How to Paint Realistic Eyes

Learn how to paint eyes on a mixed media background by following my step-by-step video lessons .

Painting on a mixed media canvas provides a forgivable surface you can wipe off when you make a mistake and want to start again. You can learn how to create a mixed media background in this post, How to Create a Mixed Media Background.

Here are the links to the videos:

How to Paint Eyes Part I

How to Paint Eyes Part 2

How to Paint Eyelashes

The step-by-step lesson below coincides with the videos so you can follow along in either format, via this post or by video. This is a simplified version of what the videos will teach you.

Step 1: Draw the Eye using the guide below:

  • Start with the iris by tracing a round object or using a circle template.
  • Draw the pupil by tracing a smaller circle.
  • Draw lines on the sides of the iris.
  • Measure the iris and draw outside lines each 1/2 of the distance of the iris.

Step 2: Erase guide lines and fractions.

Step 3: Paint highlights in the iris and the whites of the eyes with White Titanium.

Step 4: Add colors to the iris and  blur with a wet paintbrush.

Step 5: Add highlights using cadmium yellow and Sienna Natural and blur with wet brush.

Step 6: Add reddish/pink to the eye by mixing the following colors:

Step 7:  Create the illusion of the eyeball receding into the socket with Payne’s Grey.

Step 8: Create contrast by outlining the iris with darker shades of colors.

Step 9: Paint the pupil by mixing together black and purple.

  • Use a mix of Payne’s Grey and Raw Umber to outline the eye.

Step 10: Add darker colors to the iris.

  • Add white highlights to the iris and blur with a wet brush.

Step 11: Add white highlights to the rest of the eye using Titanium White.

Step 12: Add Liquitex to brown colors for more fluidity in painting the eyelashes. Paint top eyelashes with a downward and then upward stroke. Eyelashes above the iris are more vertical.

Step 13: Paint eyelash reflections in the iris using a mix of black and purple.

Step 14: Add highlights to the eyelashes using White Titanium.

I hope you enjoyed this lesson. Please leave a comment if you try the lessons. I’d love to hear about your experience.

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