How to paint eyes

How to paint eyes

From early on I always wanted to know how to paint eyes.  You know, to add some life to them.  To make them seem more real.

I’ve been doodling and drawing eyes since I was very young.  I loved trying to make them look nice but something was always just off and I couldn’t figure it out.

And then I realized that there’s really only one very important thing to know.  And I want you to remember this for ever more if you really want to know how to paint eyes.

The human eyeball is a perfect round sphere.
The iris is a perfect circle.

And the pupil is a perfect circle located
directly in the middle of the iris.

Eyeballs sit in the eye sockets of the skull.  Then depending on your family traits and where you come from, the skin that covers your eyes will create your particular eye shape and of course give you your eye color.  But the eyeball, iris and pupil do not change shape.  Your iris may be larger or smaller than mine but they are always a perfect circle.

So let’s say you’re painting laughing eyes.  The upper and lower lid will close quite a bit revealing only a little of the iris and pupil.  Right?

But behind the laughing eyes, nothing changed.

The biggest mistake I see is the tendency to squash the iris to make it fit into the eye opening.  That’s why your portraits or casual characters don’t look quite right.

How to paint eyes

So let’s start the demo on how to paint eyes.

Here I’ve prepared a page in my journal by basecoating it in DecoArt Soft Peach.  I’ve used DecoArt Americana acrylics throughout this project. To complete it you’ll need the following brushes: #12 flat, 10/0 liner, #4 filbert, 1/4-inch domed round.

The line drawing for the “how to paint eyes” tutorial can be downloaded here.

How to paint eyes

1.  Trace out the line drawing onto tracing paper.  Lightly transfer the main outline of the eye as well as the upper eyelid crease.  Basecoat the eye area with a few coats of White using the filbert.

How to paint eyes

2.  Transfer the left edge of the eyeball creating a small triangular area on the left.  Basecoat this section with a mix of just a touch of Cadmium Red and mostly Soft Peach.

Use the #12 flat to add a soft float of Payne’s Grey to shade under the top lid on the eyeball.  When dry, float the left side of the eyeball and the right corner of the eye.

How to paint eyes

3.  Transfer the iris and basecoat it with Dark Chocolate using the filbert.  When completely dry and opaque, transfer the pupil and basecoat it Black, using the filbert.

When dry, use the #12 flat to float a shade on the iris under the lid with Black.  It should be the same width as the shading on the eyeball.

How to paint eyes

4.  Transfer the eyebrow then use the liner to add fine lines with Dark Chocolate and then add a few more fine lines with a mix of Dark Chocolate and touch of Black.

Mix some Burnt Sienna with mostly Soft Peach to line in the crease.  Use this same mix to outline the entire eye.

With the #12 flat, float the pink corner of the eye with Burnt Sienna, first next to the eyeball and then into the very corner.  These are narrow and soft floats.

Using a domed round, dry brush Marigold to highlight the iris.  Stay out of the shaded area and away from the very edge of the iris.  Clean the brush.

Use the liner and a mix of mostly White and touch of Soft Peach to outline the lower lid just below the first outline you did.  Repeat until it is a shade or two lighter than the original skin tone.  Refer to the close up image.

Use the dry domed round to dry brush some Burnt Sienna in the crease and outer corner of the upper lid.  Use the worksheet as a guide.  Dry brush up toward the start of the eyebrow.  Then add just a little shade under the eye as indicated in the line drawing and work sheet.

Add a touch of Dark Chocolate to the Burnt Sienna and deepen the shading in the crease of the eye only.

Dry brush White on the eyelid and on the outer edge of the corner of the eye as well as above the shading under the eye.

How to paint eyes

On the iris at about 2 o’clock, add a strong shine highlight of White using the liner.  The shine highlight circle overlaps both the pupil and iris.

To create the two soft shine highlights on the other side first dampen the iris.  While damp, use the tip of the liner and thinned White to tap in two tiny dots.  The dampness will diffuse the dots.  When dry add a tiny strong dot of White to both those highlights.

How to paint eyes

5.  Transfer the eyelashes to the top lid.  Then transfer the eyelashes to the lower lid.  Notice the top lashes touch the very edge of the lid?  Now see where the eyelashes start on the lower lid?  Yes, that’s right.  There is a little flesh outline between the eyeball and the lash line.

Use the liner and Black to add the lashes.   Then outline the top lid with a very fine line of Black.  Then add a little eyeliner to the bottom lashes.

How to paint eyes

So you’re wondering how on earth did I get my eye shape to remain so perfectly round?

After finishing the painting, I noticed the iris was just off by a bit.  So I took out my trusty Staedtler Professional Combo Circle Template # 977 / 110 and re-outlined the iris using a permanent black fine tipped marker.  Where needed, I used White paint where I went outside the line and Dark Chocolate where I missed a spot.

How to paint eyes

You can get this template in any store that carries office supplies or drafting supplies.  I use mine all the time!

Well that’s it for the how to paint eyes tutorial.  Of course there are many other types of eyes to be painted.  But just remember that the human eyeball is a perfect round sphere. The iris is a perfect circle. And the pupil is a perfect circle located directly in the middle of the iris.

Painting eyes can look deceptively difficult. After all, there are a number of fine details in the iris and pupil such as fractured light and speckles of brilliant color. But, worry not. This easy process will help you to realistically paint eyes.

Follow these tips on how to paint eyes using acrylic paint!

How to paint eyes How to paint eyesGet My FREE Guide »

Before you begin, round up some of your favorite painting supplies. I gessoed a sheet of paper and grabbed several paintbrushes as well as tubes of red, yellow, white, blue, burnt sienna and black paint. And, of course, the all-important paint palette.

1. Draw the eye

How to paint eyes

I decided that it was easiest to draw my own eye for this exercise, but if you want to gaze into someone else’s, feel free. I snapped a photo of my eye from up close and printed it out for reference. If you want a challenge, though, skip the photo and just look straight into the mirror!

Using a pencil, I drew the outline of my eyeball, the pupil and iris, plus my eyebrow and lines under and above my eyes. Don’t forget to include those details — they’re defining features!

2. Paint around the eye

How to paint eyes

Before you begin painting inside of the eye, paint around it. Mix the appropriate skin tone (keep it a medium shade — not too light or dark), and brush it across your surface. Then, mix a shade and apply it to the crease in above the eye. Afterwards, add highlights to the lid below the crease and blend it with the shadow.

3. The gray of the eye

How to paint eyes

You might have the inclination that the eyeball is white, but it actually appears gray to us. It’s in a shadow thanks to the lid, our forehead and eye cavity. So, it only makes sense that we paint the eyeballs a light gray! The centers will be the lightest (think of a sphere shape) while the tops and bottoms will be slightly in shadows.

4. Paint the iris and pupil

How to paint eyes

This is the part that most people think of “the eye.” The iris can be a visually striking color, and depending on lighting, pupils can be big or small.

Block in the color of the iris and pupil with a flat, medium-toned color.

How to paint eyes

Now, darken the edges of the iris and right around the pupil. Notice how it already feels more realistic?

How to paint eyes

If you look closely at your eye, I bet you’ll find a lot of beautiful details and multifaceted color. You might see tiny, radiating lines around your iris, and that’s what we’re going to mimic here. I used a darker blue pigment and made squiggle marks all around. Afterward, I added lighter-colored squiggle marks. Remember, when you paint these, don’t make straight lines. Since we’re trying to express a spherical shape, it makes sense to have lines that follow the form.

How to paint eyes

Here’s where you’ll really want to look to your reference so to accurately capture the light. Depending on your surroundings, your eyes might have different flecks of color reflected into them. And, like in my painting, you can see that edges of the pupil and iris were distorted thanks to highlights. Add the highlights and marks wherever you see them. This is what will help make your painting look the most realistic. Don’t be afraid to add hints of yellow and red!

5. Creating graceful eyelashes

How to paint eyes

Everyone has different lengths and amount of eyelashes. Some people (like me) might be wearing eyeliner and mascara. Either way, you’ll want to use a liner brush (if you have one) to paint the eyelashes. Look closely at how the top lashes arc. Starting with the edge of the eye, mimic swoop and length of the lash in one fluid motion. Move from the outside and towards the inside of the eye when they look shorter and less pronounced.

The bottom eyelashes will be shorter and thinner. Remember, there’s a small area of skin between the eyeball and those lashes, so there will be space between the bottom of the eye and its lashes.

How to paint eyes

Add highlights (thin, light-colored) lines in-between the lashes so that they don’t look like one uncomfortable mass.

6. Finishing touches

How to paint eyes

Once you’ve finished painting the eyelashes, the hard part is over. Now, it’s just going back and refining your painting. Glance at your reference. What areas need to be darkened? Often, it’s the top and bottom of the eyeballs and the creases around the eyes. If you’ve included eyebrows in the painting, now is the time to paint those, too.

How to paint eyes

In this article, I will show you a simple way to paint the eyes.
Before painting the eyes, you need to prepare a line drawing.
If the line drawing is neatly closed, it will be easier to paint later.

How to paint eyes

Table of Contents

① Paint the base coat

We will apply the base coat.
The areas to be painted are the eyelashes, the whites of the eyes, the iris, and the pupil.

Next, since we want to paint the eyelashes, the whites of the eyes, the iris, and the pupil in separate layers, we will add four layers below the line drawing.
Basically, the line drawing should be at the top.
It is convenient to name the layers after adding them so that they are easy to see.
From the bottom, add the whites of the eyes, iris, pupil, and eyelashes in that order.

How to paint eyes

Once you have added a layer, paint the whites of the eyes on the bottom layer you just added (the whites of the eyes layer if you named the layer).
Paint it white with a slight grayish tint.
The Bucket Tool is useful for this.

How to paint eyes

Select the b ucket Tool with the pen around the area you want to paint, then tap the area you want to paint to paint it solid.
If there is any leftover paint, paint it with the pen.

How to paint eyes

The whites of the eyes are now painted.

Once it is painted, paint the iris part on the layer above the white eye layer.
Use a color close to the black of the eye color you want to paint.
In this case, I wanted brown eyes, so I painted them brownish black.

How to paint eyes

The next step is to paint the pupil.
We will paint the pupil in black on the pupil layer.

How to paint eyes

Next is the eyelashes.
I selected a layer and painted them in black.

How to paint eyes

The primer is now complete.

② Paint the shadow of the white eye

The next step is to paint the shadow of the white eye.

Add a new layer on top of the layer where you painted the white eye, and clipping.
Clipping is recommended because it will not extend beyond the clipped layer.

How to paint eyes

Paint the upper part of the whites of the eyes with a darker gray than the color you painted the whites.

How to paint eyes

③ Drawing the light

The next step is to draw the light reflected in the eyes.
First, we will paint the light reflected in the lower part of the eye.
Add a new layer on top of the layer where you painted the iris.
Add a new layer on top of the iris layer, clipping it as before to prevent it from overflowing.
Next, change the layer setting from Normal to Hard Light.

How to paint eyes

When Hard Light, bright colors are rendered brighter when layered.

Draw a light on the lower half of the pupil with the color of the eye you imagined.
I’ve set the layer settings from normal to hard light, so the color will look quite different from the color I’ve chosen.
You can try adjusting the brightness and saturation up or down until you get a color that is close to what you imagined.
In this case, I wanted to create light brown eyes, so I used a light brown color.

How to paint eyes

We will add more light.
Add another new layer on top of the layer where you just drew the light.
After clipping, change the layer setting from Normal to Hard Light.
I added more light with brighter colors.

How to paint eyes

The next step is to draw the reflected light on the upper part of the eye.
I think it’s best to use a slightly different color for the reflected light to give the eyes a deeper and more beautiful look.
In this case, I used a reddish color to add the reflected light.
Add a layer for clipping.
Make the layer Hard Light.
Add the light in a round shape.
We will use the darkest color in the light to make it not too bright.

How to paint eyes

Next, blur the inside of the light by using the Blur pen tool to blend it in.

How to paint eyes

Once the reflected light has been painted, the next step is to draw the brightest highlight.
Add a layer on top of the line drawing.
Draw the highlights in white.
You can place the highlights anywhere you like.
In this case, we will add a little on the upper right and lower left.

How to paint eyes

④ Add redness to the lashes

Once the light is drawn, add redness to the eyelashes to make the eyes blend with the skin.
Add a layer on top of the eyelashes.
Use the Airbrush to add redness to the edge of the lashes.

How to paint eyes

How to paint eyes

When the edge of the lashes are painted red, you are done.

How to paint eyes

This completes the beginner’s guide to painting eyes.
This is not to say that the painting method in this article is absolute.
I hope this helps you to find the right way to paint your eyes.

From our hidden thoughts to our deepest emotions, eyes can tell us an awful lot about someone. If we wish to paint a truly expressive portrait, it’s vital to learn how to paint realistic eyes.

Let’s jump right in!

How to paint eyes

How to paint eyes

STEP 1: Sketch An Outline

1. Begin your rough outline on a midtone background

Using a relatively large brush, begin to sketch the outline of your eye. If you aren’t 100% familiar with eyes, I HIGHLY recommend you use a reference photo.. it’s the best way to learn!

You can use any brush you want, but make sure you don’t go into too many details. You are just building a basic ‘​roadmap’ for your painting.

Tip: When sketching, going into too much detail will slow you down and make your life more difficult. Avoid the temptation by selecting slightly larger brushes.

2. Develop your sketch, and don’t be afraid to erase and re-draw lines

It’s actually fairly difficult to sketch on a tablet. Don’t get frustrated! The beauty of digital painting is that you can delete and re-draw your lines as many times as you need to.

Remember: This is not meant to be polished linework! It is simply a roadmap for your painting. I’ll show you how to paint realistic eyes in time, for now keep it sketchy and loose.

STEP 2: Rendering The Eye

The ‘Brush and Cut’ Method

Before we begin rendering in detail, it is important you understand one of the most common techniques in digital painting. I like it call it the Brush and Cut method.

The basic principle is this:

  1. Create a new layer
  2. Brush on a shape (usually with a soft brush)
  3. Cut one or more edges out of this shape (usually with a hard eraser)

Lets have a look at an example:

1. Merge the sketch and background, then create a new layer

The first step is to merge your sketch with your background. I personally like to use Ctrl/Command+Alt+Shift+E to merge everything to a new layer on top. This way you still have your sketch as a separate layer, in case you need to go back to it in the future.

Then, create a new layer by pressing Ctrl/Command+Shift+N.

2. Add shading to the eyeball with a soft, round brush

On the new layer, begin to add some shading around the outside of the eyeball. Do this by painting just outside of the lines of the eye.

3. ‘Cut’ away the values outside of the eyeball with a hard-edged eraser

Erase everything that spills outside of the outlines of the eye.

As you can see, the Brush and Cut method allows us to very easily create areas of values that have a soft, gradient edge on one side, and a hard-cut edge on the other.

This has allowed us to paint the basic shading around the outside of the eye, giving it a 3D look.

How to paint eyes

Note how rough everything is still looking at this stage. That’s totally ok, don’t get frustrated!

Remember: The beauty of this method is that ​each new element you create is on a new layer. You can keep playing around with it, brushing and cutting the shape without fear of wrecking anything you’ve already painted.

And if everything is looking too light or dark, you can play around with the layer’s Opacity in the ‘Layers’ panel.

4. Use variations of this method to continue rendering

How to paint eyes

You don’t have to Brush and Cut with a soft brush and hard eraser. You could just as well brush in areas of values with a harder brush, then fade out the edges with a softer brush.

5. Use the Marquee Tool to Paint a Perfectly Circular Iris

You don’t have to paint everything by hand. Often you will get better results by using the other tools at your disposal, such as the Elliptical Marquee Tool (keyboard shortcut: M).

I first erased the iris from my sketch. I then made a selection with the Elliptical Marquee Tool on a new layer, and filled it with light gray. As it was on a new layer I could use the Free Transform Tool (Ctrl/Command+T) to reposition it.

6. Tip: Blending With the Smudge Tool

One very useful tool for blending is the Smudge tool. I prepared a tool preset for you which contains my favourite Smudge settings. You can find it in the downloadable brush files.

You can use the Smudge tool to blend lines in your painting, and smoothen out hard edges.

7. Keep Rendering the eye!

Keep painting values bit by bit. Make sure to start with the big areas of high and low values, before zooming in and painting in the little details with a smaller brush.

Here is a tip you might find useful if you find yourself getting caught up in the details too soon.

Besides some of the techniques mentioned above, there isn’t an exact ‘science’ to rendering. It is largely a matter of taking the time to study your reference image . Make sure to keep rendering even if you’re feeling frustrated. And of course, practice, practice, practice!

TIP: To see my full rendering process, and learn about many more tips and techniques (such as using Liquify to fix proportions or Adjustment Layers to boost contrast) make sure to watch the full video.

Learn how to draw and paint dreamy beautiful feminine faces with acrylics, in any skin tone.

How to paint eyes

How to paint eyes

Week One wraps up with a tutorial on how to paint the eyes that you learned to draw yesterday.

This painting tutorial is a primer for you to get familiar with painting: learning color mixing, paint flow, and laying down lines & forms with a brush instead of a pencil. I’m covering the basics first, then we will wrap up all the lessons in one big class that brings everything you’ve learned all together in a finished painting.

Supplies you will need:

  • Canvas or paper : I like to use canvas paper or watercolor paper for studies or exercises like this one on how to paint eyes. Be comfortable with your supplies and enjoy the process. Please don’t worry about getting everything perfect or ‘ruining’ your good supplies, use sketchbook paper if you don’t have canvas.
  • 3 brushes: one larger one to paint in the skin base, one smaller one that is your default brush, and one tiny liner brush for details. I use golden taklon brushes, because I like their springyness in these sizes; size 12 flat brush, size 2 round brush, size 0 liner brush. Have no idea about brush sizes? Dick Blick has a great pdf for that!
  • Acrylic paint in:
  • white
  • black
  • burnt sienna
  • primary blue
  • primary red
  • yellow ochre for skin mixing if needed
  • optional colors if you don’t want to mix them yourself:
  • light blue
  • gray
  • skin tone of your choice.

Mixing a light skin tone:

Light Skin tone is white + burnt sienna + red. The ratio for me is something like 5/1/1. That’s five parts white, one part burnt sienna, one part red. If this mixture looks too pink to you, add a dot of yellow ochre. There is a push and pull to mixing flesh tones because its subjective, if you like your skin mix darker, lighter, pinker, tanner, etc then you can customize just like a recipe, this is the base mix.

Dark Skin tone is burnt sienna + yellow ochre + blue + white. The ratio is 5/3/2/1 ish. Again, this is subjective, you should experiment to find a color mix you really like, use this ratio as a guide and make it your own. Be careful with the white, though, it will make a rich brown look very ashy if you use too much.

I dedicate an entire bottle to my flesh tone base color. I start with a white bottle of paint, add a squirt of burnt sienna, 1 drop blue, and half a squirt of red and shake it like a… yeah, I almost went there. If you have an entire extra bottle of white paint and are going to paint a lot of portraits, then I recommend you make your own bottle so that your skin color paint is always consistent.

I always adjust my color as I need it, the key here is to really not get an orange skin tone. Unless you are painting Snooki and George Hamilton, then pick up your nearest pumpkin orange and have at it.

How to paint eyes

If you love it, share it.

Of course, you can always paint any color eye you want. I realize that maybe you want a green eye, or a brown eye, or a lavender eye, or some sort of crazy peacock feather inspired eye. Do it. These rules are just guidelines to get you to see painting eyes in simple shapes and easy steps that you can break down and learn.

How to paint eyes

Quick and dirty eye color studies. I like that brown eye!

Green eyes? Paint the iris with your base green, then highlight with a brighter green, and add the white highlights accordingly.

Brown eyes? Paint the iris with a milk chocolate color, shade with an expresso, highlight with a teddy bear brown. Brown eyes look great with a lot of different tone on tone shades and highlights, but white really dulls a beautiful brown, use it sparingly.

Purple eyes? Base your iris with a lilac, shade with a violet, and highlight with white.

See the pattern? You can apply it to any color of eye you’d like.

Wacky peacock inspired eyes? I used turquoise to base the iris, purple to shade, and lime green to do the four spoke highlight… then I just added the white highlights like normal.

Try metallic paints, or glittery ones, they can be very striking as eyes. Just limit yourself to a few colors 2-3 plus white and black for small eyes so you don’t get your paint colors all muddy and lose detail.

Lets wrap this up, shall we? Next week I’m going to show you how to draw and paint noses!

In this blog workshop / free painting series you can expect to learn how to draw and paint all the basics of a pretty female face:

    • How to Mix Custom Skintone Colors (we did that today!)
    • How to Choose a Canvas
    • Types of Paint : Quick and Easy Explanation and Reviews
    • Types of Brushes: Quick and Easy Explanation and Reviews (I’m feeling a theme here)
    • Gesso, Mediums, + more: demystifying the whys and whens of using primers and mediums
    • How to Incorporate Mixed Media and Collage elements
    • Where do I go from here?
    • Pinterest drawing and painting Inspiration

    I know there will be a lot more additions to this list too, because I want to include everything I know about drawing and painting a pretty face in this series. I want it to be easy to read and follow along and fun for beginners and more advanced painters alike.

    If you have questions go ahead and leave a comment so I can answer them & add them to the tutorial.

    I'm doing a custodes shield captain for warhammer 40k and I have no idea how to paint the eyes on it, any help?

    I skip them entirely

    0. Be prepared to fix up any part of this if you overpaint, including the section of face near the eyes. And of course, any step advised here.

    Ink the socket to define the eye area – brown/sepia for a natural look, black for more dramatic. Ink because it flows well and wont flood as easily as a paint. Let dry completely. You can cheat a bit here and make a larger eye than the sculpt, if you like that look.

    Paint white the inside of the inked area, leaving a border of the ink from previous step. If needed, dilute the paint enough that it will flow easily, but no more. It is ok to paint a thickish mixture here because you are painting into a recess that will auto-level the paint, and you want to occlude the dark ink. Let dry completely.

    Paint a circle of iris color in middle of white area. Same rules for thickness, possibly moreso because you really want to control where this lands. Some folks like to add another step before this one to do a circle of black ink before a circle of color, and the effect is nice if you can pull it off. Let dry.

    Use your smallest brush to dot black ink on iris for pupils. Dot white paint on iris and or pupil for reflections of light.

    Painting eyes – isn’t it something we all struggle with? Ever watched a painting tutorial, wondering how it is humanly possible to hit that tiny slit between those eyelids, let alone painting pupils? Don’t worry, I’m here to help. Over the years I developed a technique that makes painting eyes much easier. Check it out in today’s tutorial.

    This tutorial assumes you have a good understanding of how to paint. Underneath each picture are the corresponding instructions. Each step shows the paint(s) I used during that step.

    Paints you will need for this tutorial:
    Your favourite white paint (I like Vallejo Model Color White)
    Your favourite black paint (I like The Army Painter Warpaints Matt Black)

    If you need to expand your paint collection to follow the tutorial, check out our partner stores Wayland Games and Element Games, which offer an amazing range of paint brands at decent discounts.

    How to paint eyes – the Stahly way

    In most painting guides I’ve seen, especially the ones you find in White Dwarf or on the Warhammer YouTube page, the face will always be painted first, and then the eyes will be filled in. It’s frustrating because even with the tiniest brush it’s almost impossible to not hit the lids. And with a slip of the brush, it’s so easy to mess up all the hard work you put into painting and highlighing the face.

    Over the years I developed a technique that I find much easier to get perfect looking eyes. Ever wondered how I achieved a paint job like this Space Wolves Blood Claw? Basically, I paint the eyes before I layer and highlight the skin. This way, I can easily go back and forth until I’m happy, then move on to paint the skin. Shockingly, I also don’t start by painting the eyes white, but black.

    How to paint eyes

    So here is my technique for how to paint eyes on human-sized miniatures more easily:

    1. After you’ve basecoated and shaded your face, carefully paint the eye sockets black.

    2. Add two white dots to the corners of the eyes while leaving a black line in the middle of the eye. The thickness of your line should be as similar on both eyes as possible. When working on eyes, I like to use the smallest brush I can find, which is a Winsor & Newton Series 7 M 000.

    3. Bring out the black paint again and carefully paint around the eyes, until the shape of both eyes is as similar as possible. If you like the Alice Cooper look, stop at this step. Just kidding, remember that on most models, the upper and lower lid is defined in the sculpt, so the eyes must be confined to the slit in between.

    4. And here comes my magic trick: If the eyes still look uneven, I go back and repeat step 2 and 3 until I’m happy. Sometimes, it can take two or three tries. I know, I know.

    5. Once you’re happy, bring out a colour that is close to the shaded areas of your face and carefully paint the upper and lower eye lids of your model, and paint around the eyes until only a super thin black line remains for definition.

    Congratulations, you can now go on and layer and highlight the skin as you please.

    If you prefer a more realistic painting approach, use an off-white like Pallid Wych Flesh and a dark brown such as Dryad Bark instead of pure white and black. This way, the eyes won’t contrast as much with the rest of your paint job.

    Hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If so, leave a comment or reaction below, and if you got any questions, leave them here so I can answer them for you.

    In my experience, eyes are rather tricky things to paint—and as small as they are in comparison to the rest of the face, they carry a huge amount of importance in a portrait. Not only do eyes need to look realistic, engaging, and alive, but they also need to resemble the eyes of the person that you’re painting.

    In the following video, Craig Nelson demonstrates his own step-by-step methods for painting eyes, starting with the whites of the eyes in shadow, then moving on to the lash line, eyebrows, and folds of the upper eyelids before ever putting any color in the iris. More importantly, he’s getting the results below by continually studying his subject while painting. Take a look:

    Quick announcement – EmptyEasel has created a quicker, easier way for artists to have their own art website. Click here to learn more and get a simple art website of your own!

    You can purchase this entire portrait tutorial by Craig Nelson at Creative Catalyst.


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