Why are many fantasy creatures depicted with narrower eyes than their real life counterpart?


Most dragons have much narrower eyes than any reptile, and whenever some creature is supposed to be a more fierce counterpart of a real life creature, it is depicted with narrower eyes. Not necessarily scowling eyes, but naturally narrower.

I see this phenomenon in all kinds of media, from magic the gathering cards (and any standard western fantasy art) to anime.


I believe it is to give the creature a more sinister, untrustworthy look, as if they are eyeing down their prey. As you said, this does not mean they are always snarling, but the narrow eyes are seen to be less human, sometimes even sunken.

I think you pretty much answered your own question. Humans anthropomorphize things, it’s kinda our defining trait.

So naturally in any depiction of any kind of creature that is supposed to read as “formidable” or “crafty”, you’re gonna see human specific facial postures that read that way to other humans. Because they’re depictions, not things that actually occur naturally in nature.

We do the opposite for things we are supposed to find cute, as well. Depictions of children, small animals, fairies, hot anime babes, etc. have eyes bigger than their real life counter parts to make them look cuter.