how do you draw tears?
Hi, Anon! I’ll do my best to walk you through my thought process.
Tears as seen in real life are…pretty uninteresting, tbh so to make them look more feel-inducing than reality, it helps to exaggerate, especially when it comes to size and contrast.
Here are some things I consider when sketching:
I like to keep it to two trickles per eye flowing from the corners to, but by no means is that a rule. To give tears a sense of weight, I draw them as thin streams that gather into large droplets depending on where gravity is taking them.
You might want to push the size even further so that they’re more visible at a distance. Context and mood is also an important thing to consider; as a general guideline, thinner lines imply delicacy while gushing waterfalls are usually more comical. Feel free to let anime/cartoons/comics (etc etc) be your guide, since they can go really heavy on the exaggeration for a wider range of expression. Have some Mako Mankanshoku tears from Kill la Kill as an example!
Anyways, once I have my sketch down, I go ahead and block them out. I’m using a white tinted with blue for color contrast from the warm colors of the skin, but it doesn’t matter that much if you lower the opacity as much as I have. In any case, I don’t want to use my whitest white yet since I’m saving that for shiny highlights.
I then duplicate my block-in, darken the layer, then erase from inside the shapes I made. This is my “line art” of sorts.
Time to shade! Since tears are essentially water, I treat them like gemstones/translucent objects. Similar to shiny materials like metal, there’s a high-contrast transition between light and shadow in both edges and value, but with transparent objects, light passes through them, bounces around, and “gathers” on the side opposite of the surface that’s receiving the light, like so:
Not the most amazing rendering in the world, but I hope it gets my point across x’D
To compensate the loss of detail from zooming out, I use black to amp up the contrast (doubly important since I’m using a pale-skinned person in my example). If that’s too harsh for you, feel free to play around with colors and opacity. (Again with the whole emotional context thing. Adapt to the situation!) You can even use a soft brush or put the shading through a blur filter, but I usually choose to keep the edges hard because again, contrast.
Now for the fun part: highlights! Shine bright like a diamond : DDD
Amping up the contrast some more by breaking out the whites! I suppose you could stop here, but this still isn’t shiny enough for me yet, >:3c
I go over the edges of the tears with white to punctuate how ridiculously shiny they are. I also like to throw in some bright reds/oranges reflecting off the droplets to imply healthy, glowing skin as well as a dash of a cooler color for general environmental lighting. I also added some cast shadows to the tears. Not terribly dark, since light passes through the tears as opposed to being blocked out.
Again, while I am basing my decisions off real-life principles, a lot of these choices are highly stylistic. Whether you’re drawing small, have time constraints
or you’re just plain lazy, you can always pick and choose! This is just my current approach, so while you’re free to try out my workflow if you literally have no idea what you’re doing, I do encourage you to experiment to see what appeals you personally.
Hope this helps! Honestly, I’m quite flattered that anyone would ask me how I draw things :’D
If anyone does end up using this guide, poke me and show me what you’ve come up with; I’d love to see :D