Follow TV Tropes


Black Dot Pupils

Go To

A basic building block of cartoon character design, one of the most common ways of drawing characters' pupils in Comic Strips and Western Animation is to make them little black dots, completely black and iris-free, with no discernible eye color or often no gloss. Left on their own, they're Black Bead Eyes; put them in a couple of white circles and you get Sphere Eyes; add some eyelids and brows without the whites and you have Skintone Sclerae. Take a slice out of the side of any of the above and the character becomes Pie-Eyed.

It has its roots in a simple shortcut for ease of animation and cranking out multiple panels of a comic day after day, yet having become so entrenched in cartoon art, it shows up even now in long-form works and on occasion it even crosses dimensions into CGI.

Contrast this with the more realistic eyes of most Superhero Comic Books, or the huge, shining eyes of Anime and Manga. Extreme close-ups could result in a temporary Sudden Eye Color; Art Evolution and a move into 3D could make it permanent.

Not to be confused with Black Eyes of Evil or Black Eyes of Crazy.

As this is an Omnipresent Trope in certain styles of art/animation, this page only lists cases where the trope is somehow played with.

No Straight Examples, Please!.

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • The Mob Psycho 100 uses these as the "default" eyes for characters within the anime, with some characters like Teru having colored pupils to indicate eye colors other than brown. There are four exceptions to this standard: Toichiro and Shou Suzuki, who have Icy Blue Eyes with pinprick pupils to make them look especially menacing; and Tsubomi and 100% Courage Mob, who are just too pretty not to give big shiny anime eyes.

    Comic Book 
  • Norby: The characters' eyes shift from tiny black dots with skin-coloured sclerae to black dots with white sclera when the characters are closer, to fully-coloured irises when closest to the "camera". The absence of irises is only for the first adaptation, as the second one tries to preserve eye details even at a distance.
  • Yorick and Bones: The characters' eyes, while usually Black Bead Eyes, become this when they get scared from seeing Yorick.

  • Hurray for the Dorchester!: If not in the book, then at least on the cover, the Dorchester's eyes are drawn this way.
  • Lilly and Fin: A Mermaid's Tale: All the characters in the book have their eyes drawn this way due to the book's art style. The one exception is the picture of the Snorkels, which have a white dot in the black pupils.
  • The Proudest Blue: All of the characters in the book have their eyes drawn with black pupils.
  • Rocko The Christmas Bat: Rocko has little black dots as pupils.
  • Stick Dog: As part of the series' Stylistic Suck aesthetic, all of the dogs have black dot pupils.
  • Taro And Jiro The Sibling Locomotives: The titular sibling locomotives have their eyes drawn with black dot pupils, whereas all the human characters have Black Bead Eyes. This is likely because, being larger characters, Taro and Jiro's design allow them to have more facial details.

    Live-Action TV 

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • On the Brain Dump episode about Sausage Party, Max G. likes how the characters are given these as opposed to the usual extra-detailed eyes seen in most All-CGI Cartoon movies.
  • Happy Tree Friends: Lumpy, Lifty and Shifty have these eyes while most of the other characters are Pie-Eyed. Nutty is a unique case in that his left eye with the green iris is Pie-Eyed whereas his right eye is this trope.


    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia: The vast majority of characters have these eyes. However, some of the frogs and other amphibians have more Exotic Eye Designs.
  • A CGI example would be Blaze and the Monster Machines, where all the vehicle characters' eyes are black, with the only exception being the eponymous monster truck whose are blue.
  • Bunsen Is a Beast is a rare Technicolor Eyes example; while some characters' eyes are colored, characters like Mikey and Amanda have standard black eyes.
  • Any character in Daria that doesn't have Skintone Sclerae.
  • Denis and Me: All of the animal characters in the show, like Sir Meows-A-Lot, have their eyes drawn in this manner.
  • Most of the main cast of The Dog & Pony Show have their eyes like this.
  • In Dora the Explorer, all animal characters and anyone who has Sphere Eyes are given black eyes with no pupils. Most human characters have colored eyes with no irises, but they're usually a color close to black, like brown.
  • If a character in Doug doesn't have Black Bead Eyes, then they'll have this instead.
  • In a CGI example, Every character on Fanboy and Chum Chum: has standard black eyes. Janitor Poopatine averts this, having Supernatural Gold Eyes, and Man-Arctica has Blank White Eyes.
  • All of the characters in Fred the Caveman hase little black dot pupil eyes.
  • Most of the characters in Gravity Falls have these, with exceptions being the some of the creatures, such as members of Sev'ral Timez and the cursed wax figures.
  • Most characters of Looney Tunes have black ovals for eyes. The sole exceptions would be Granny and Tweety, whose are blue.
  • These are the standard eyes for characters from The Loud House, with the ones who don't having either Black Bead Eyes or Eyes Out of Sight.
  • Mamemo: All the anthropomorphic cow characters on the show have black dots for their pupils.
  • Snips, Snails and Featherweight on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic have black eyes, while all the other pony characters' eyes are colored.
  • Almost every character in Rocko's Modern Life have these, though on occasions, they are shown with irises, usually during freak-outs.
  • Lampshaded on one episode of The Simpsons, where Marge is angry at Homer for not remembering what color her eyes are, despite the fact that, like all characters in the show, her eyes are just black pinpoint dots. When the camera finally zooms in on her eyes, her irises are just a thin hazel ring around the pupil, invisible from a distance. Simpsons characters in general seem to have eye colors in-universe; Homer's driver's license in "Duffless" lists his eye color as blue, and Lisa is also established as having blue eyes in "Bart Carny." Very occasionally, a guest character is drawn with colored eyes: Lurleen in "Colonel Homer" has brown eyes, while Paul and Linda McCartney have brown and blue eyes, respectively, in "Lisa the Vegetarian."
  • Some characters on SpongeBob SquarePants, such as Patrick, Sandy, Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, as well as other minor fish characters. SpongeBob, Squidward and Gary are exceptions, and Mr. Krabs has a variant of these with pale green sclerae. Patrick also often has a Sudden Eye Color in certain events (they turn blue, for example, when cleaned off in "The Battle of Bikini Bottom").
  • Summer Memories: The majority of the show's cast have their eyes drawn this way.
  • Wander and Sylvia in Wander over Yonder, have regular black eyes, with the former's sometimes changing color depending on the scene (they turn green when hypnotized by Little Bits, for example). Peepers and the Watchdogs avert this with red faceless eyes, and Lord Hater has a variant with sickly green sockets.
  • Professor Utonium, Mojo Jojo, HIM, Fuzzy Lumpkins, The Greengang Gang, The Mayor of Townsville and the citizens of Townsville from The Powerpuff Girls have black dot pupils. But the titular girls, Miss Keane and Sedusa only have Technicolor Eyes.
  • All of the characters in VeggieTales have black eyes.
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball, the Wattersons started off with large pill-shaped eyes for the male characters and ovular eyes for the female characters, each with huge black pupils matching their eye shape. In Season 2, the Art Evolution led to all their eyes becoming ovular, though they sometimes alternated to the more traditional circular eyes with smaller dot pupils, usually when the characters were surprised. From Season 3 onwards, the circular eyes were adopted full-time as the Watterson family's finalised designs. Other characters follow or avert this trope depending on their respective designs.