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
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.