I’m a creative, experienced, multi-purpose artist
who can take projects start to finish in a variety of styles.
Good designs sell – mine sell out!

http://www.artbyhensley.com/index.html

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"Lesson"

I doodle face parts. It’s a compulsion. Lots of happy eyes, angry eyes, scared eyes, surprised eyes have filled my bills, napkins, and notebooks, and I’m feeling a compulsive need to spread my compulsion. Let’s all really look at each other and maintain eye contact. Who looks away first? It’s a fun experiment, but looking at each other results in eyes that are drawn only from the front, with a nice round pupil looking back at us. Irises aren’t as round when a person looks away.

Eyeballs are called “balls” for a reason. They’re as round as a soccer ball. We just don’t see the whole ball because they’re sunk into our heads and partially covered with eyelids. Rules of perspective apply to everything, even eyeballs. As you can see in the ¾ view, the part of the iris which is closest to the viewer is wider than the part further away.

Rules of lighting apply to everything too. If you draw a white ball, it’s lighter close to the light source, and gets darker as it curves away from the light. Since an eyeball is a white ball, the same rules apply, even after you put the pupil and iris on it. When you draw eyelids, remember that they follow the curve of the eyeball too. They also cast a shadow on the eyeball. Since light comes from the top in most situations, that means the eye is usually darkest under the upper eyelid, but since the eyeball is curving under and away from the light, there will also be a lighter shadow near the bottom eyelid too.

Everyone knows that eyelashes are attached to the eye lids, but people often have a disconnect between what we know and how we think about things. Look in the mirror. Notice how far away your lower lashes actually are from your eyes. Notice that eyelashes can cause shadows too.

Paint/draw highlights last. Eyes are wet and glossy, and we can get distracted by the shine and forget all the basic rules above. If you get the structure of the eye right in the first place, the highlight(s) are just the extra detail that makes the eye come alive.

Some people view absolute realism as the holy grail in art, but these observations can apply to whatever style you want to work in. A darker line on the top of a cartoon eye suggests the longer lashes and the shadow of the eye lid. It works for everybody, even animals, in every style… except for my photographic model for this post.

Did you like my "lesson"? I'm never quite sure if people want this kind of post. If you do, I can do more of them. If not, I can go back to my usual ramblings. Or some combination of both.

M. C. Escher Exhibit at Akron Art Museum


As I said in the previous post, I went to the Escher exhibit last weekend. It was long-planned, plans thwarted, and finally, finally, I got to see it. Gotta say it was a bit anticlimactic. Most of the pieces were prints from wood cuts and lithographs, so there wasn't much difference in seeing them in person vs. seeing them printed in a book. Yes, they were somewhat crisper, but it wasn't like the first time I saw Van Gogh's paintings in person. Studying his work in art history class and out of books, I never understood why people liked Van Gogh so much until I saw his work up close and personal. The texture and color of his paint is vibrant and exciting. Escher's work is logical and disciplined. It kind of felt like looking at blueprints for a really cool project. In other words, the ideas are what excite me about Escher more than his techniques.


There were some original drawings in the exhibit. I wish there were more of them. The drawings were something that could've been pulled out of his sketchbook, but they gave me more of a sense of his thinking than the finished prints. There was also a foamcore model of one of his drawings with a peephole a few feet away to look through. If you just looked at the model, you could easily see how it just doesn't make sense. Columns that hold up nothing suddenly snap into position when viewed through the peephole.


I'm glad I finally got to see this exhibit. If you live anywhere within driving distance, I'd recommend it. It will be in Akron through the end of May.

30 comments:

  1. Heisann!
    Already done your lesson?
    This will be much worth for my students.I try to explain to them the eyeballs form in the head, but they fail again and again. They are now making heads in clay.
    Finish next week!

    Have a wonderful evening ;:OD)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have to admit that I had already made up this post, and had it stored in case IF ever gave me a word that would work with it. It feels kind of strange to have my Friday off :) Thanks for the comments!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Linda how I marvel at you artists..if I tried your "lesson" my finished product would be no better than a 5 year old's squiggles! I love to hear how you achieve your finished results but I know that I do not possess that sort of talent! Fab sketches, your eyes in the first shot are really cool, I stared at them for ages and they really did stare back at me (are you sure they are not real the person is behind the page??!!) Glad you enjoyed your visit. Have a great weekend.I have been watching the Royal Wedding today, us Brits can certainly teach the world a "lesson" on staging this kind of event....I really enjoyed it ;0)
    Jane x

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Jane! I had the eyes hanging up to watch my house when I was out. I have to admit I've watched some of the wedding, but I feel kind of guilty about it. One of the announcers said that Americans are sympathetic to William since he was half orphaned and we've watched him grow up. I like that idea better than the idea that I'm just as entranced by everybody else with the show :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I totally appreciate the lesson--thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Excellent lesson and great examples! You know, I never really thought about the shadows under the eyelashes and lids before. But now that you point them out, I can see how they make a subtle but very important difference. If I ever go beyond the dots-for-eyes, I'll be sure to heed your lesson.

    Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great lesson! I learned a lot about both the shape and light to consider, can't wait to test my skills at it.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks everybody! And thanks for the follow Sarah!!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Linda, I can relate to the doodle need....Every little scrap of paper here has some little thing on it. Lovely doodles by the way! (Yours)

    ReplyDelete
  10. If 'lesson' is the I.F. theme, why not teach indeed?
    Thank you for your lesson.
    Paula

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great “lesson” Linda! You must be psychic! Sometimes I draw up something in my spare time (which is rare these days) and think “Maybe IF will toss out a prompt that will fit my illustration.” So far, they are resting comfortably in an unmarked file :o) I’ve always been an eye doodler myself... especially one with long eyelashes. I go through some of my old sketchbooks once in a while, and they are filled with eyes. Your’s are exquisite! Nice post!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I enjoyed the lesson! Wonderful! I think that's why I love doing art and talking to other artists, because they (we) take time to see the details.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks everybody! I love talking with other artists too. Blogging has been a fun way to meet all of you :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. The eyes really are the window to the soul and a view to the specifics of a personality... as a caricaturist they (and ears) are indispensable! So here we are where knowing less(on) is more.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you for a great lesson!! I took mental notes and will surely be using them next time. I love eyes, they're my favorite part of the face to draw, and an essential part of any good portrait. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks for the comments, and thanks for the follow Jenn!!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Great post Linda. Well illustrated and explained!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Great lesson Linda! ...as usual!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hey Linda don't know how I missed this! Great thankyou, it's so well written and imformative! You know I stare at eyeballs all day but never look :)

    A few years ago I was struggling with a painted reproduction of one of my illustrations and realised I was missing out on the perspective of lids, how the creases narrowed with perspective - a few weeks later I was in our national gallery checking out some hindu statues more than 2000 years old (roughly) and there it was, they'd even put that narrowing in the eyelids all that while ago - and they'd put in into their sculptures ! wierd eh?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks everyone! I didn't think about your view of eyeballs Andrew. Kind of fascinating now that I'm thinking of it :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Wonderful lesson! And a great take for the topic.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Wonderful 'eye' studies. I still can't help but pick up and page through the lesson books on drawing whenever I'm strolling the shelves of a book store or library.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Linda.
    Great lesson! Thank you. I appreciate you took the time to write such a long post and sharing your knowledge!

    ReplyDelete