Friday, October 12, 2012

Seeing is Believing: Create realistic eyes

Greetings, my fine feathered friend!

Whenever I start an animal portrait, I work on the eyes first.  In fact, I spend more time on the eyes than on any other part.  Why?  Because if I don't get them right, then the entire drawing feels lifeless.
The eyes have to remain vibrant even from a distance.  The best way to do this is to exaggerate the dominant colors.  For instance, the tiger eye above has a very intense shade of blue around the pupil.  Look at what happens to that blue if we take a step back:  

You can still see it!  When I work, I frequently stop and set the drawing across the room.  Sometimes the colors are too washed out and I need to rework them again. 
How do you create the illusion of round eyes?  First: light.  That small white sheen gives the appearance of a layer above the colors of the iris.  Second: the folds of skin around the eye.  The eye can't just sit on the face; it has to be held in place!
I hope you enjoyed this glimpse behind the drawing board!

Happy flying!

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