How to bring life to the eyes

The key to achiev­ing a strik­ing por­trait lies in the eyes. Here are three steps to eas­ily paint them

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Workshops -

Cap­ture the eye’s shape

First I quickly sketch the shape of the eye. It’s es­sen­tially an oval, but you can play a bit with it be­cause no­body has the same eye shape. I quickly sketch my lines so I know where to add the light and the shad­ows. It’s all about curves be­cause the eye­ball is round, and the eye­lids must re­flect this shape.

De­velop light and vol­ume

Once I’m happy with the shape of the char­ac­ter’s eye, I can start to ap­ply the colour base, along with some vol­ume and light. The up­per eyelid will catch a lot of the light and will give vol­ume to the eye. Here I de­cide to use a pale mauve for her make-up, which will work pretty well with the blue of her eye.

In­tro­duce a sparkle of life

I fur­ther de­fine the eye and add shadow un­der the up­per eyelid to en­hance the sense of vol­ume. The fi­nal touch is the eye­ball’s bright dot of light which is es­sen­tial: it’s the sparkle of life in any kind of por­trait paint­ing. Af­ter that I can add more de­tails such as eye­lashes, to in­crease the sense of re­al­ism.

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