I like to paint eyes. Even though I mainly paint eyes on ceramic pieces, these hints can be used for wood. Keep in mind, there are many ways to do eyes, these tips are just my opinions for the way I like to do them.
Do not shade the skin before you put in the eyes.
1. For a tiny eye, block in the iris with a med. color using a med. wash and leave streaks. Streaks help make the iris look real. For the larger eye I use a light color instead of the medium for the base coat. Outline the iris color with a touch of black the same as you would do for a larger eye as described later.
2. Use only a small speck of white for a highlight. If your speck is too large for a tiny eye, it will overwhelm and could make the eyes look blind.
3. A tiny eye doesn't need a lot of work. Outline the upper edge and lightly feather the outside edge for an
impression of lashes.
4. To a make pupil, for a large or tiny eye, put a dot of black in the center, enlarge pupil while turning your piece to judge distance to the sides.
5. Pupils are always black but they don't have to be boring. For variety and added sparkle you can float a dark blue color in a C type of stroke along the bottom outside (going toward the center) edge. It will mostly disappear but will add just a touch of life to the pupil.
6. Don't make your pupil in the shape of a U as you slide it to the top of the eye.
7. Size of pupil: a large pupil looks innocent (remember Bambi?) or young. Small pupils can give
a mean look.
8. Try to keep the pupil and iris a round shape even though you'll have to imagine
the top roundness of the iris since part of it will be hidden under the eyelid.
9. If the pupil is not round enough to suit you, you can put the main highlight over the area to hide it.
Just make sure put the same highlights is in the same place in each eye. (1 o'clock, 11 o'clock etc.)
10. Check your eyes in a mirror. This will help you see if they are even or not.HAHA...I mean check the eyes of your piece in a mirror.
11. Since I mentioned highlights, I'll talk a little about them. But keep in mind that shadows (which I'll get into later) go on before highlights. If you put the highlight on, then the shadow, you will just darken your highlight and lose the effect.
12. Eye will reflect the color of the closest light source. So you can have different colors of highlights in the eyes. (Think about standing next to a lighted Christmas tree or colored curtains with the sun shining through.) But the main or primary highlight will be white because that is the lightest we can go.
13. You can put part of the highlight on the iris, just make sure part of it is also on the pupil for the greatest contrast.
14. Use a secondary smaller highlight opposite the main highlight. Just a tiny speck of white will work fine.
15. To make a little more special secondary highlight put a TINY speck of your iris color next to the secondary highlight. Keep these little highlights on the pupil. If you are not going to go with a third highlight (described below) you can float a small C stoke of white on the pupil instead of using the tiny dots.
16. You can put in a softly floated highlight using a THIN wash of white placing it on the iris below the small secondary highlights above. (Following the curve of the iris.) This will also make your eye look rounder.
17. Primarily highlights can be in almost any shape. All a highlight is... is a reflection of light. A plain round dot is probably the most boring highlight you can use on the larger eye. You can use a wedge shape, a tornado, a skid or most any shape.
18. Your main highlight is the largest highlight, second and third highlights are smaller.