Oh dear, I thought I replied to this topic, but it looks like it must’ve gotten deleted in the great Forum Post Apocalypse.
Anyways, thanks for the tips! How do you color the eyes in your drawings? They’re always so beautiful and have a great liveliness to them.
You’re welcome and thank you!
Here’s a closeup of the eye:
Sorry it’s a bit tilted, 😉 I turned the reflections off for this one, so you can see better.
You need to consider your lighting since it’ll affect how you have to color. For this one, there’s a single light source. The light source is above, in front, and to the left.
Now, you’ll notice the lightest area is to the right, that’s because the iris is behind a lens, and the lens is curved, so it’ll project the light onto that lower right spot.
That’ll be your brightest, most saturated area. I always exaggerate it as much as I can, since it looks nice and glowy. Irl, it wouldn’t be this bright. (I also use some hue shifts. You’ll see I used purple for the shadow and teal for the highlights. I just like the way this looks.) For brown eyes, your highlight would be orange or yellow, a kind of amber color. For any other color, just a lighter, more saturated version of that color.
Now, you’ll notice the entire top of the eye is in shadow because remember, there’s an eyelid that’s blocking the light. Don’t forget this, or it’ll be very bright and unnatural.
Now, a trick I figured out that I haven’t seen anywhere else is that you don’t shade the pupil as black. It’s navy/indigo. I like to add some shading, to make it brighter toward the highlight and darker in the shadows. This isn’t actually supported by anatomy, but since I exaggerate the pupil size, it looks good to have some shading in there.
Right where the pupil meets the iris, in the highlighted area, you can even put a sliver of brighter blue, since the pupil is a hole and the edge sometimes catches the light.
I’ll often go over the highlight with a color dodge airbrush afterward, just to make it glow a bit more.
I also put the iris, pupil, and white of the eye on three separate layers, since that makes the cleanup easier if it isn’t perfectly round. (I forgot that with this drawing, oops XD)
For the detail, I just take a brush and put some stripey color variation in there, taking care to follow the gradient. I put a darker edge around the iris and around the pupil, to give it some more definition.
After that, I’ll add some lighter reflections based on the light source. (See next post)
Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?