Drawing Dynamic Facial Expressions: Angry Eyes | Kristy Gordon | Skillshare

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Drawing Dynamic Facial Expressions: Angry Eyes

teacher avatar Kristy Gordon, New York Based Artist And Teacher

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

4 Lessons (34m)
    • 1. Eye Drawing Introduction

    • 2. Drawing Materials

    • 3. Construction of the Eye

    • 4. Angry eye horizontal

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About This Class

Perhaps the most subtle and fleeting aspect of portraiture is the complex variety of facial expressions that portray human emotions. In this class students will learn how the features change to convey the expression of angry or determined eyes. This 30 minute class, which is for artists of all levels, will cover the fundamentals of the construction and anatomy of the eyes, as well as the subtle and fleeting nuances that convey the mood of the determined eyes.  You can use any materials you'd like in this class.  By the end you will have a solid understanding of how to render the eyes to express the mood of anger or determination.

Check out my other classes:

Portrait Painting from a Photo: Underpainting (part 1)

Portrait Painting from a Photo: Color (part 2)

Portrait Painting with a Full Palette

Glazing and other Paint Application Techniques

Composition in Art

How to Paint a Baby in Oils

Painting the Portrait in Profile

How to Paint the Flesh Tones

Contemporary Portrait Painting

Painting the Eye

Drawing Facial Expressions: Determined Eyes

Meet Your Teacher

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Kristy Gordon

New York Based Artist And Teacher


Kristy Gordon has twelve years of experience teaching and conducting painting workshops, lectures and classes throughout North America. She is an adjunct professor at the New York Academy of Art and has taught at numerous schools and academies including the National Academy in NYC, and The Academy of Realist Art in Ottawa and Boston. Gordon has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions throughout Canada, the United States, Europe and China. Her work has earned numerous awards including the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant and an Exceptional Merit Award from the Portrait Society of America. She has been widely featured in magazines, art publications, radio and television shows, including International Artist, Fine Art Connoisseur, The Artist’s Magazine, Southwest Art ... See full profile

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1. Eye Drawing Introduction: One of the most subtle and fleeting aspects of portraiture is capturing dynamic facial expressions. So in this class we're going to take a look at how the muscles around the eyes move and change to express this determined or even a angry facial expression. I'm Christie Gordon and I've been a full-time artist since 2004. I've shown my working galleries across the United States and Canada and Europe and taught classes at schools like the New York Academy of Art and the National Academy in New York. In this class, we'll start by taking a close look at the construction of the eye, and then I'll show you how to apply that to your drawing, starting with the basic construction and mapping in the shadow patterns. And then starting to carve in more deeply to get the eyes getting really deep into the darkest shadows to get enough contrast. And then we'll end by looking at how to introduce the final details such as the eyelashes and the eyebrows, and create soft transitions between the lights and the shadows. So I hope you enjoy this class and let's get started. 2. Drawing Materials: This class is designed to have very simple requirements for supplies. So I'm going to be using, I'm gonna be using a mechanical pencil. I really liked the mechanical pencils because you can, you know, it stays sharp all the time. Some people don't like them. Mechanical pencils as much. You're welcome to use a regular pencil, sharpener or even a pan. It can be really nice to do ballpoint pen drawings. My mechanical pencil has an eraser at the back, but if you don't have that, you'll want to also have any racer. I also like these needed erasers when they come as a square when you first buy them. And then you have to kind of warm them up and kind of rubbed them between your hands for a while. And then once they're kinda warmed up, they kind of move more easily and you can kind of shape it into like a little point. If you want to Lake, you raise a very small little area. Or you can lift up like a bigger area. So those are really useful. You can draw in anything you could draw even just on a plain white piece of paper. I really like to work in a sketchbook for these drawings just cuz it's kinda fun to flip through it later and have kind of a collection of the drawings that you've done. But you can work on anything. It's really up to you what you decide to work on. You could also work on a bigger drawing pad. It's nice to have the paper. Slightly heavier weight, this is 90 pounds and it's hot press, so it doesn't have a lot of tooth-like cold press would have a lot of texture. This is, this has a little teeny bit of texture, but it's fairly smooth and it's actually similar to the texture of the paper that I'm working in my sketchbook. So whatever you choose to work with, go ahead and get your materials ready. And let's get started. 3. Construction of the Eye: So let's get started by taking a look at the construction of the eye. So print out this handout and trace along with me. And that way you'll get like a kinetic feel for the things that I'm discussing. So we'll start by looking at this front-facing i that shows the construction more clearly. And you can see this line here basically represents the axis that the eye tilts either in towards the nose. The nose in this drawing is sort of on this side. Or sometimes we'll slope away from the nose. So in this case it's kinda like a cat II type of effect to our, the tear ducts is lower than the outer corner of the eye. And then from there you'll construct the upper eyelid with two angled straight lines, with the apex favoring in towards the nose. And then the lower eyelid can be constructed with two angled straight lines with the apex favoring away from the nose. So you get this kind of skewed rhombus kind of effect. And then the upper eyelid, you can sort of use three angled straight lines to break down that curve. And to describe the lower eyelid. Sort of two angled straight lines on the outer edge of the eye, the eyebrow two can be constructed with two angled straight lines with the apex favoring away from the nose. By doing that, you're kind of going to avoid having this curved generalized Aja Brown instead get a more structured look to the browser. And then the iris, which is the colored part of the eye, is fairly large and it takes up half of the weight of the eye. So you can see that if you were to break up the weight of the I kinda put both pieces of the weight of the i together. It would make about the same distance horizontally as the iris. And the pupil changes in size depending on the amount of light coming in to the eyeball. And the whole iris is covered at the top by the upper eyelids. So you can see, you're not seeing the whole circle all the way to the top. That would give a really kind of staring, sort of looked at the I. And instead looks more relaxed because it's partially covered at the top. And we'll come back to some details in this in a second. But we'll start by just noticing how there's a sort of rounding out effect of these angled straight lines that we discussed in this initial drawing. So you can kind of see how this curve can be summarized by a three certain angles. And that gives it more structure, more of a clarity to the shape of the curve. And again, you can kind of see how this curve, it's, it could be broken down into the two angles, straight lines that we talked about. And in the lower eyelid, this, these two angled street lines here get really rounded out, especially on the outer edge, where it really rounds and wraps around the eyeball. And then we have this little light rim of thickness on showing on the lower eyelid. So it's just this little light ledge on the upper plane of the lower eyelid. And then you've got sort of normally slightly darker front plane at a slight definition to the edge of the lower eyelid. And then the eyelashes turf and criss cross over each other and kind of wrap off of the line of the upper eyelid. And then the light source, which in this drawing is represented by this arrow here. The lights are sum, this drawing is coming this way, so it's cutting down on the eye. And so at the upper i, we get a cast shadow coming down onto the whole eye. And so it's overlapping the white of the eye casting on the way the eye it's casting on the iris. And then if we look at the profile of the eye, the upper eyelid is constructed by these angled straight lines. It's almost like a triangle, but it's open at the bottom. So it's a big wedge shape. And then it crosses over the lower eyelid. And again we see that little light ledge, the little thickness, which is usually light on the upper edge of the lower eyelid and then a front plane. And then we've got the iris, which is a very narrow oval. It's covered at the top by the upper eyelid. And the interesting thing is that from the profile, you can also see the cornea, which is this clear dome that sits in front of the iris and the pupil. And then also the upper eyelid has more height. C, if you kind of look at the height that's made up of the upper eyelid and then the height that's made of the lower eyelid. There. There's more height to the upper eyelid. So if you were to imagine, if we say, if we have our iris, which is an oval and ellipse in perspective, and we brought the pupil right in the center. I'm going to extend that back right through the center. As we construct the upper eyelid. The upper eyelid crosses over the lower eyelid, lower than that center line. So Yeah, again, there's more height to the upper eyelid. And then the other thing is that there's a certain angle created between the upper eyelid and the lower eyelid. So the upper eyelid has quite a bit of thickness and it sticks out quite a bit from the I and the lower eyelid. It wraps more tightly against the eyeball. So the upper eyelids sticks out further and creative certain angle between its relationship to the lower eyelid. And then extending off of the line of the upper eyelid, we get the eyelashes. And again, there's that little light ledge of thickness on the top plane of the lower eyelid. And that as we look at the eye in a three-quarter perspective, all of the same sort of principles apply. You can construct the eyebrows into kind of two angled straight lines. You can construct the upper eyelid into two angled straight lines and it curves into the eyelashes. And then the upper eyelid can be constructed with three angled straight lines. Again, the lower eyelid really wraps around, really curves at that odor edge as it wraps around the white of the eye. And the Iris from a three-quarter view is an ellipse, so its a circle and perspective. So it appears more like a sort of oval. And again, it's covered at the top by the upper eyelid. And there's the pupil which is also covered at the top. And you get a kind of cast shadow coming down onto the light in the eye and onto the pupil. Again, got that little late rim of thickness that's showing the top plane of the lower eyelid. And I'd suggestion of the front plane of the lower eyelid as well. This just shows here how the pupil contracts in bright light and gets larger in dim light. And it often looks better if you kind of make the pupil this a little bit bigger and kind of use that casts shadow that comes down on the eye to kind of connect to the pupil. And it does tends to look more relaxed, kind of set into place. A lot of the time when we're painting a model and we have like a really bright light on the model, their pupil will get really small. And so it just looks a bit better if you kind of create a way to have that pupil connect to the cast shadow at the top of the upper eyelid. And here I just wanted to show you in more detail. So we've got the upper eyelid, we've got the iris in front of it sits the dome, that clear dome, which is the cornea. So the cornea scoops outwards. But the interesting thing is that in fact the iris scoops inwards a little bit. So I wanted to show you how that applies in a sort of bowl shape. So again, this is a concave shape just like the iris. And I've got my light coming from this direction, the upper left-hand side, just like the drawing that we were just looking at. And you can see you that in that case, the lightest part of the school, she picks up on the lower area, on the right hand side, the opposite side that the light source is coming from. And we get a cast shadow coming down on the top part of the iris. And so how that affects our final details is that as you described the iris and again, you'll get that in the late sources coming from the upper left like the bowl that I just showed you. Again, you'll get that cash shadow coming down at the top so the iris will be darker at the top. And then you'll actually get the lighter part of the iris showing him this lower right hand corner. Basically, whatever is opposite the direction of your light source. So that's where you might put just a little dash of lighter blue if it's blue eyes are like later Brown. If it's brown eyes, That's where the kinda later crystalline kind of colored part of the I will show. And then the pupil basically catches on, it's catching on the edge of the cornea. So it's occurring on the same side of the light source and it occurs right at the edge of where the pupil meets the iris. Just that little white dot for hope that'll help you understand the construction of the eye. 4. Angry eye horizontal: In this class, we'll take a look at how the eyes and eyebrows shift and move to create an expression that looks either a angry or maybe like determined. So I'm gonna start with just some lines, basically positioning the eyebrows. And I'm just using light ghost cities sort of soft lines, very easily erasable, getting the central construction. And now I'm just building up the form of the brow that sort of moves down like the whole brow ridge moves down and kind of overlaps onto the crease of the upper eyelid and just sketching in the side plane of the nose. It kind of tapers underneath the eyebrow. And then the positioning, the basic positioning of the eyes that get really set back into the eye socket does. I'm sort of using the side of my pencil so that I'm just like blocking and very loose jag ghost D sort of lines just getting the angles set up. They're just sort of positioning the width of the eye, the proportions, the alignment between the two eyes, getting everything set up for the shading and everything that later. And making sure that it seems symmetrical. They're not exactly symmetrical like in reality, but there should be a certain alignment between both of them is a front-facing views of the eyes should be the same width horizontally. And I'm kind of getting the lower lid as it really wraps, it really curves and wraps around the eyeball. The vertical dimension of the IES gets compressed since the brow is pushing down on the eyes. So vertically the eyes get a little bit narrower and the iris is definitely covered at the top by the upper eyelid, again, since the brow form is really pushing down on them. And so I'm just kind of solidifying some of the basic lines, basic positioning, angles of the Light Linear Construction of the eye. And then I'm going to start to shade it in. First starting by just really setting the I, the whole entire I's situation back into the eye socket in this kind of determined or angry sort of expression. Since the browser pushing down on the I, the, I get set back into more shadow than usual. So it really sets right back into the shadow. So we're just going to establish that first before even starting to go into any of the more detailed description of the eye or different tonal variation. And so you can see that I'm using an angle stroke and since I'm right-handed, I tend to go kind of right to left, like up to down. So whatever is comfortable for your hand, you know, but it's nice to have a certain kind of angled stroke that's like your base. And then later you'll be kinda crosshatching and working across the form. And I'm starting with a note that's like not too dark, but it's not too light. Definitely reads. And then I'm just going to strengthen the sense of that form of the brow and the way it. Roles, the whole form of the brow ridge rolling down and pushing, compressing on the upper eyelid, the upper crease. And then I just start to go in with some of the darkest notes that I can fully set. The full range of tone that we're gonna be dealing with. This is actually not the absolute darkest, but it's really quite dark and really setting that I on the right in to the isochoric, it gets very dark right up against the nose. That's one of the darkest areas, as well as the pupil itself, which is basically completely black. And I'm still using that same angle stroke just to keep it neat and tidy. And then what I do is I kind of do a soft lake later, sort of hatching across the form in a slightly different direction that sort of softens the adage of that shadow transition and just blends it into the lights. And yeah, and so I'm kind of punching up the outer edge of the iris. And again, filling in the iris with quite a dark tone. It's gonna go even darker than this. But at this stage this is quite a dark note. So I'm trying to really get the full range of tone that we'll be dealing with. And the white of the eye is also quite dark, so I'm letting it set into the shadow as well. And I'm really pushing very hard with the pupil like it's going for like a full ten like in terms of blackness for that pupil. The hairs of the eyebrows, you know, have a certain direction to them. They kind of grow upwards in the center and then they kind of from the lower part as it moves outwards, grow up and then kinda grow down at the very top outer part. So kinda doing strokes that suggests that direction of the hair and doing very hard dark lines for the line of the upper eyelid decrease again, that's like a full ten in terms of blackness. And I'm using a graphite pencils. So if I was using charcoal, it would go even darker, but I'm going about as dark as this pencil which is a b lead pencil will go. And yeah, and then I'm just continuing to kind of dark and I'm getting that cast shadow that extends down from the upper eyelid and casts on the whole upper part of the iris. And then kind of rounding the form of the brow down to the place where the upper eyelid crease occurs. So it gets darker, darker, darker as it rolls into that form. And there's also a little bit of darkening where the tear ducts like the central corner of the eye, kind of meets its the suggestion of the eye socket. And it also like running along that front plane of the lower eyelid to slake, setting all of that into shadow and starting to work a bit with the tone. You know, now we've basically got the medium tone, the darkness tone. Like a slightly lighter tone, but it's still darker than the white of the paper because everything was set back into shadow early on. So I'm just working within this shadow area and not touching anything in the lights yet. There's a nice little sort of hook sheep at the back of the, you know, the outer corner of the eye that sort of hooks from the top down around into the lower eyelid and really anchors the ion to the face. And the outer perimeter of the iris darkens a little bit. So I'm just continuing to darken along that and continuing to sort of dark and into the whole eye socket looking at the shapes of, you know, how the edge occurs at the lower sort of perimeter of the of the lower eyelid. And yeah, just continuing to set everything back darker and darker carefully not going. I want to make sure that if I'm pushing my pencil really hard, I'm fairly confident about the positioning of things because it's gonna get gouge the paper so I won't be able to erase it later. And then, yeah, there's kind of a smoky eye type of effect on the outer edge of the eye that kind of shades at a diagonal backwards. And also a nice diagonal that's created as that center part of that eye. Shadow pushes down into the nose. There's like a nice angle of shadow created there and a sort of opposing angle that kind of describes the structure of the nasal bone as well as the structure of the eye socket cavity. Just adjusting the positioning of this crease that's formed between the browse on my face. This is actually my face. It it's a little asymmetrical, it's a little further over to the left on me. Other people would be different. So you always want to kind of observe, but that's, that's what happens on my faith. And we get some puckering in the forums above the brow. And as that skin pushes together in the center, again, I'm using that angled directional stroke. And I'm not opposed to using my finger to kind of rub and smooth in areas. I've seen a lot of other artists do that as well as some people are like definitely opposed to it. I am not. But I still like to set it up with a lot of yeah, these angled strokes, I feel like that kind of holds it all together. And then you can kind of get into tighter rendering in places. But it's nice to have a base that just brings a sense of unity. So it's not just like a massive strokes everywhere. Yeah, and then now I'm starting to kind of carry very softly into the lights. And so I'm using a very soft touches. I do that so that it's a very light note that just softens the edge of the shadow into the lights. And I'm just bringing a bit more of a sense of unity to the shadow patterning on this left eye socket. And now just strengthening the angles of the upper eyelid, darkening that in and checking its relationship against this right-hand die so that I can just make sure that it's the tear doctors at the same height as the other one. And yeah, everything's set up accurately. And then just darkening in to that place where the eyebrows kind of get lost into the shadow. Just at the upper corner of the nose or the nose inserts into the skull. And again, continuing to refine the shadow pattern, the shape of it, and the structure of how it wraps down from the eye socket and starts to run down the nose and then darkening into the white of the eye and strengthening the iris and the other outer corners of the eyelid and the eyelashes. For the eyelashes, just really pushing that pencil into the paper, making it like total darkness. The blackest color possible with a graphite pencil. And then sort of pulling that note of the eyelashes down. It connects to the pupil and that too is a very dark, you know, the full darkest note possible. And it really extends into getting lost into that shadow on the left-hand side of the nose as well. So I'm continuing to work that form. Just darkening right into that. You really want to set that way back. So I'm checking either side just, you know, punching that up one more time. And with the upper eyelid crease, we don't really see the whole thing because the form wraps down on it. So we just sort of see it on the outer corner. The outer edge going in there with the eyebrow. And describing the outer corner of the island of the lower eyelid, leaving a little space for that little light room of thickness that shows that the top plane of the lower eyelid just continuing to strengthen that crease of the upper eyelid. And the lower eyelid again, it really ramps very circular around the curve of the form of the eyeball. So really on the outer edge, just like really having that wrap all the way back and darkening around the outer perimeter of the iris. One more time. Getting a little suggestion of the eyelashes on the outer edge of the eye. And bringing that cast shadow from the eye lid that casts down onto the iris one more time. And then setting the tear ducts into a little bit more shadow to the stake describing the way it sets into shadow and then connects into the side of the nose. And starting to describe that crease that cuts across the nose when the browser furrowed down like they are. And working that form of the crease between the eyebrows a little bit more. It sort of round softly and darkens gradually into the darkest note right at the right-hand edge of that crease. And now I'm just kind of going in and actually bringing even more unity to the shadows. Softening the edge of the shadows were the shadow meets the light with a little half tone of very soft. Jag, very soft faded note that just rolls the lights. To the shadows. And then I'm kind of working my pencil into any little holes like the texture of the paper might have created that leave a light note in the middle of the shadows. So I'm just kind of smoothing it out. They kinda getting into there and just continuing to punch up those darkest notes to really get the full contrast, getting that line of the lashes, the cast shadow that comes down onto the iris and the pupil. And the outer perimeter of the iris as well. To be really strong, really dark. It's going to, it looks really nice if there's a high contrast and you fully hit those darkest notes to get that clarity and, and just that, that kind of 2p. And then starting to describe the pterodactyl little bit more and the cast shadow that comes down onto the white of the eye as well. Working the left-hand I, getting it fully dark as well, making sure that pupils are big enough and connecting to the top line of the lashes. So I just kind of go back in and keep getting darker and darker for those darkest darks notes and maintaining the angularity to those edges. And then gradually just getting in there with a soft ghosting note that's wrapping, that's kind of bringing the lights gradually towards the shadows, rounding that form of the brow that's down as it gradually rounds down into the crease of of the upper eyelid. So just gets gradually darker, darker, darker as it rolls towards that upper eyelid and getting in there on the white of the eye with the cast shadow that comes down onto the eye. So you'll find that lake when you first do a note, you know, it'll look pretty dark, but then later when he dark and other things, it doesn't look dark enough, so yeah. And then again, I'm just working my pencil into any of the little gaps that are occurring within the shadows. Just sort of smoothing out that tone. Kind of like inserting it into the texture of the paper so that the whole note is very, you know, even in Clear Lake and the shadows just all very clearly set into the shadows. And there's very little, it is hardly know, little light notes occurring within the shadows because of the paper texture and continuing to dark. And one more time in that note, just between the i, the i's as it as they meet the nose and how that kind of extends down towards the side plane of the nose. And the eyelashes kind of soften backwards on the outer corner and kind of turns into some shading. As well as kind of redefining that hook like shape that hooks down into the lower island, incurring the ion to the face on the outer corner of the eyelid, we see, we don't see as much of it on the inner part of the lower eyelid, but we see a good strong note of it on the outer part. And that subtle little suggestion of the eye socket, that angle that comes down from the tear duct and heads down and outwards. That's actually the description of the eye socket, the orbit of the eye socket in the skull itself. So I'm continuing to kind of darken, dark and the half the notes that are right beside the darkness note like the cast shadow that comes down onto the whites of the eyes. And continuing to darken those darkest notes too so that I get the full the full contrast. Yeah, and drawings, it looks really nice if the shadows are really well controlled and there's a very clear light sine and shadow side. And then, yeah, hitting that darkest note so that you get the full contrast really gives a lot of visual excitement. Same within paintings, you don't want to avoid that darkest note. You want to get that kind of visual excitement. Yeah, and now that it's all set up, I'm starting to work very softly into the light side. And so I'm using like the side of my pencil and a very ghostly note in some places you can hardly perceive what I'm doing. It's just so subtle and so faint, but I'm basically just creating another tone between the lightest tone and the mid tone, just to kind of round the two together. So it's very, very faint and dose T, You can just basically almost feel it but you hardly see it. And I'm really using this side of my pencil as I do that. And I'm typically I'm using a kinda that same angled strokes that I used in the beginning. Again, that's kind of the base. It just sort of brings like a certain sense of unity to the, to the drawing. And just like darkening One more time into that casts shadow that casts down onto the whites of the eyes. It looks really nice if you can really perceive that. Just sets the eyes like underneath the eyelids. And I've been creeping up on it but I'm darkening the crease like the lines of the creases. Finally, now that I've kind of rounded into them and setup the shadow patterns to include them. And I'm just darkening the front plane of the lower eyelid a little bit more, which will help the little light rim of thickness on the upper ledge of the lower eyelid. Stand out a little bit more. So I'm kind of running along the front plane. If it's just a tone darker, that little light room of thickness will stand out just a little bit more. It's all pretty subtle work at this stage. Search is very light touch. And Yen in nice little clean little diagonal strokes. Setting that eye socket with ghost city sort of notes like into the, into the shadow just a touch more. So I really just keep working that cast shadow onto the whites of the eyes and hitting a couple darker tones, darker little hairs for the eyebrows. Just where it gets darkest, the eyebrows will have different tones across them. Likes some parts sort of in the middle to the outer edge or later, but as they roll towards the center, it gets darker and we see some nice little hairs there. And the other thing that I continue to work is the rounding of that form of the browse down to the price of the upper eyelid as well as that little hook shape on the outer edge of the lower eyelid that anchors the eye into the face, just fine tuning the tear ducts area and the top plane of the lower eyelid. Very subtle, little lighter top plane, slightly darker front plane for that lower eyelid. And just the way the pterodactyls like a little bit of a description rate in the inner corner of the tear duct. So that basically shows you how I would construct the eyes in this angry or determined when the eyebrows are furrowing down into the eye socket.