How to paint eyes: 15 steps (with pictures)

How to paint eyes: 15 steps (with pictures)
How to paint eyes: 15 steps (with pictures)

It is said that the eyes are the mirror of the soul. This is probably why they are so difficult to represent. As with most other subjects, it takes time and preparation to paint eyes. If you have the time, you can paint realistic eyes. Most of the eyes that we see in modern artwork are unrealistic. Create the eyes you want to see and showcase your personal art style.


Part 1 of 3: draw eyes for practice

Paint Eyes Step 1

Step 1. Know how to draw

Drawing is a great exercise for budding painters. It helps to understand all the characteristics of the composition before painting it. Although drawing and painting use different mediums, the basics are the same.

Paint Eyes Step 2

Step 2. Observe eyes

If you want lots of images and ideas, google images for a look. You will find more than enough! Immerse yourself for inspiration. If you have a mirror near your canvas, you have the best possible model: your own eyes.

Paint Eyes Step 3

Step 3. Make sketches

Before preparing and making an eye painting in all its details, try to sketch without thinking too much. It's a great way to find a style that suits you. Draw various eyes quickly. The point is not to think about what you draw. You will worry about that later.

Paint Eyes Step 4

Step 4. Look at your sketches

Observe the different eyes you have drawn to see the progress you have made. Pick the one you're most proud of. You don't have to choose the most realistic eye. Just choose the one you like the most.

Paint Eyes Step 5

Step 5. Redraw the eye

Take a pencil or a pen and try to reproduce the eye with which you are most satisfied. Spend a little more time redrawing this eye than when you did the sketch. Try to fill a whole page in your sketchbook.

Look at all the eyes you have redrawn and choose the one you are most proud of

Paint Eyes Step 6

Step 6. Make a detailed drawing

Spend more time redrawing your chosen eye. This time, pay more attention to detail and add some to your sketch. This is the time when you could start looking at real eyes for inspiration. Incorporate all the details you observe in the simple eye you have drawn.

Paint Eyes Step 7

Step 7. Make a simplified drawing

Draw a simplified version of the detailed eye you just drew. Make this drawing on your canvas or any other medium you are going to paint on. You will thus have the contours of the eyes to paint.

Part 2 of 3: paint the eyes

Paint Eyes Step 8

Step 1. Prepare a flesh color

It will serve as a base for painting the eyes. You can use different color mixtures of it depending on the tone you want to achieve.

If you don't know which tone to use, try to match your skin tone

Paint Eyes Step 9

Step 2. Paint ovals for the eyes

If you need to guide yourself, use the contours you have drawn as a guide. Paint two ovals close to each other. They will form the starting point for the rest of the painting.

Paint Eyes Step 10

Step 3. Paint the whites of the eyes

Despite its name, this part of the eye is never really white. Mix white with a dot of another color such as gray, blue or light pink. Paint two oval shapes in the shapes you just painted. The whites should be the same shape as the outlines you drew, but slightly smaller and within the flesh-colored ovals.

Paint Eyes Step 11

Step 4. Paint the eyelids

Create a relief effect by adding shadows and different shades of color. To achieve simple lashes, you can outline the ovals in dark brown, but be sure to blend this color well so that it blends into the flesh color. If you want to make eyelashes more realistic, you need a fine brush to paint the individual eyelashes one by one.

Part 3 of 3: paint the details of the eye

Paint Eyes Step 12

Step 1. Paint the iris

Paint the iris the desired color (in the illustration, blue is used). Then add darker touches or other shades of the color to make a realistic eye that pops out. Start by painting a simple circle in your chosen color.

Paint a very fine line all around the iris (inside) then use a dry brush to draw some of this paint towards the center of the circle so as to form small streaks. Think of a CD: the colors form lines facing the hole in the center

Paint Eyes Step 13

Step 2. Add shadows

Make shadows in the eyes by positioning them according to the orientation of the light.

Don't worry if the iris protrudes slightly from the white paint, as you will add eyelids when you finish the eyes to anchor the eyes in the face

Paint Eyes Step 14

Step 3. Comb the pupils

Make pupils completely black. Look at pictures to help you. The pupils should be in the center of the irises you just painted.

Add highlights. Add pops of white in the pupils where the eyes reflect light

Paint Eyes Step 15

Step 4. Add more details

Paint the corners of the eyes pink to represent flesh and add a little white. Also paint a few blood vessels crossing the whites of the eyes. Use a very small amount of paint and blend it so that it blends in with the rest of the eye.

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