How to Paint Eyes
If eyes are a gateway to the soul, should they be easy to create? Painting eyes takes time and preparation, like most subjects to be painted. You can create as realistic of an eye if you have the time for it. In modern art, most eyes represented are not realistic. Create the eyes you want to see and use your own artistic style.
Drawing Eyes for Practice
Understand drawing.Drawing is a great practice for any aspiring painter. Drawing helps flush out the design properties before taking the design to paint. While drawing and painting are different mediums, the fundamentals are the same.
Observe eyes.If you want plenty of images and ideas, search google images for eyes and you’ll find more than you can swallow. Immerse yourself for inspiration. If you have a mirror nearby your canvas, then you have the best source for eyes: your own!
Doodle eyes.Before going into the long lengths of planning and executing a painting of eyes, try messing around first. A great way to find your style is by doodling. Create a bunch of eyes in a quick manner. The point is to not think about what your drawing; that will come later.
Look over your doodles.Look through the progression of eyes you drew and see how they matured. Select the eye you are most proud of. Don’t necessarily select the eye that most resembles an eye. Instead select an eye that looks best to you.
Redraw the eye.Take out a pen or pencil and try your hand at recreating the eye you’re most proud of. Spend a little more time reformulating this eye as to when you were quickly doodling. Try to fill up a page in your sketchbook.
- Look over your work and select the eye you are most proud of.
Draw with detail.Now spend more time recreating the latest eye. This time around, spend more attention to the details of the eye. Incorporate more details into your doodle. This is when you could start looking at real life eyes for inspiration. Incorporate as much detail into the framework you’ve created.
Create a simplified drawing.Now draw an eye that is a simplified version of the detailed eye you just drew. Draw this onto canvas or whatever you choose to paint onto. This will act as the outline for the eyes you're about to paint.
Create a flesh color.You will use this as the base to paint the eye. There are different color combinations you can use depending on what skin tone you are going for.
- Try to recreate your own skin tone for if you’re unsure what skin tone to use.
Paint ovals as eyes.Use the outline you drew earlier if you want a guide. Paint two ovals close to each other. This will act as the foundation for the rest of the painting.
Create the sclera.The sclera is the white part of your eyes.The sclera in the eyes is never a pure white. Mix white paint with a touch of another color like light grey, light blue or light pink. Paint two ovals in the paint you just created. The scleras should be the same shape as the outline of the eyes, but smaller and inside the flesh toned outline.
Paint the eyelids.Add depth by shading and adding different tints. To make simple eyelashes you can draw with dark brown around the oval, but make sure to blend it well with the skin color. If you want to make more realistic eyelashes, you need a small brush and add the lashes one by one.
Creating Pupil Details
Create the iris.Paint the iris to your desired eye color, in this example blue is being used. Add darker shades or other tints of the color to make a vivid eye. Start by simply creating a circle of the color you selected.
- Paint a very thin line all the way around the iris (on the inside) and then use a dry brush to do spokes inwards towards the center. Think of a CD, the way the colors are angled to head inwards towards the hole in the center.
Add shading.Shade the eyes in keeping in mind where the light source is coming from and shade accordingly.
- Don't worry if the iris goes over the edges of your white paint, as you will add eyelids after the eyes are done so the eyes look well set in the face.
Create the pupils.Make the pupils solid black. Look at pictures for more references. They should be in the center of the iris created earlier.
- Add eye sparkles. This is white part of the pupil where the light reflects off the surface of the eye.
Add more details within the eye.Add in the corner of the eye a pink tone in the fleshy parts of the eye and add some white. While you are doing that, add some nerves that run across the ovals of your eye. Make sure you use little paint and blend it well with the rest of the oval.
QuestionHow do I make the pupil not look weird?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf the pupil looks strange, try making the iris a darker color, like most people's eyes.Thanks!
- Try not to use too much pure black, as it can run into other paints and ruin your work. It also has a habit of staying in the paint brush, so use a different brush for colors, whites and dark colors to stay out of risk of 'pollution.'
Sources and Citations
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