It is the Eyes that Draw You in

In a drawing, eyes are important. No matter the size of the piece, the eyes can make or break a picture. Capturing that expression and the soul of the animal is a must otherwise, the piece does not work.

Since taking up drawing, I have paid particular attention to getting the eyes right. Once the main outline of the drawing is on the paper I go back and make sure everything is properly aligned in relation to the eyes. Then when I am happy with that I go back and start to add in the detail. Eyes need to be accurately drawn.

Paying close attention to the reference photo and with a very sharp pencil, I mark out the structure of the eye. If I am working in colour then I use a light grey pencil but if I am working in graphite then it will probably be a 2H pencil.


Then with the lightest of touches, I carefully draw the shape of the iris. The shape of this varies depending on the animal. Dogs are spherical but cats are more elongated.

Depending on the size of the piece and what you can see will determine how much detail you put in. For larger drawings focus in on the iris and record all the shapes and the different colours within the iris itself and then mark in the highlights. Even for smaller drawings, highlights are important. This is what gives the drawing life and makes it look real.

When all the shapes are in the right places then it is time to render the eyes for real. It takes ages adding in all the layers and it is fiddly but to strive for that real look …it is worth it.

Now with the eyes completed in my pug pastel and my black dog,  my goal for next week is to finish these pieces.