This marks a new, more art-focused version of my DeviantArt account. I have removed most of my stamps, and will not be posting more. My old stamps can be found here
The eye is so fantastically complicated and subtle to draw, yet understandable when you break down why it looks the way it does. Check out Gary Faigin's book Facial Expression
for details about this, but here're some examples:
- The upper eyelid dictates a lot of expression. Any white between it and the iris indicates surprise, and the more white, the more shocked the expression. On different people, it comes down to differing degrees, but if it goes down enough to touch the pupil, the eye takes on a tired or relaxed expression. It rarely covers the pupil, as that obscures vision and only happens in near-sleep states.
- The lower eyelid, on the other hand, can be as low as anything and it doesn't change the expression. More white below just makes the eye look bigger, and doesn't change the expression. The reason is that the lower eyelid doesn't actually have muscles to pull it down -- there are only muscles that can bring it up (unlike the upper eyelid). Pulled up, of course, makes expressions like squinting/glee or anger.
- The only time the lower eyelid drops down is when the eye is looking down. Since there's no muscle that does that in the eyelid, the reason it lowers is because the cornea actually pushes it. When it does, a little crease can appear (note: the bottom eyelid doesn't usually have a crease!).
- Similarly, the upper eyelid is pushed by the cornea when the eye looks to the side. What this means is the highest peak of the eyelid moves roughly with the iris (the eye is not an almond shape -- the part above the iris bumps up a bit more, usually on the inner side).
Another thing I've found of value lately is: getting good at basic 3D shapes. Everything is essentially made up of basic shapes (plus some stretching, squashing, twisting -- practising basic shapes being stretched, squashed and twisted is good practise too). Once you get this, and start to see the basic shapes in the stuff you're drawing, you'll be able to work out where the faces are that the light hits or that are in shadow, and the contours and so on, and your drawings will look less flat as a result.
Featured Drawing Book
The Artist's Guide to Facial Expression by Gary Faigin
Highly recommended. In addition to teaching facial expressions, it also covers the basic structure of the head, face and its features. It goes into detail about very subtle but very important things, like how the shape of the eyelid changes in relation to where the iris/cornea is, and how to distinguish between an eye closing and an eye looking down. But it does it all in a way that's easy to follow. The details and examples help train your eye to be alert to subtle differences, though I recommend trying out everything you learn from it by drawing.
Why: Amazingly accurate, but very thick and very few brush strokes. Some pictures look like a photo from far away, but when you get close you can almost see each of the strokes that it took to make the picture. Wonderful.