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EYES! 54mm Eyes! ARRGH!

Discussion in 'Painting Techniques' started by Kandor8, May 30, 2005.

  1. Kandor8 Active Member

    Okay, first of all, I've been out of the game for over 16 years, so be kind, second, I've only done a handful of 54's, most of my figures were 70mm or larger. So, please help a fellow figure-freak. I'm interested in technique, brushes, paints, tricks... anything.

    Oh, why did I stop so long ago? 3 reasons:

    1) Shafted over large commission.

    2) House broken into, workroom trashed.

    3) Didn't have a work area after we moved from the break-in house.

    Life goes on! :lol:

    Oh, and thanks in advance!
  2. Figure Mad Well-Known Member

    Hi Rick

    Welcome to the planet, and welcome back to the intense world that is figure painting, what type of paints and brushes did you use before that terrible day...

  3. Kandor8 Active Member

    Hi Dave,

    Oils, Humbrol, Pactra and Tamiya acrylics, Winsor-Newton Series 7 and Hanover brushes. I've replaced most of my oils and Humbrol and have picked up several bottles of Andrea acrylics and am considering Vallejo acrylics as well. Replaced most of my Series 7 brushes and bought a detail set of Vallejo brushes. My main problem(s) lie in getting the paint to come off my brush or it coming off too fast.

    Thanks! ;)
  4. slaj Well-Known Member

    Hi Ric, welcome to the planet. Don't be dishearthened. We over here learn from each other and don't hesitate to ask. I'm sorry you had to stop for the reasons mentioned.Really terrible. But as you said life goes on.
    I think the trick with acrylics is always water. how much less or more. depending from what you're doing you have to adjust the water contents compared to the paint. Experiment a little until you get the right feel and post pictures here so you can get the right feedback.

    Stephen Mallia
  5. Blind Pew A Fixture

    Welcome back to modelling! Bet you wish you'd not bothered!
    You've hit on what is probably the most difficult thing to get right in modelling - 54mm eyes. Or eyes in any scale come to that. You've got a miniscule area to work in, yet the eyes are vital to carry a figure off. The viewer automatically looks to the face and especially the eyes. I don't reckon that there's any magic formula though. Ask 5 different painters and you'll get 5 different answers. I begin by undercoating in a dark brown in enamels and the doing the rest in oils. Works for me. So far. Best of luck mate!
  6. Einion Well-Known Member

    Hi Ric, eyes are tricky in small scales but there's not as difficult to do convincingly as you might think, a lot of it is just confidence.

    If you're a bit nervous I would suggest initially painting the entire eye area 'white' first, dot in the iris colour (highlighting it and adding the pupil if you're able) and then cutting back to the eye shape with fleshtone; that's a method often recommended to beginners and it's the one with the most room for error for small scales.

    Once you've developed a better ability to paint small details you won't have to rely on this, you can actually paint in eyes (even at this scale) after the face is completed. Another thing to watch out for is to paint the eyes as small as you can - the iris shouldn't swamp the visible eyeball area in adults generally, although the sculpted shape will dictate this to some extent - the larger the iris is the more unnatural the face looks, having them just a touch smaller tends to give a much more convincing scale effect.

    Good brushes are essential of course. Have a look at this thread for more brands you might consider, especially if you want to try ordering online:

    Phil Kessling dots in his iris colour using a flattened tip of a toothpick which might be a method you'd like to try to get a pretty consistent shape if you have trouble doing this by brush.

    Eye colour
    The white of the eye should be a light greyish shade but it's surprising how much variation in colour you can get away with so don't sweat it too much - the colour of the surrounding skin and shadow underneath the brow will strongly affect how it looks on the figure anyway. It should also generally not be as light as you might initially be tempted to make it, unless the head is tiled backwards; having it too white is one of the things that leads to a staring or pop-eyed effect.

    I usually mix the white of the eye from white, a little flesh mix and a tiny touch of dark blue (this makes a good near-grey) but cream, buff, a straight white/black mix and other mixtures can all look okay, depending on the face colour.

    For figures in this scale I wouldn't try to make the iris colour too noticeable from a distance, just as it is fairly difficult to discern eye colour in real life at a distance you should really only be able to notice the colour on a model close up, so don't make it too light or saturated - I'd specifically warn you to avoid bright blues and greens if you're aiming for realism, always dull the colour down.

    For the iris and pupil the paint needs to be just the right consistency - too fluid and it will try to flow off the brush and make a mess, too thick and it won't flow well and can leave a noticeably bump when the paint dries too. This is one of those things that requires a bit of hands-on experience to get a feel for, you'll soon learn what works for you, the size and shape of your brushes and the paint you're using.

    Above all you'll need to practice to develop a steady hand, supporting your arms and/or the work will tend to help. You like try this tip which I've found work very well: couch your elbows into the sides of your belly and rest the heel of the painting hand against the heel of the hand holding whatever the figure is mounted on, this ties your hands and the model together so they move in unison (taking out the variations caused by breathing for example) and really steadies the painting hand. For me this works much better than having the figure mounted to the table, although it is fixed and motionless the brush tip tends to wander in relation to it, but try both yourself and see which is better for you.

    If you want to aim for work of a high calibre you need to be able to apply a dark line under the top lid and a light line at the top edge of the bottom lid, as well as highlighting the iris and adding a pupil (although this really isn't really necessary for dark eye colours). Some people also paint in a tiny catchlight, a tiny white dot on the iris, but I wouldn't recommend it as it gives the illusion of a fixed lightsource, when you're otherwise painting the figure with an imaginary general light from above. I prefer to put a light gloss coat on my eyes, even at this scale.

    Final tips: don't drink too much coffee or try to paint when you're tired or after exercise; and I have a friend that assures me that even a little alcohol is a bad idea too :)

  7. KeithP Active Member

    Good subject and tips so far...

    Some from me and I paint in oils...

    I add a touch of hum flesh to tit white to take down to overall whiteness.
    You can trim the whites with another clean brush. Better to have a bit of a squint than pop eye, IMO.

    Paint the opposite eye first. In other words, if you are right handed like me, paint the eye on the left (facing you). I seem to get things lined up better that way.

    Burnt umber makes a nice brown. Indigo + tit white make nice baby blues!

    Study pictures of eyes to get the pupil and catch light placement and volume.

    Practice alot too!

    To get those dark lines at the bottom and tops that enion mentions you can try a light wash of burnt umber in to the eyes before you place the whites. I know many of us don't like washes... :)

    Also, totally agree with the comments to keep steady hand... Painting fine detail with low blood sugar or excess caffeine is a problem for me!!!

  8. Kandor8 Active Member

    Thanks guys!
    A lot of good tips and ideas so far! I'm going to try each of them and any others that might be sent my way. Like I said, I never had a problem with anything over 70mm, but 54mm? Forget about it! And I've got over $500 worth of Historex stuff (that's 80's money)!, just ask Chuck Robinson of The Red Lancers. So, I figured I best buy smaller brushes and BIGGER magnifying glasses. Man, I wish my hearing was going bad instead of my eyesight, I'm getting too for this #@&*! But I love it and this website is just what I needed to get me going again!
    Ric :lol:
  9. Figure Mad Well-Known Member

    Hi Ric

    Because of bad eyesight I had to purchase a set of magnifying glasses that come on a strap that goes around your head, just like the ones that watch makers and repairers wear, a bit expensive but worth the money when you can see things 10 times the size of normal, it realy helps no end and I dont get eye strain with them ... :)

    They might be worth investigating....

  10. Kandor8 Active Member

    Thanks Dave,
    I'm plannig on getting a pair of them soon, a magnifier on a stand is a real pain.
  11. Dan Morton A Fixture

    See - this is why I don't do 54mm! 75 - 80 minimum - save your eyesight!!!

    all the best,
  12. Kandor8 Active Member

    The issue is primarily financial, believe me, I'd be working on 90's and larger if they were more reasonably priced. You have to keep in mind that the last figure I bought in about 1989 was a 90mm Series 77 piece and it cost $25! Can't imagine what it would be like without the advent of resin figures. Don't worry too much about my peepers guys... I've discovered - BUSTS! Only problem is ... they look back at you. Kinda creepy. :eek:


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