there's not a lot in this one. i'm trying to take a new approach to this by continually redrawing a set until I'm more satisfied with it. perfect practice type beat. my biggest block to this is the fact that i really suck at shading, i've avoided it as much as i can so i think im losing a lot of depth because of that. with the last set at the bottom (3rd try) i tried constructing the eyelids like 2 really jaggy squares/rectangles and i think it's helped.
Deconstructing the shape of the eyes and surrounding skin/folds into geometric surfaces absolutely improves the impression of depth. The third set is by far your best. It seems to me that you have a choice between leaning into that geometric technique and maybe borrowing some hatching techniques from pen/ink drawings, accentuating the surfaces rather than blending between values the way you would typically do using a pencil; alternatively, you could develop the blended style you were trying on the first set.
If you really hate graphite shading, my recommendation would be to try out either pens or charcoal. Pens allow/force you to delineate surfaces very clearly, which helps you understand and visualize the depth. Charcoal goes the other way, but the much deeper value range lets you evoke depth much easier than a graphite pencil. Even if you want to keep using graphite, experimenting with either medium might teach you techniques that help you get over the shading block.
I really like the stylization that you did on your last set. It looks really cool and I think you're in the right way with those shapes that you said you have used. As for the shading, maybe instead of going for a super blended, realistic shading, you could try using hatching instead, and focus on trying to get the right values in the right places, instead of worrying about blending and transitioning between the values. At least in the beginning. It would help with adding depth to your pieces. And I think it would go very well with that style you tried at your third try.
Nicest job on your eye expressions and shapes, AuslerDraws. Absolutely stunning.
So, here's a question: How long did it take for you to do those eye drawings exactly?
A nitpick for you, I love the anatomy and structure you've got for those eyes and eye shapes, but there's not enough of the strongest gesture and motion in range. Would you please loosen up your eyes funny with 6 minutes of 2 minute eye studies with this image below? Here's a link.
The reason why you could and should do this suggestion is because, the cartoon eyes are a lot more simpler than the more realistic eyes, despite being the most deceptively simple, but they are very, very clear in communication, visually. But if you could break them down in simplest and clearest gestures, then you'd be able to get the point. See??