Begin by lightly drawing from or tracing the basic template for the eye. You can make your layout as large as you like to make it easier to work on, but take time to get the layout correct. Note differing shapes of upper and lower lids.
Iris and Pupil
In a full face portrait the iris and pupils are perfectly round, though the top of the iris is usually cut by the upper lid. Lightly shade the iris then lay in the pupil, which will be the darkest point on the portrait. This will enable you to judge the depth of shading for the iris.
Use the kneadable eraser to lift the highlights and then make adjustments by carefully shading the highlight edges from light to dark. Don’t forget the direction from which the light is coming.
The ball of an eye is not white, so very light shading is needed here. Pay attention to the shadows made by the overhanging brow.
Eyelashes are not always single, but some are in clumps. They are shorter on the bottom eyelid and much longer for the top, but watch the direction and foreshortening for both. Adjust shading under the top eyelashes.
Now put light shading around the eye as well as the highlights to the top and bottom eyelids and brow.
Like eyelashes, eyebrow hairs lie in several directions and can be light or dark so flick them in carefully. Shade lightly around them, not forgetting the highlights.
Make adjustments to shading to pull it all together.
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