and start removing unnecessary lines. Make sure to leave only the elements that make up teardrops because these are what will make this effect look more realistic!

The most important part about drawing realistic tears is to make sure that your character doesn’t have too many lines around their eyes; e.g., if only one eye has a few stray bits of hair falling down in front then it’ll be even easier to draw clean/ clear drops instead.

How to Draw Tears in Eyes: Tips and Tricks

  • Use a soft pencil to draw the lashes. It’s easier and faster than using an eraser or graphite powder, but you need patience and steady hands for this method.
  • Be patient while drawing the lids because they are an important part of your eye. If drawn poorly it can make the whole drawing look bad even if other elements such as iris, pupil, etc., were done well (that is why it makes sense to spend more time on them).
  • Don’t forget about reflections: they should be roundish when coming from the top light source and oval-shaped in case of the side source of light. They also change their color depending on the color of what reflects them; take care not to darken everything too much.
  • Use the same pencils for both upper and lower lids since they are connected to each other.
  • Don’t draw too many eyelashes, especially on the top lid because it can make your drawing look very unnatural.
  • Drawing smudges under the eyes will make them look teary after crying all night long.
  • The best way to determine what kind of tears your character should have is by looking at their face shape and eyebrows in combination with the story you are trying to tell – a sad tale will feature big droplets while a short shock or surprise moment might only show small ones.
  • When working digitally avoid creating outlines around each individual teardrop because it can look a bit too artificial.
  • Add some shine into each teardrop if you want them to stand out more! This trick works especially well for manga drawings – just add some color onto the teardrops and they’ll look as if some light is reflecting from them.

Remember that even though you may be detailed with every part of your drawing, an overall view should show a balanced final result. Do not waste time on single elements if their position doesn’t make sense or doesn’t look right.

You need to take care of the smaller details later on after you have finished your drawing. Don’t rush things because it is important for every element to match each other and create a beautiful final result!

To improve your drawing skills even more read our How To Draw A Fist tutorial.

Final Words

Remember that if you’re serious about learning to draw tears then it’s very important to practice as much as possible!

Sketching lots of different characters is a great way for practicing since the proportions must be accurate and emotions are easy to convey with these illustrations – sometimes even one or two lines can make all the difference between good looking drawing and something which looks totally awkward so avoid rushing through your drawings because this habit won’t help to get better at anything!

Drawing tears will also come in handy when trying out new ways for expressing sorrow via facial expressions, but don’t forget to do some research online too – there are plenty of tutorials available where people share their own tips and tricks. For example, if you want to become good at drawing eyes then learning how they work will definitely be helpful!

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