Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Eye Studies Part 4: JR Dunster, "How to Draw Eyes"

portrait-artist.org is "a portrait art tutorial site, with lessons on sketching and drawing faces, tutorials on digital art, an overview of art and drawing techniques, art supplies, book recommendations, anatomy, and much more." JR Dunster has created many tutorials to help aspiring artists who have an interest in drawing portraits.

Dunster's tutorial, "How to draw eyes, step-by-step drawing lesson", demonstrates to the reader how to perceive the eye, as well as how to render it in a drawing. He begins with a description of how to "see" the eye (Dunster recommends Betty Edwards' excellent "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" to his readers), using illustrations to show the eye's depth and shape, and reminds the reader not to forget the thickness of the eyelids (or the "tear duct thingie"!), and shows the subtle angles of the top lid. An important point that Dunster reiterates for the reader is that the iris is perfectly round, as is the pupil, which is perfectly centered within it. This seems like a simple point, but it's an important one - I've seen many drawings in which the iris is not round, nor is the pupil correctly centered.

After the overview of what to look for in the eye, Dunster goes into how he renders it, going over shading the iris for realism and shading the eyeball and adding eyelashes.

Ironically, his step-by-step diagram on how to draw the eye is, after four pages of overview, very brief. It consists of drawing an outline, followed by drawing in the lower lid, pupil, and highlight, and then adding shading and detail. To be fair, not only is most of this covered in the preceding pages, but as Dunster mentions, he does expect his reader to have some experience in drawing.

I did appreciate his "quick step-by-step of the eyebrow", which comes next, as it was useful to see how the shading should be deeper below the "brow line".

The last part of the tutorial is a brief description of what to notice when viewing the eye from the side.

I got many useful bits of information and tips from Dunster's tutorial, including his illustration of the basic shape of the eye (the widest part of the top of the eye is further in than the widest part of the bottom of the eye), and his suggestion about "suggesting" the thickness of the lower eyelid. I also thought it was useful to know that the upper eyelid covers about 1/3 (sometimes more) of the iris, and that the "white" of the eye is actually a "very, very pale peach, or pale greyish-peach" (I'm color blind and would never have noticed that).

Here are my eye sketches following Dunster's tutorial - the first is based on the one he uses in the tutorial, and the second is based on a photo of an eye, using Dunster's steps and mimicking his style.



Up next: Gary Faigin's "The Artist's Complete Guide to Facial Expressions"

1 comment:

G1toons said...

nice eye sketches, eyes are hard, along with hands