How to

How To Paint Eyes

Introduction: Unleash the Magic of Lifelike Eyes

Have you ever wondered how to capture the essence of the human eye in your paintings? To infuse them with depth and vibrancy, making them come alive on the canvas? Look no further! In this comprehensive tutorial, we’ll delve into the art of painting eyes, unraveling the secrets to achieving stunning realism.

The Key to Realistic Eyes: Understanding the Anatomy

To truly grasp the art of painting eyes, we must first understand their anatomy. Every human eyeball is a perfect spherical shape, surrounded by the eye sockets, while the iris forms a flawless circle within the eye. Nestled right in the center of the iris is the pupil, another perfect circle. The shape of our eyes may vary, influenced by genetics and ethnicity, but the core structure of the eyeball, iris, and pupil remains constant.

Step 1: Getting Started

Let’s embark on our eye-painting journey by gathering the necessary tools. For this tutorial, we’ll be using DecoArt Americana acrylics, along with brushes of various sizes: a #12 flat, a 10/0 liner, a #4 filbert, and a 1/4-inch domed round. Ensure you have these essentials on hand before diving into the creative process.

Step 2: Sketching and Basecoating

  1. Begin by tracing the line drawing of the eye onto tracing paper. Transfer the main outline of the eye and the upper eyelid crease onto your painting surface. Apply a few coats of White using the filbert brush to basecoat the eye area.

  2. Transfer the left edge of the eyeball, creating a small triangular area on the left. Basecoat this section with a mix of Cadmium Red and Soft Peach, predominantly Soft Peach. To add depth, use the #12 flat brush to gently shade beneath the top lid with Payne’s Grey. Once dry, float the left side of the eyeball and the right corner of the eye.

  3. Transfer the iris onto the painting surface and basecoat it with Dark Chocolate, using the filbert brush. Once the iris is completely dry and opaque, transfer and basecoat the pupil with Black. Create a shading effect under the lid by floating Black onto the iris, ensuring the width matches the shading on the eyeball.

  4. Transfer the eyebrow onto the painting surface. Use the liner brush to add fine lines with Dark Chocolate, then add a few more fine lines using a mixture of Dark Chocolate and a touch of Black. Next, use a mixture of Burnt Sienna and Soft Peach to outline the crease and the entire eye.

  5. With the #12 flat brush, float Burnt Sienna onto the pink corner of the eye, starting next to the eyeball and extending into the corner. Keep these floats narrow and soft. Use a domed round brush to dry brush Marigold onto the iris, avoiding the shaded area and the edge of the iris. Clean the brush.

  6. Outline the lower lid just below the initial outline using the liner brush and a mixture of mostly White with a touch of Soft Peach. Repeat this step until the shading is one or two shades lighter than the original skin tone. Refer to the close-up image for guidance.

  7. Using the dry domed round brush, add some Burnt Sienna to the crease and outer corner of the upper lid. Dry brush upward towards the start of the eyebrow. Add a touch of shading under the eye, as indicated in the line drawing and worksheet.

  8. Enhance the shading in the crease of the eye by adding a mix of Dark Chocolate and Burnt Sienna. Dry brush White onto the eyelid and the outer edge of the eye’s corner, as well as above the shading beneath the eye.

  9. Position a strong shine highlight of White using the liner brush at approximately 2 o’clock on the iris. This highlight circle should overlap both the pupil and iris. To create two soft shine highlights on the other side, dampen the iris slightly, and use the tip of the liner brush and thinned White to carefully tap in two tiny dots. The dampness will diffuse the dots. Once dry, add a small, strong dot of White to each of those highlights.

  10. Transfer the eyelashes onto the top and bottom lids. Observe how the top lashes touch the edge of the lid, while there’s a slight flesh outline between the eyeball and the lash line on the lower lid. Use the liner brush and Black to add the lashes. Outline the top lid with a fine line of Black and add a touch of eyeliner to the bottom lashes.

Step 3: Perfecting the Shape

After completing the painting, you may notice slight deviations in the shape of the iris. Don’t worry; there’s a simple fix. Take out your trustworthy Staedtler Professional Combo Circle Template #977/110 and retrace the iris using a fine-tipped permanent black marker. For any areas that went slightly outside the lines, touch them up with White paint or Dark Chocolate. This handy template, available at office or drafting supply stores, will help you maintain that perfectly round shape effortlessly.

Conclusion: Unleash Your Eye-Painting Potential

Congratulations! You’ve completed the “How to Paint Eyes” tutorial and unraveled the secrets to lifelike eye portrayal. While this guide focused on a specific eye style, remember that the core principles remain the same for all eyes. The human eyeball is always a perfect round sphere, the iris a perfect circle, and the pupil located dead center within the iris. Now, armed with this knowledge, let your creativity soar as you embrace the vast array of eye variations in your artistic endeavors.

Let’s return from the captivating world of eye painting to our Paint Techniques page.

Eye Painting

Alexia Young

Hello and welcome to the world of Alexia. I am a passionate and dedicated artist who loves to create beautiful, mesmerizing art for everyone's walls. I believe in the importance of encouraging people to express their creativity and be happy.

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