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.