Equipment Recommendations And Tips On How To Paint An Eye In Watercolor

How To Paint An Eye

Due to its unique properties, watercolor paint must be treated in a different way than opaque paints such as oils or acrylics. Watercolor is meant to be used in translucent washes. The layering of colors is a necessity.

Some claim that no other medium is as reliant on its solvent as watercolor. The amount of water used, the way it is applied and the painted surface all play a key role in the overall result.

If you want to learn how to paint an eye in just a few steps as a beginner, you’ll find the proper tutorial here.

First we will go over 5 important tips for watercolor painting, then you will find the full material list used in the tutorial and afterwards there will be the illustrated tutorial.

The ease with which watercolours can be transported is popular with many outdoor painters. It can also be combined with a variety of media, making it an indispensable aid for illustrators.

Due to its unique properties, watercolor paint must be treated in a different way than opaque paints such as oils or acrylics. Watercolor is meant to be used in translucent washes. The layering of colors is a necessity.

Some claim that no other medium is as reliant on its solvent as watercolor. The amount of water used, the way it is applied and the painted surface all play a key role in the overall result.

If you want to learn how to paint an eye in just a few steps as a beginner, you’ll find the proper tutorial here.

First we will go over 5 important tips for watercolor painting, then you will find the full material list used in the tutorial and afterwards there will be the illustrated tutorial.

Important Tips for Painting with Watercolor

  1. Use a suitable painting surface. Watercolours should be painted on watercolour paper which can absorb the water. A glossy surface will not absorb the water which will leave you just shoving paint back and forth.
  2. Use the appropriate brushes. Although any brush can be used to apply watercolor, the ones specially designed for watercolor are preferred.
  3. Maintain white areas. Painters who work with an opaque painting medium have the luxury of being able to add light tones and white at the end of the painting process. Watercolor artists need to consider and protect white areas from the get-go. These areas should be protected with a masking fluid.
  4. Allow the water to do the work. Watercolor is able to create very different transitions. This is the result of how the water can be influenced and how it behaves on the painting surface. Let the water do the work and hand over part of your control.
  5. Be patient. Painting watercolors should be performed in stages which requires a little patience. The preparation of layers may require you to completely let the underlying layers dry before continuing.

Learn how to paint an eye with this material

Learning to paint the eye: Step by step guidance

Step 1: Preparatory drawing and first weak layers of color

Sketch out the eye you want to paint with a pencil. Sometimes it’s easier to start by having a specific motif in front of you (on a computer screen, for example) to better mark outlines and color areas.

Next, apply a delicate wash of a mixture of yellow ochre and cadmium red to the skin around the eye.

How to paint an Eye 1

Some areas are added a higher intensity with a second layer of red color.

Additional layers are added while the surface is still wet. Mix your skin colour with a brown hue and use it on the darker areas.

How to paint an eye 2

Step 2: How to paint an eye: Contrasts

Do not paint the eyebrow entirely black. A mixture of ivory black and ultramarine blue with a lot of water will produce a weakened colour, which you can use as the first layer of paint for the eyebrow.

Later on we will refine the eyebrow and intensify the highlights.

Place a mixture of burnt umbra, red and yellow ochre on the skin are around the eye.

How to paint Eyes

Tip: If you want to paint eyes that stand out from the mass you should use a wide range of shades. We will continue to darken the first layers until we reach this goal.

Step 3: Painting the iris and pupil in the eye

Now let the damp colors dry so that you do not unintentionally create color bleedings at the first layers of the eyeball. If you paint according to your reference picture you should carefully consider the bright areas of light reflection on the iris.

Leave these areas blank or apply some masking liquid to keep them entirely white.

See Also
How to paint a nose

Now apply a watery grey to the eyeball to indicate the shadows of the eyelids and eyelashes. Simultaneously, you can give the iris a color of your choice and reinforce the pupil with the dark color mixture of the eyebrows.

Take the eyebrow shade again (mixed ivory black and ultramarine) and dilute it with less water than before. Now work out the contrasts on the iris, intensify the eyelashes and the brow.

How to paint an eye 4

By reducing the amount of water in the color mixture, the color becomes darker and more intense.

Work out some highlights of the same areas more distinctly. By layering the colors you achieve the dimensional appearance.

How to paint an eye 5

This makes the eye look truly stunning. But we are not finished yet. If you want to learn how to paint an eye, you should be aware that you will have to embed it in a face later on. For this reason the shading becomes even more important in order to achieve uniform result.

Re-work the shadows with a mixture of burnt umbra, alizarin and yellow ochre. Reduce the amount of water in the mixture to paint more intense shadows.

Step 4: Intensify the picture by reducing the amount of water

How to paint an eye 6

Paint over the eyebrows. If you have kept the foundation relatively light with the first layer of paint, you can now work out individual hair accurately.

In our painting the eyebrow is quite dark, so that only a few strokes are needed to give it a little more liveliness.

Once you have mastered this primary shape of the eye you can begin to individualize the subject. In the context of a full portrait it depends on the expression of emotions. Play with facial expressions and experiment with color adjustments to make a person look sad, angry or happy. Observe the changes in eye shape to convey certain feelings.

How to paint an eye 7
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