Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Monday, November 20, 2017
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Learned something valuable the other day. If you're going to take a close up of your own eye, make sure the flash is off. I get the type of migraines that are triggered by bright lights (especially flashes) and well, let's just say there was a bit of cursing when the flash went off, rapidly followed by the usual pain.  

I said in my last post, Still sulking, I needed to go back and examine eye structure closely. I wasn't happy with my output, so I lurked around all sorts of medical sights and Bing images for super quality close ups. I dabbled with them and then flipped over to a couple of Youtube channels for some help because I just couldn't get it right. I couldn't see what I was doing wrong. 

Here's the original sketch (posted on the previous article):

Scan of original drawing of human eye 

After watching videos I figured out I was too heavy handed. I didn't leave any wiggle room for darkening and shading. The eye lid was too high and should droop down over the eye a bit. I went back to the original drawing and tried correcting it:

 Scan of second drawing of human eye

Better, but no, not right. The shape of the eye is off. It droops unnaturally down and the eye is too perfect along the top.  I'm struggling with this aspect of drawing the eye. It's not easy getting the shape correct. As well, I was puzzled about how to approach the white part of the eye as it merges with the edges.  I started a new sketch, trying to pull together what I'd learned:

Sketch 3 of the human eye. Not much better

In this one, I over compensated for the bottom and the eye looks like it's bulging. If I owned that eye, I'd be trotting off to a specialist right about now. And once again, I'm too heavy handed with the pencil. I started off far too dark and literally drew myself into a corner. I abandoned this sketch and  decided I'd rather try drawing my own eye and went to take a photo of it. FLASH! and I had to go lie down until the migraine settled. Sunday I took a series (without the flash) of photos of my right eye and printed a couple out. I sat with a ruler and looked it over carefully, then settled down to draw it. Here's the result:

4th sketch of a human eye - much better this time

Now, I'm happy with the progress of this sketch. Starting with a ruler to get a basic idea about placement and sizing helped immensly. I started out with an F pencil for all the basics, including the preliminary shading. Then moved onto HB, 2B and a 4B. Now I have to work getting the blending a bit smoother. The eyebrown is a bit of a bodge job, I haven't quite figured out how to do the fine hairs, but the shape is correct. I think the bottom of each hair should be a bit heavier so they look rooted in the brow. The other thing that's hard, is getting that slight watery look along the bottom rim. I'm going to pick up a white pencil this week and see if using that helps. 

So, things to work on:

- basic roundness of the pupil and placement of the iris. 

- shape of the eye itself. 

- smooth out blending techniques

- work on the eyebrow

Just wait until I try to do a pair of eyes. Maybe I'll keep Frankensteining and cut and paste eyes instead.

I found this video helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbgYr_10Rfs Leonardo Pereznieto has a number of tutorials on realistic eyes that are excellent. 

I also found https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQo7P9VkFaA by Makoccino useful. She uses a step by step approach that covers the real basics, things first time drawers get wrong. 

Now, aren't you glad I lost my Wacom tablet? 

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"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."

- Dorothea Lange

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