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Art Lessons: The Eye

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Hey everybody,
we're gonna talk about the eye.
The eye is a really, really important
because the eye is not only the window to
the soul,
but the eye has so much character.
So if you could really learn how to draw
an eye, you can give your figures and
your characters a spirit that you can play
with in a very deep and profound way.
So let's take a look at the eye.
The eye, contrary to what most people
think is actually a ball.
It's just a big old white ball called the
And on that we have the iris,
which is the color part of the eye, and
then we have the pupil.
Which is the dark part of the eye.
And, as light, kind of, as light comes
what happens in the actual iris, is that
you usually see a highlight, right?
If there's one light source and it,
that light actually comes through to the
other side.
So you always get, like, the dark.
So you have if I was gonna paint this, and
I did,
like, a brown eye, on the other side, it
would be almost like a pure orange.
Or if it was a green eye, it would almost
be a pure yellow.
Or a yellow-green.
If it's a blue eye, it would be, would be
a very, very light, cerulean blue.
So, I can get into how I would paint that
But right now, I just wanna show you a
little bit of the psychics of that.
So, as light is shining to the other side,
you could see here.
This is the highlight and it's coming
light is actually shining through to the
other side like that and
let's say light is traveling this way,
like that.
Light's coming down like that.
Then the high, the actual eyeball.
[NOISE] Will be in shadow like that.
So, the reason that I'm drawing this very
So, realistic eye is because it's really
important to think about it as a ball,
not just this little kind of sliver, but
to think about it holistically, like that.
And by the way if you want to get.
Very Dali esque.
Then you do a cast shadow of that eye.
Living on a weird landscape.
In the middle of an eye land.
[SOUND] Like that, okay?
So there you go.
That, my friends, is an eyeball.
[SOUND] With a cast shadow.
Now, unfortunately we can't draw eyes like
because the eye is actually sitting in a
So let's think about that.
But first.
Let's think about where the eye is in
proportion to the head.
So, let's say we had a head, a small head.
Top of the head, bottom of the chin.
And halfway down is the brow ridge.
Right here that's the brow ridge.
So there are five distances of the eye.
So if an eye is here,
there's one eye distance between the tear
duct and this tear duct.
That's important.
One eye distance.
And then there's one eye distance between
the end of that eye,
if you're looking straight on,
there's one eye distance between the end
of the eye and the side plane of the head.
So tear duct to end of the eye, side plane
of the head.
Tear duct and a guy side plane.
So that's 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
That's exactly how far across the head is.
So, if you have the bottom of the nose.
Which is halfway down between the brow
ridge and the bottom of that chin,
you have the corner of that nose, is going
to line up.
Perfectly with that tear duct.
So the eye, is in here, covered.
[NOISE] And that lines up
perfectly with that tear duct.
That mouth.
The corner of the mouth lines up to that
pupil, like that.
So just a couple of measurements.
I'm giving you, to help you kinda in case
you lose yourself.
And, you know, you get a little crazy.
The tendency is for the artist to draw the
eyes way too big.
That's fine.
But what happens is you get a very
cartoony feel.
The bigger the eyes, the more cartoony
your character's gonna look.
So I have a tendency to tell my students
to error, if you're gonna error with
the eyes, don't error with the eyes too
big, error with the eyes too small.
It's gonna, it's gonna give you a little
more of a naturalistic, realistic flavor.
Unless you're going for cartoony, then
make the eyes big.
There are no rules just tools, but you
should know those tools.
My teacher always said you can play all of
the keys,
you could play some of the keys on a
But that should be based on choice, not
In other words, you should know all of
those keys.
And the same thing with drawing.
You should know how to do it the right
way, and then if you do it the distorted
wrong way, that should be based on choice,
not limitation.
So this is where the eye sits and of
course the top of
that eye is [SOUND]
the brow ridge and
the brow ridge is lining up to the top of
that ear.
Like so.
So you know another important thing when I
draw the eye
I actually think about painting it so I
use my pencil like a paintbrush so
I will, I will just kinda draw like this
because the eyes are sitting
back in a cavity right they're sitting way
back there.
And because they're sitting back there,
they're sunken into darkness.
So I like to think about it as just doing
a glaze over that eye.
Like that.
See that.
And already you've got that illusion of
the resting back into space.
It's like a little sfumato.
What Leonardo da Vinci called sfumato.
Or atmospheric perspective.
There you go, bam.
Isn't that nice?
you're getting it back in that corner of
that nose.
Comes to the?
Tear duct.
That's right.
Corner nose comes to that tear duct right
there and
then [SOUND]
corner of
that mouth comes to the pupil right there.
Right in the center dissects it.
And then all of this in here.
Is sitting in the cavity like that.
What I
like to think about is that they eye is
like a ball and
there are there is skin that is around
that ball and
is actually allowing that ball to sit
inside the cavity.
So I'm gonna just walk you through this.
Yeah, there we go.
So there are three planes at the top and
two planes on the bottom.
So as you see, this just covers the eye
like this.
So there's actually this relationship that
is on a diagonal like this.
[SOUND] And.
And the eye is sitting in here, like that.
So, you wanna always kinda capture this
plane here,
which is the lip of the top of that eye.
So there's, [NOISE] there's
the actual eyelash.
And then there's this plane [NOISE] the
top of that lid.
Side plane of that lid and I'm obviously
exaggerating the planes.
And then this plane.
then the bottom plane [NOISE] is this
And that plane.
[SOUND] Now as I was doing here,
I like to draw the eye as one round form.
So even though it's sitting in this cavity
like this,
which is sitting in the eye socket.
I still like to [NOISE] draw it like this.
Darker, lighter and
then darker again as it recedes back into
space, like that.
[SOUND] So before I'm even drawing in the
And when I draw in the eye,
I actually like to draw the eye as a
square not as a circle.
I like to
just quickly get it in fast [NOISE] as a
That helps me figure out the ellipse of
that eye.
In other words, if it's on the side,
there's m, there's more of an,
of an ellipse.
If it's in the front, it's more circular.
So as it starts to perspex into space, it
starts to become more and
more and more of an ellipse.
So having a square like this,
allows me to kind of figure out the
perspective a little bit easier.
That's just something that I use
I think it's genius.
You could think it's the worst thing ever.
I'm not sure if it's gonna work, but works
for me.
[NOISE] So [NOISE] this eye,
top of the eye [NOISE] is going to cast a
Shadow into the [NOISE] iris.
[SOUND] Shadow into the white of the eye
or the sclera.
And you're also going to have your pupil,
like that.
If you have, [NOISE] if you
have light coming down,
you're probably gonna catch some light
[SOUND] And let me just get some value in,
so you can see what I'm talking about.
So you have,
[NOISE] you have the light
coming in right there.
[SOUND] See?
It's hitting that corner.
It's gonna here.
[SOUND] That's the highlight.
And as I mentioned before,
as the light shines through [NOISE]
it's going to be brighter [NOISE] on the
order side.
And we could do that by just lifting a
little bit out and
then kinda touching it with our finger.
Did you see that?
That gives an illusion that it's actually
[NOISE] a different
kind of texture and we can just kind of
rub our finger across it.
And we're gonna pick up a little highlight
on that lip, right there.
[SOUND] Okay.
So here, we're just experiencing [NOISE]
the eyes.
It's going back in the space.
And here, we have the tear duct.
And usually with the tear duct, you have a
If I was gonna paint it.
Once again, this would be a little on the
pink side.
And you're always
gonna have the top, the top plane of that
Right here.
So the top of that lip as you have [NOISE]
the bottom of this lip here.
And as it sits in [NOISE] the eye socket.
[SOUND] It's usually going to be darker in
the bottom.
grade a, [NOISE] grade a up.
Now right in here, right in that corner,
it usually gets very dark cuz that's how
deep it's going into the socket.
Obviously, some people have very, very,
very, dark eyes there.
And in painting terms, you usually take a
flat brush and
you take your darkest dark and you kinda
carve it out.
You see that a lot in Rembrandt's
So just kind of an indication of how it
sits in there.
You might just want to take that area and
just kind of [NOISE] make it dark.
And obviously, you're gonna have the nose
in here.
[SOUND] So, there you go.
Pupil, highlight, cast shadow on the
sclera or,
or the white of the eye as it comes down.
And if you really wanna start rendering
this, you can crisp the cast shadow.
Like that.
So that it's a little crispier.
And [NOISE] crisping
the cast shadow.
Like that.
[SOUND] Boom.
[SOUND] And by the way, the, the under
plane of
that eye would usually be darker [NOISE]
than the top plane.
Because if light's coming down that way,
it's hitting the top plane.
And maybe catching this lip right here.
And catching a highlight in that eye.
Let's take a look at it,
at the eye as a three-quarter view.
Cuz that's where you're gonna get your
real bang for your buck.
So, if you have,
the eye you know,
you really have to think about it, always
the ball.
And you have to think about the, the
actual skin wrapping around it.
That's really important.
So as this top lip wraps around it like
this bottom lip has to wrap around it like
So it's moving up and over the eye,
holding it there.
And here is that lip like that.
Here's that eyeball.
And here's the bottom, lip, like that.
So, that's kind
of, where it is.
So the, it's actually going that
direction, down,
across and around, out, and down like
It should feel like a very painful
if you're actually traversing the eye.
Because it is, painful because you're
actually building it from scratch.
So here you can see that this is
a a three-quarter view.
And you just think about that has a ball
in there.
The eyebrow is equally as important as the
because the eyebrow tells you everything.
Tells you if you're angry, right?
Tells you if you're excited.
What is, what?
What, huh?
It tells if you're intimidated or
It tells you if you're sad.
I'm not,
I don't get that way by the way, just
letting you know.
I'm very even.
But the eyebrow tells you everything.
So it's important, when you're drawing an
to really make it adhere to the spirit of
your character.
So, let's take this eyebrow.
This eyebrow comes up this direction, and
then on the corner of that head,
right here, that's where the eyebrow turns
So, it actually comes around and down.
So, it comes up and around.
So here too, it comes up.
And on the corner of that temple right
it starts to turn and change form like
So that's really that's really important
when there's a plane change is where the
eyebrow is changing.
The eyebrow just doesn't change on its
The eyebrow, look.
It's changing at my temple, at my side
So here the eye is actually the,
the tip of that eyebrow is riding inside
my zygomatic arch right there.
So it's riding inside the zygomatic arch,
then it rides up, here.
And then my plane of my temple,
then it starts to actually change and
starts to go back into space.
And that's where you see that kinda like,
some people have a really intense arch.
Some people don't.
You see it like that.
Now, in the olden days, you know, you'd
wanna get that
when I was drawing back at a arts center
you always had
to really maintain perfect brows if you
were drawing women.
And I was never really good at that.
Because mine were always fuzzy and crazy.
But that really was an important thing,
and my teachers used to say,
is you have to draw a perfect brow.
And they always wanted the woman to have
a, a perfect lid without any sagginess.
So they used to make the models do this,
then open slowly, open slowly.
And there would be no saggy skin.
So that's kinda how we used to have to
draw the eyelid.
And the eyebrow had to be perfect and
manicured and,
like I said, wasn't very good at it, but,
I tried.
So, the eyebrows also are, are very soft.
You know, so when you're sculpting the
eyebrows, you know,
just remember that, in general they're not
really hard-edged.
You know, like you can have a hard-edged
eyelash, you could have a hard-edged iris,
but really with hair, not really
hard-edged, kind of ever.
So just keep it very soft, like that.
So, the general direction of that is
basically down, riding the bone here.
And then as there's a plane change,
there's a plane change here,
then it starts to, take a different shape.
Also it, it's really, really, really
important to note that how well
designed we are as human beings, how
well-designed our zygomatic arch is.
That really is a, is, it's an encasement
for the eye.
So that if we do this, [SOUND] it doesn't
really affect my eye.
Yeah, it hits me.
So when you get punched in the face, it
hits me, but
I have a brow ridge that's actually acting
as an encasement to protect my eyeball.
Because there's really, really, important
stuff going on there.
And you hear stuff like, you know, Sugar
Ray Leonard had a detached retina.
That's really dangerous but
it took, you know, thousands of punches to
his face to do that.
So the eye in general unless you're a
boxer or a UFC MMA fighter,
you're not really gonna get any eye
injuries cuz it's designed so
beautifully and really intelligently by
So the eyes actually sits like this.
And this acts kind of as a, as a, an
And it sits in the skin
here, like that.
And in general, it's going diagonally like
this too.
So it's living in here protected so that
any time you know,
someone throws something at your head, if
you grew up in the projects like me,
you know, it just bounces off the top of
your brow ridge.
That's the eye.
I hope you take this information and
incorporate it into all of your amazing
Have the best day ever.