How to Draw MLP Eyes

The current generation (G4) of My Little Pony is altogether different from prior iterations of the franchise in both look and feel since the advent of ‘My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic’, the animated TV series that has largely come to characterize G4.  And thanks to the efforts of show creator Lauren Faust, who was looking to bring the franchise into the modern era with intelligent scripting and a revamped image, MLP has experienced a rebirth since the show launched in 2010.  With the sharing potential available via online platforms, fans have taken the relaunch of My Little Pony and made it their own through creative efforts that include custom toys, fan fiction, and of course, artwork.  And if you’re learning to draw the current version of My Little Pony characters, it’s important to get the eyes just right.

MLP’s Anime-Like Nature

The style of newer My Little Pony characters is most closely related to Japanese animation, with large heads, slender limbs, and giant, expressive eyes that twinkle with emotion.  Luckily, it’s not hard to peg the wide-eyed countenance of the latest brand of ponies.  The best way to start is by penciling in a circle or square.  In truth this is a matter of preference.  If you start with a circle, you’ll add points on the upper outside corner and lower inside corner of the eye, whereas starting with a square will require you to round out the upper inside corner and the lower outside corner of the eye.  The end result will be a shape that is roughly the convergence of a circle and a square.

From there you’ll want to thicken the line on the inside and upper portion of the eye.  In some cases the entire eye is lined, but more often than not, the upper lash line is emphasized.  And you can add a variety of lashes, including a single, thick lash line that sweeps beyond the upper, outer edge of the eye like a cat eye, or a few lashes along the upper and lower lash lines.  The next step is to draw a large pupil.  It should be about half the size of the eye at least, as if dilated or enlarged, and this should be surrounded by a thin, colored ring to represent the iris.  The color you choose will depend on the character you’re drawing or your personal preference.

But before you fill in the pupil or iris, make sure you add the light spot, a white circle that falls between the pupil and iris, generally on the upper, outer section to show the reflection of light.  You may also add a couple of smaller points of light lower in the pupil.  Now you can ink or paint over the eye and fill in the colors.  The final shape of the eye will depend largely on the emotion you’re trying to convey with your artwork.  For example, the eyes of a particularly happy horse may be nothing more than an arched line with lashes (i.e. a closed eye).  You could also create lidded eyes to denote sadness, slanted lids for anger, and so on.  But the basic eye shape is wide and open and the eyes are large in relation to the face, often 3-4 times larger than the average eye.