How to Paint an Eye in Oil

Skill Level : 1 Beginner

Medium : Oil Painting

Subject : Portraits

Tutor : Nolan Clark

Class Length : 2 hours 2 minutes

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Class Description

In this class you will learn:

1) The anatomy of the face
2) Relationships between different features of the face
3) Which photos make good portraits
4) How to mix and match skin tones
5) How to paint the individual features of the face
6) How to tie it all together to form a realistic portrait

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Class Tutorial

The Iris

painting the iris

To paint a realistic eye, you will need to make the pupil perfectly round, even though the top of it will be partially covered by the eyelid.  Study several eyes before you begin to paint.  You will see that you will need to paint in many fine lines, shadows, and highlights.

The Pupil

painting the pupil

You will learn the colors to mix to get the deep blackness of the pupil and how to achieve the proper size for the pupil.  In painting the pupil, you must retain its round shape.

The Eyeballs

painting the eyeball

You will find that painting each side of the eyeball will require variations in the color of the paint.  Also, you will learn that different ethnic groups have different pigments in the whites of their eyes. By properly applying the shadows and highlights,  you will give a nice rounded effect to the eyeball.  You will add the tear ducts once the eyeball is painted.

The Eyelids

painting the eyelids

You will begin this section with the upper eyelid.  You will be working with several different tonal values in this area.  The lower eyelid can be painted using the same technique as you used for the upper eyelid.  You will finish up painting the wall of the eye.

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Skin Surrounding the Eye

paint the skin surrounding the eye

As you work this area, you will be doing a great deal of contouring and blending to include the edge of the nose and the skin around the eyebrow.

Eyelashes and Eyebrows

painting the eyelashes and eyebrow

You will begin with the eyelashes, being mindful of both the direction and spacing of the lashes.

You will use much of the same technique to paint the eyebrows.  Use the eye itself to help you gauge the proper positioning for the brow.

Finishing Up

To finish up, you will refine, blend, and adjust your highlights and shadows to pull it all together.

Nolan Clark

About Nolan Clark

Nolan Clark has been painting and drawing since 1996. He enjoys working in many mediums and styles, but realism is his favourite. He teaches drawing, painting as well as scratch board classes on the site.
Read more about Nolan Clark

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