After few month working on Okido, I felt there was a lack of consistency between all the animators and decided to make a compilation of examples from my favourite animated movies.
Cartoony eyes are usually so massive that unlike realistic eyes, the appeal is very quickly lost if you don’t know how to handle them. Clarity and appeal are the keywords when working on eyes so the first rule of cartoony eyes posing is :
Never, ever, have both eyes (pupils) centered on their respective orbital cavity. Instead and to avoid the zombie look, get the pupils closer to each others and have more space/white (sclera) on the outside of the eyes. This will create a more appealing pose.
As the character focuses on an object really close, you might want to increase the space on the outside of the eyes, but when the character is looking far away, again, do not center the eyes! (see rule 1)
For profile view, you will first need to have a discussion with your supervisor, the rigging AND lighting team to know how the eye is rendered. Historically it was recommended to cheat as much as possible just so we can see a sliver of the iris but on more high end production, instead of being buried in the iris, the pupil will instead be projected (refracted) on the cornea so what you see in your viewport might be different from the final render.
Pay attention to the way the top lid is shaped on half lidded character in Zootopia, especially Nick. This will be included in a forthcoming article about stylised animation.
I hope this will help some of you, the following images are for education purpose only and copyrighted to their respective owners Disney and Pixar:
Messy goes to Okido animation reel