How to Draw & Paint Animal Eyes in Watercolor | Denise Soden | Skillshare

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How to Draw & Paint Animal Eyes in Watercolor

teacher avatar Denise Soden, Watercolor Artist & Content Creator

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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

11 Lessons (1h 56m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Materials

    • 3. Parts of the Eye

    • 4. Animal Eye Features

    • 5. Sketching Animal Eyes

    • 6. Class Project Overview

    • 7. Demo: Cat Eye (Blue)

    • 8. Demo: Peacock Eye (Brown)

    • 9. Demo: Lizard Eye (Orange)

    • 10. Demo: Toad Eye (Yellow & Black)

    • 11. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Eyes are the window to the soul, in humans and animals alike. Join us in this class to learn the building blocks for creating evocative eyes that will help you paint more convincing animal portraits.

In this class, we will:

  • Briefly discuss the anatomy of the human eye
  • Discover important similarities and differences between human and animal eyes
  • Learn my method for drawing vertebrate animal eyes
  • Follow along in one or more class demonstrations

Students in this class may base their Class Projects on their own wants, needs, or goals. After watching the first portion of the class, students may choose one, some, or all of the four real-time demonstrations (a mammal, bird, reptile, and amphibian) for a class resulting in 40-120 minutes based on their specific preferences.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites are required, but basic watercolor knowledge is assumed for the painting portions of the class. The Cat and Peacock Demos are rather approachable for intermediate levels, while the Lizard and Toad Demos are more advanced in terms of painting skill.


"The Summer Ends in Rain" by Elisha David |

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Denise Soden

Watercolor Artist & Content Creator

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Denise Soden is a watercolor artist and online educational content creator. She's been captivated by both animals and art since before she can remember. In 2015, she left her career, passion, and lifestyle as a zoo educator to tend to her personal health. However, around the same time she found watercolors and has since fallen completely head over heals for them. Connecting her artistic roots with her passion for wildlife and education, she is now a full time artist and educational watercolor content creator.

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1. Introduction: The expression goes that the eyes are the window to the soul. I believe that extends beyond humans and applies to other species as well. Hello, my name is Denise [inaudible]. Over the last 15 years I've been a zoo educator, animal photographer, and wildlife water colorist. Throughout that time, I've always been most drawn to the eyes of my subject more so than anything else, regardless of the medium. While my passion for creating animal portraits fills quite a specific niche. This connection that I feel with animals through their expressions as well as my background in zoo education has allowed me to uniquely hone in on some of the important features that distinguish animals from species to species. Most of the classes that I've seen here on Skillshare are naturally and understandably geared towards studying the human eyes. I will start this class by identifying the anatomy of the eyes most familiar to us. We will then be able to explore beyond humans and discover a wide range of features belonging to other mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians to see what makes each unique. In this class, I'll show you my basic technique for approaching just about any vertebra animal eyes, we'll study examples of things to look for in your reference material, and then I'll walk you through not one, but four detailed watercolor demonstrations of different types of animal eyes. From wild, people shapes to facial differences, we'll learn how to identify and recreate these special features that makes each animal recognizable at first glance. For your class project, you'll choose at least one of these demos to follow along with me or you can even pick your own species that calls to you specifically and apply those same skills. I cannot wait to see all of the different eyes that we can come up with from the whole of the animal kingdom. Let's go ahead and get started. 2. Materials: The materials for this class are pretty flexible. You'll need some paper, either a sketchbook, a watercolor sketch book or even just some copy paper to practice drawing your eyes on. Grab your favorite sketching pencil, whether it be a standard graphite pencil, a colored pencil, or a mechanical pencil. You'll likely want an eraser nearby. Eventually, you'll need some form of watercolor. But whatever you have on hand will be just fine. Whether it's a student grade set, or just watercolors, or your own custom pilot like I helped you build in my previous Skillshare class. As long as you have a balanced selection of colors, you'll get by just fine. For your final project, you'll need a sheet of watercolor paper if you're not already working any watercolor sketch book, some round of a watercolor brush, a cup or two of water, and a towel. I like to use a size eight round for most of my painting and I'll pair that with a size of one or two round for the smallest of details. However, even a water brush will do just fine for these exercises. You don't need all the options that I'm showing here on the screen right now. Here's another look at the bare minimum of the supplies that I would recommend for this class. There will also be a link to the supplies that I use in the class description below. But for the specific materials don't matter as much as the foundational drawing skills for this class. 3. Parts of the Eye: As I mentioned in the introduction, to really get familiar with the anatomy of an eye, I feel it appropriate to start with the ones that we know best, our own. Using a photograph we'll learn how to identify the different parts of the eye so we can look for those features as we study other animals. The sclera is the white part of our eye. Humans are fairly unique in that we can see the sclera when our eyes are just sitting resting open. One contributing factor that makes human eye expressive is being able to see various amounts of the sclera based on our emotions such as if we are surprised, our eyes become wider, exposing the white above our irises. The iris is the colored portion of our eye. It is responsible for adjusting the diameter of our pupil, which in turn determines how much light reaches the retina inside of our eye. The reason irises are pigmented at all is because it helps make them even more opaque, allowing less light to pass through them. Dark brown eyes contain the most pigment called melanin, while green and blue eyes have less melanin and albino eyes don't have any at all. As mentioned a moment ago, the pupil isn't actually just a black spot of pigment in the center of your eyes, it's a hole. Similar to a camera aperture, it allows light to pass through your iris to the retina. We're not going to talk about the inside of our eyes in this class, but I do mention it in my course on watercolor mixing if you're interested in learning more about how we processed value in color. The lacrimal caruncle, which I'm sure I'm not saying it exactly right, is the small fleshing node in the inner corner of your eye, it contains sebaceous and sweat glands. We have two eyelids which you probably don't need me to tell you and they are thin layers of skin which are meant to protect your eyes in general and help keep them moist throughout the day via blinking. The muscles around them contract in order to keep them open and while they're in their resting state, they are loosely closed. Our eyelashes primarily help to keep dust particles and other debris out of our eyes. But to a lesser extent, they also provide information through our sense of touch, like a cat's whiskers to let us know if something is too close to our eyes as well. Our eyebrows also helped to keep our eye safe by keeping water or sweat from falling directly into our eyes. But there are also important for non-verbal communication in humans. Finally, the orbit or eye socket is the cavity that extends from just below your brow ridge to underneath your eye that contains the entire eyeball and all of the other internal structures associated with it. 4. Animal Eye Features: Now that we can identify different parts of the human eye, it's time to look at some pictures of animals to see if we can recognize some of the same structures, but also look for notable differences. In this image of a gorilla, you can clearly see many of the same features as our own eyes, like the brown iris, the noticeable brow, the delicate eyelids, and even the sclera, although it is darker here than it is on ours. How many features can you identify in this sheet portrait? I'll give you a moment to study it before revealing the answers. We can see the sclera, the iris, the pupil, the eyelashes, the eyelid, and the glands. Surprising how many similarities we have with the sheep. Now we're going to take a look at some examples of some very specific features. Can you spot the sclerea on this baby basilisk lizard? It's darker than ours, but it's still just there outside the iris. For comparison, let's take a look at this hawk and this flemur and note that their eyelids closely hug their irises and we cannot see any of the whites of their eyes. Next up we're going to talk about pupil shapes. Pupils are fascinating to me as certain shapes tend to reoccur in a wide variety of animal species, most often related to their size and activity patterns. There are tens, if not hundreds, of different theories explaining why pupil shapes are different and there's exceptions to every rule, but I'm going to go ahead and try and give you some brief examples here in this video. Many animals that have round pupils tend to be diurnal, meaning they're awake during the day like humans, cheetahs and flamingos, and/or many of them tend to be larger or taller animals like lions, elephants, and wolves. Many smaller or low to the ground predators that tend to be most active during dawn, dusk and night have independently evolved slit pupils, such as small cats, small canines, many snake species, and crocodilians. It's thought that this shape allows for light and color to be controlled more precisely than around people. Vertical pupils are also helpful for animals that use crypsis or camouflage as the vertically contracted pupil is much easier to hide than a round one. Horizontal pupils can be seen across many groups of unrelated animals like goats, horses, mongooses, and even octopi. This shape allows animals to see in extremely wide angles, making sure that they can see all the way around their bodies to help spot approaching predators. There are other really weird pupils, like the W-shape of a cuttlefish or the pinholes or string-of-pearls found on some gecko species. But long story short, I just want to put in a reminder to make sure to keep your eyes on those pupils in order to recreate them convincingly in your artwork. Moving on to other features to look for, birds have something referred to as an eye ring. Birds are covered in feathers, but the skin immediately surrounding their eyes free feathers to help keep them clean. This bare skin may blend in with the birds coloring like this cockatoo, or it may be completely contrasting, like this vulture. Another anatomical feature in some birds as well as some reptiles and mammals are nictitating membranes. This translucent inner third eyelid can be drawn across the eye for protection or moisture while retaining some amount of vision. It's unlikely that you'll want to include this in your paintings, but it's important to be aware of if you're looking at reference photos or taking your own and you see a blurry eye, it might be the nictitating membrane. The concept of eyelids in general may seem like a no-brainer, but there are actually several species of animals that don't have eyelids at all, like some geckos and snakes. Most geckos have a clear scale that covers their eye instead of an eyelid, which is why you might see them looking in their eyes from time to time to clean them off. Snakes also have a scale that covers their eye, but unlike geckos, they can't keep these clean. They are shed each time the snake sheds the rest of its skin. Most fish do not have eyelids either, but I have to admit I'm not as familiar with fish as I am with land mammals, so I'll try and stick to my strong suits in this class. One final thing that I want to mention in this section is eye placement, which will be pretty crucial for understanding the overall face anatomy and creating accurate artwork. At the zoo, we had a little rhyme to help the kids remember what types of animals have which eye placement. Eyes on the side, I like to hide. Eyes in the front, I like to hunt. Except for the lemurs because they're lying. Or in more descriptive terms, prey animals tend to have their eyes on the sides of their heads for greater range, and vision to see predators sneaking up on them. Predators tend to have eyes in the front of their faces for better binocular vision and depth perception while hunting, and arboreal animals alike, but not limited to lemurs, need to have an excellent depth perception as well, so they're able to safely jump or swing from branch to branch without falling. 5. Sketching Animal Eyes: Now that we have a better understanding of all the features that we're going to be looking for, it's time to start sketching. We're going to start off with a dog's eye and I'd love for you to follow along with me. Despite the differences that will eventually add to each individual sketch I start every eye off exactly the same way, with a circle. The circle that I create is almost always representative of the iris rather than the entire eyeball. The one exception that comes to mind for me is humans since we see so much of the sclera itself, but most animals don't fit into that category. I like to do this motion from my shoulder rather than my wrist, since the ball and socket joint will naturally help your circle to take form without causing much unwanted variation in the line. Once the circle has been drawn, I like to place the two corners of the eye. I carefully look at my reference image as to where these two points should be, and then following the contours of the eyelids, I begin to form the shape of the eye as we see it. For this dog, the eyelids create a rounded shape in the middle that come to softly rounded corners. When I'm happy with the overall shape, I can begin to sketch in other landmarks like the pupil and the details around the eye. I'll make a little note here that at this point in the curriculum, I'm drawing a little bit more detail and shadow than I typically would if I knew I was going to be painting these with watercolors. Watercolors are transparent medium so I wouldn't want to have a lot of dark lines or heavy shadows. But since this is a sketching demonstration, I wanted to make sure that there's enough detail to show you where my mind is going with all of these different features that I want to develop in the piece. We're going to do several more sketches exploring different eye shapes. For this next one, we're going to be taking a look at the very rounded eyes of the red ruffed lemur. You can see almost the entire iris without any interference from the eyelids, yet we still don't see any of the sclera. I could've done a better job coming in just ever so slightly more at the bottom inner corner of the eye where the bottom eyelid actually does cover a sliver of that edge of the iris. But for the most part, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Most of the rendering on this piece would have been done with watercolors. But since it's a sketch, I'll just go ahead and note where I want to put areas of highlight and shadow before moving on to the next one. Next step we're going to be working on a cheetah. Cheetahs often carry their upper eyelids fairly low, allowing us to only see about half of their iris. This is reinforced by the fact that we can just barely see the pupil, which we know is centered on the iris, and in this case it sits right under the upper eyelid in this picture. Cheetahs are diurnal predators that often hunt in the bright Savannah Sun. So the way that the carry their eyes, as well as the black markings around their face, help to reduce glare. Similar to the previous sketch, this owl has about two-thirds of her iris showing. But rather than being cut straight across like the cheetah, there's a bit more of an arch towards the inner corner. The eye ring on this owl is black and a lot more subtle than the birds that I showed as examples in the previous lesson of the class. Some of the feathers even cover the edge of the eye ring towards the inner corner. Once again towards the end of this sketch, I'll be following the curve of the original circle to shape the upper eyelids. So keep your eyes peeled for that. Girrafes have very heavy eyelids that often cover a large portion of their eyes. Their eyes are very dark brown. So if you're in the sunlight, you can see the differentiation between the iris and the pupil. But in most photo references or in shadowed situations, you're simply going to see a dark crescent shaped like this one. Their eyelids actually extend a bit further out than the eyeball itself, but the skin around the eye is so dark that it all blends together. It's really important that you use a lot of different reference photos to understand where the eyeball stops and where the skin begins. Finally, I wanted to show you that the circle method that I use can apply to other angles as well and doesn't have to be used straight on. Here we're going to be drawing a horse eye from the front of its face rather than the side which is where the eye is actually positioned. In this case, my initial circle will represent the entire eyeball rather than just the iris. We can clearly see the distinction of the iris from the sclera. In this view we can also see how much dimension both the upper and lower eyelids contribute. We want to make sure to note that the horse has a rectangular pupil which may be hard to decipher in this particular image since it is processed. However, our research will once again guide us in the right direction. 6. Class Project Overview: It may seem a bit early for me to be throwing around the words, class project, but given the nature of this class, I wanted to pop in a little note here and explain just how the rest of the class and the class projects are going to play out. To really dive deep into the subject and explore not only different species, but also different colored eyes, I spent a lot of time carefully choosing four reference photos. A blue cat eye, a brown peacock eye, a yellow-orange lizard eye, and a yellow-green toad eye. Between all of these different colors and textures, I'm hoping that the class impacts a wider range of techniques that will help you to tackle any subject of your choosing moving forward. During these demonstrations, I love for you to paint along with me if you'd like to, but you can also sit back and soak in all the information before starting on one or more of these images for your class project. If none of these animals speak to you specifically, or if you've done all four, but still want more practice, you're also welcome to pick any animal of your choosing and add it to your class project as well. For today's demonstrations, I'm going to be using the be creative sketchbook, some pentel aquash water brushes, a regular graphite pencil, and a pretty standard watercolor palette. I'll let you know what colors I'm using along the way. One thing that I forgot to mention in the materials section of this video is that when I do some highlights at the end of my paintings, I like to use this ph Martin's bleed-proof white. It's a very thick, opaque watercolor consistency, and I find that it adds just a little pop towards the end to really bring things alive. If you have some white gouache or white ink at home, you can easily use that in its place. Without further ado, let's get started. 7. Demo: Cat Eye (Blue): We're going to get started with our first eye, which is going to be of this cat with blue eyes. I'm going to start with that circle once again, locking my hand in place like I mentioned earlier in the class, and using my shoulder to get that circular motion so it can be as smooth as possible. I'm going to place the points where I want the corners of the eyes to be and note that they are in a very diagonal direction on this particular image. The cat has a pretty heavy upper lid, and it's a tiny bit tilted like she's looking at just a tiny bit. There's a couple angles here that we wouldn't normally see on the almond-shaped of a cat's eye since it arcs around here. I don't want the angles to be too terribly hard, but we do want to make sure that we are showing that Arctic curvature here. The bottom one, on the other hand, comes down fairly smoothly and makes a pretty nice half circle down here. It's going to swoop down fairly low and then curl back up towards the end. We're just going to go ahead and check our shape. I think that it's a bit too circular actually. It's not quite angle enough. What I'm going to do is I'm going to bring this lower line in a little bit further and really try and slope it so we get that more almond-shape. One of the challenges of drawing for filming and drawing flat in general is that if you're not able to check your angles parallel to your eyes, then a lot of times you'll get this perspective wrong and so if you do draw flat on a desk, like I do, make sure that you are checking your artwork either. Like for me, it's easy. I have the camera that helps me to film it, but you can tilt your board up towards you to make sure that you are putting things in the appropriate places. Now, that we have that angle down and it's a little bit better than it was before, we can draw some of the other features like there is a strip of light fur just here and it gets darker right below that, and above the eye we also have a little white or cream colored tough to fur right over the eye and then you also have a buffer of cream before we fade into the gray fur. There is a patcher fur that's much darker in this area here. I actually think to help with this almond-shape that I'm struggling with is I need to bring the inner corner in a little bit more and I think that will help us solve our problems. We're going to place the pupil in the center of our initial larger circles. Rather than centering it here on the eye, we need to center it up a little bit higher and take note that the top of the pupil is hidden underneath the upper eyelid. The lower part of the pupil doesn't quite come down to the bottom. It's a little over halfway of the visible portion and it comes back up to meet the eye about where that bend is in the fur. I picked this reference, one for the blue eyes, but also because it had a really nice highlight in it that's going to be fairly easy to replicate. There is a reflection of what I believe is a window in this image so we can go ahead and sketch that in and I think we should be ready to start painting. One little tip that I recommend if you are heavy handed at sketching is that you can use a gummed eraser to pick up some of the pigment before you start, because that will help your lines to be more transparent when you are going over them with water color. In my case, I was trying to make those lines nice and dark so you could see them in the camera. But now that we're starting painting, lightening up the whole image will be helpful for our final products. I'm going to be starting with a mixture of ultramarine and a tiny bit of Cobalt Teal. I'm just going to mix those up on the palette here and I want a nice light, bright blue color that has a little bit of warmth to it. I'm going to water this mixture down a fair amount and then we are going to put it over the entire iris except for where we have carved out those highlights. Some people don't enjoy using water brushes, but I find especially in sketch books, it really helps to get the paint to flow across the paper really effortlessly. It does take a little bit of getting used to, but if you are used to using regular brushes, you can absolutely do this with whatever materials you are most comfortable with. I do want to be careful of that upper eyelid area just because this animal has such light fur we're not going to be able to pick up or cover up rather any mistakes, and this paper in general is fairly unforgiving. It is, as I mentioned, the creative or be creative Arcobi journal and it really likes to latch onto even colors that are supposed to lift easily. If you're using a cellulose paper, you might have to be a little bit more careful about the layers lifting too easily and glazing will have to be done with a lighter hand. Now that we have our first layer down, we're going to let that dry and we can move on to the fur around it while we are waiting. I'm going to get a little bit of my burnt umber mixed up onto my palette and I'm going to let it cool down a bit with some ultramarine that's already here on the surface. I'm going to water it down to a very watery consistency so there's hardly any pigment on it. Then we're going to start placing some of this color. I do still have a container of water on my desk so if you see my hand go off camera, that's probably where it is just cleaning off the brush without wasting the water that's in the barrel just like you would with a standard brush. I'm just going to place this up around the eye avoiding the area directly next to the eye since it is so lightly colored. Moving on to the bottom here, we're going to do the same thing, but with a little bit more contrast. There is a definite line here between the darker fur and the lighter fur so we can reflect that in the way that we put down our color by not softening off the edge closest to the eye itself. For the area just beneath the eye, I am going to use some burnt umber. Again, mixed in with just a little bit of that ultramarine to bring it down a little bit in its temperature, and we're going to lightly glaze this end. This is by no means the final form for this color will get much darker on our second pass but I don't like to place really dark darks next to areas that I'm still working on like the light blue because if you accidentally bump into that area with your brush, it will smear or react with paint. I just want to put in the hints of what will be a much darker area later with a little bit of a value mouth for now. As we get towards the inner corner, we're going to allow the paint mixture between the burnt umber and the ultramarine to become more close to brown and that brown fades towards the nose of the muscle of the cat. We can play some more texture into the fur, just while we're waiting for that last bit of the blue to dry. Place down the pigments and then I can wipe off my brush and fade those edges out just a little bit. As we move back to work on the eye lids, we're going to play some mixture of that blue with more of the ultramarine and the cobalt teal along the shadowed portion just underneath the eyebrow, what would be the eyebrow in a human, I suppose. The eye lid. There you go, that's the word I'm looking for. We just want to darken up that area a little bit, as well as the area just around the pupil itself. It can overlap with the inner area of the pupil since we will be covering that up darker later. I don't want these edges to be really harsh or rigid-feeling because that's not what an eye would actually look like. We just want to dot in that texture so there's some variants in there. At the same time, I'm going to go back into the cobalt teal and just go around the middle portion of the eye to brighten it up a little bit. There's some areas that have some more of an aqua color and glaziness over our already existing blue, we'll help to make that happen. I can also brush it along this bottom edge with some of the ultramarine to make the bottom crease a little bit more cylindrical feeling. Sphere, that was the word I was looking for. Cobalt teal is an opaque colors, so it will somewhat show up over that blue if we move it inwards towards the center, and again on those edges to make everything tied together. We're going to use a little bit of yellow ocher to tone some of the fur. There isn't a lot of yellow, but there is a bit. Using a really dilute brush, we'll move around the lighter patches of fur and just give the colors that are already existing, that are a bit cooler, a little bit more warmth to them. We need this to dry before we can move on to the next step. I'm going to use a heat tool, but you can use a heat tool, or hairdryer, or just let it air dry on its own and work on another eye during this time. We're finally going to bring some dark values into our painting by adding that neutral tint to the mix. I'm going to put some of that on my palette. I believe it's just out of view for you. Scooch it over a tiny bit. I'm using M. Graham's version, which is a little bit on the purpley side, so I'm going to add in some more brown to balance it out. The first place I'm going to apply this very carefully is around the bottom area because that is where our colors are darkest. [inaudible] 8. Demo: Peacock Eye (Brown): Next up is our peacock. Again, we're going to start with a circle. This will be quite out of proportion compared to our cat eye as real life would show, but we're going to try and keep all the eyes themselves about the same size. For the peacock, it's pretty interesting because the corners of the eye are not in the middle point of the eye, they actually rest quite a bit higher. This upper eyelid makes a shorter arc, and the lower eyelid makes a wider one. I'm going to go ahead and turn my paper so that I can get this full angle here. Try and make sure you can still see it while I do that. I'm a big fan of turning your paper based on the angle that your arm and your wrist need to be comfortable but also efficient. We're just going to add in where the iris comes down here. There's a little corner of the eye back here that we can see, and the same goes for this inner corner where the iris is going to loop around. There's a little bit of the sclera that we can see up here. Then, the rest of it is going to be underneath those eyelids. There's a fairly heavy eyelid just underneath the eye, this is part of the eye ring for this species. It's going to hug this bottom eyelid fairly prominently, and it wraps all the way back around up here. The upper lid is a lot smaller, the one that directly hugs the eye is barely visible. Then, there's also a larger area that sweeps over the top of that, so we'll include both here. Then we've got this lower area that has a little bit of feather texture, it's a little bit rough around the edges. This is a fairly old peacock, and the reason I know that is because when I was looking for the reference photos, I actually found the same peacock taken at the same zoo seven years apart. Based on their facial markings, it was the same bird. The younger image of him was quite full and sprightly, but this one had more character and I thought it'd be more fun to paint. We have that pupil in there, it's pretty central inside of the iris. It's not touching either eyelid like our cat eye was. We've got some area down here that are like wrinkles in the skin. Then it's up to us in trying to determine how much of this we actually want to fill in with surrounding area. Since this is an eye tutorial, I won't go too crazy in terms of trying to fill everything out. But let's go ahead and put in this first white area, then we're going to have a greenish color in here, and then above the eye, it's going to be white again. The last thing I want to put on my sketch before we start painting, is just to note where this very large highlight comes in. It is a bit reflective of a tree line. I'm just going to put that in there. It crosses over the pupil so the area up here has a white haziness to it, while the color it down here is more of a vivid, deep brown. We're going to start with burnt umber and we're going to cover the entire bottom portion of the iris. We want it to be pretty rich because this is a very dark area on the painting. There's not a lot of variation or depth in here. Normally, I would say keep a lighter hand on your first wash, that way you can create some dimension. We'll still try and do that to some extent, but the picture itself is lacking in any dimension and all in this area, so it's a very flat color. We won't make it harder on ourselves, we'll just follow along that reference. As for the top region, I want to take my brush that has a little bit of that umber on it, and I want to mix it in with some of that gray ultramarine mixture, and then we're just going to very lightly glaze across this upper region so we can get the white of the paper dismissed from our page. The paper that I'm using really likes to hold on to the pigment, so that's why these edges didn't bleed very much. If you're using a more agreeable paper, your paint will probably flow between those two areas a little more easily, so you just want to be careful of that. We'll take this gray once again and we're going to use this ultramarine and burnt umber mixture that's already on our palette, just start putting in some of the details on the eyelids. I'll be careful not to touch too much to the eye, but actually this upper area it's okay because there's going to be a shadow that we place underneath this eyelid, just like we did with the cat. We'll put in this gray color and just gently coax it out into all the areas that it's needed. As we move into the other areas, we want to use a really nice intense blue color, as well as some turquoisey tealy greens. I'm going to use my ultramarine in the middle of my palette, and we're going to deepen that up with a bit of our neutral tint. Neutral tint is a little bit different in black and watercolor in that, it's specially formulated in whichever brand is making it. They're all different formulas, but the purpose of them is to be able to darken up a color without changing its overall hue. Here we have a nice deep blue that we didn't change too far off of its natural state of ultramarine, we just made it a lot darker. I'm going to make sure my reference photo is up and in focus, and then we will tap in some of this color. Just like we used in the cat tutorial, I'm going to use a second brush to wet this area and make sure that our edges don't dry too hard. Again, this paper likes to grab onto pigment, and that neutral tint that I put into our paint mixture is very staining. I've put down some water at the back end of this area, and what I'm going to do now, is rinse off my brush and use the low turquoise to mimic the green coloration that is also found on the peacocks feathers. We're going to do the same thing in the front here. I'm going to lay down water from my water brush. It's a bit tinted blue right now, but that's okay because we're just going to be getting darker. I'm going to go in with my Phthalo turquoise. This area is primarily bluish-green. We're going to put in the Phthalo turquoise first, and then any areas that we need slightly darker, we can add in that deep blue. Going back into our gray mixture, we're going to darken up some of these creases in the folds of the skin around the eye. I'm going to start with the one that is most prominent to me, which is along this bottom edge. There's some kind of splotchiness underneath it where we can really see the texture of the skin of that bottom fold coming out. There's a little bit on the other side as well. That kind of separates it from the white skin directly beneath it. I'm going to curve out this really tiny little eyelid on the top and then come back down around the inner eyelid here, or the under eyelid, rather. Then using my clean brush, we're just going to blend these two areas together so that it looks more rounded rather than two lines on either side of the lighter area. I'm just going to coax the paint in a little bit to try and make a convincing skinfold. Along this top ridge, there's a lot of dark splotchy color, so we'll bring that down through here. Then I'm even going to go darker by bringing some neutral tint into the game at the very top of this crease, where it's pretty much black. We'll take our neutral tint and outline the inner rim of the eye. Because this black mixture is made with a neutral tint type of color, the hope and expectation is that it will deepen these browns without taking away their saturation. We're just going to work around the edge of the eye, placing this darker color and really trying to deepen things up. We're going to place the pupil that is on the brown part of this iris, not the reflection because it's, or the highlight, rather, it's not very visible. On this upper area, we're just going to bring that color gently with a clean brush into the remainder of that circle. We'll also bring a little bit more brown into this area. It's a little bit too light given the other darks that we've put in around it. We also want to put in a shadow from this upper eyelid. With an uneven texture, we'll bring our brush across. Kind of reinforce a few more shadows. We'll go back into our deep blue, maybe mix up a little bit more of it. I find this paper really benefits from glazing. It might look a little bit pale compared to other papers on its first go, so I like to make sure to put in at least two coats in most areas of the painting. We'll get some more Phthalo turquoise as well. After we add just a few more little touches, we'll be ready to move on to our highlights and finish up the painting. I actually lied, I think we are going to put in one more fairly substantial glaze here over the iris. Once again, I'm taking my burnt umber. This time I've mixed some of that neutral tint into it. We're going to go right in there and deepen this whole area up. Once this dries, we'll come back and do the highlights. To finish things up, we're just going to put some highlights in some key areas. We're going to make sure that this skin looks nice and smooth and shiny in comparison to many of the feathers around it. There's a couple areas out here as well that have some light texture to them. Just a few dots on the upper eyelid. The strongest highlights in the eyes are at the edges of this lighter shape. Then we can just add a couple points on the white areas to make it really look like this piece of skin is overlapping the feathers, which is what it looks like in a lot of the places. There we have it. 9. Demo: Lizard Eye (Orange): We're going to start on our lizard and the circle that we initially draw for this one is going to be larger than the one that we've drawn for the previous eyes. The reason for this is this is not going to be the iris, this is going to be the entire orbit that holds the eye in place as you can see on the reference photo to the left. Inside of that we're going to draw the area representative of the sclera, which is a secondary circle and then inside that we have our iris. As we get down to these smaller structures, we're down scaling the size of our circle here. These are just rough estimates and then it will almost certainly change as we begin sketching and see what is going on. The corners of our eyes are going to be on the outside of the sclera rather than on the iris itself. This baby basilisk lizard has his eyes opened really, really wide and, so we have this big arc that comes up over the backside of the iris and then it does taper and get a little bit more narrow and closer to the iris towards the front. It has this little groove that goes outward in those areas and then we connect the bottom as well. This has a pretty deep curvature to it and then it will come up towards the front of the eye here. We can reaffirm where we want this circular area of the iris to be and that is not it. We came in too far forward. We need to have a wider shape here at the front from the sclera. As you can see, we're shifting things around as we decide where these areas should be, and, while this area does need to dip down, I probably carried a little too far down, so let's bring that back up. We can draw the pupil inside of the iris and this is going to be fairly centered, very round, very sharp, in contrast to the area around it and then we can start to look at the folds of skin, like how many layers of scales and everything that we need to have around the outside. Now, given this as an eye study, we're not going to be super detailed about the surrounding areas and the scales, that would need to be saved for another tutorial, but we'll just sketch in where we think the approximations for these value should be and I'll make sure to map out the values so that you can see where those go. Once we're done with the main features, I'm just going to spend a little bit of time with my needed eraser and clean up the graphite so that it doesn't get into our watercolors. On my palette, I'm going to mix up a custom green for this painting. It's going to start with cobalt teal, which is a bluish tealy sky type of color that likes to lean green. I already have a little bit of green on my palette, and that was from the little turquoise and a little bit of this green gold color. Altogether it's going to make this. It's a bright blue, but it's muted in its own way and then we also have this little pile of teal over here that just has a little bit of green in it and I think between the two of those, we can alter and go back and forth on our colors to make this bluish green lizard. I'm going to place a few strokes of this green color and then with my water brush, I'm going to you soften this off and spread them out around the paper. Once again, I always forget that this paper latches on the pigment so I'm actually going to need to do the reverse of what I just said and put the water down first and then go in with that pigment so that it spreads out a little bit more. There we go, that's what we want to see. I'm dropping pigment into the creases before other areas just because they can handle a little bit more pigment than the lighter areas will be able to before they start to get muddy. I'm just keeping my eye on the reference photo, going back and forth, making sure that the overall values are looking okay. I don't want there to be an area that is too dark, too quickly. Just going to move around. This is actually really lovely. I like the colors that we're using and I'm not going to have too much of a need for this brighter green. There's a couple areas that I see, like along the eye ridge, we can drop in a few hints of this brighter green coloration, but overall, I don't think we're going to need it actually. What I do think we're going to need is a neutral tint, so I'm going to take the blue color that we already have and mix in some neutral tint, which will lessen its intensity and turn it into a bit more of a grayish-green type of color, and we're going to use this color more so along the areas that are more deeply valued and a little bit shadowed. I can tell that we've lost some of our highlights already but we will keep that in mind as we put in our highlights at the very end with our white ink. Again, my goal with this darker color isn't to put in a ton of detail, it's more so just to get those values down so we can read them correctly and get back to the iris, which is what we obviously want to be focusing on in this class. We can go ahead and put in some of the sclera, which I'm going to use this same grayish-green color for. Try and wipe off my brush the best that I can that it's a lighter version of this color and I do think that this sclera here is a little bit bigger than it should be based on the reference photo. But hopefully, we can still make it work. I'm going to pull a little bit of a cool red. Doesn't really matter which cool red I have a carmine here and we're just going to hint at there being a little bit of a flashy undertone in this area and I think that's about all that we can do before we dry our paintings. I'll be back in just a moment. Before any more green or gray gets put down on our painting, we want to lock in some of this gold coloration on the eye and it is pretty darn stunning. I am using quinacridone gold. It's no longer in production anymore, but you can easily use one of the hues and that will work just perfectly for this painting and the center is actually a little bit more yellow than this quinacridone gold. The hues will do a better job at replicating those lighter tones. For me since I don't have a hue here, I'm going to add in a little bit of yellow. You can skip this part if you're using the quin gold hue. The reason for that is that pigment contains or that paint contains nickel as a yellow which is a very yellow coloration. It'll take care of that for you. Then I'm going to go into my quinacridone burnt orange, or any earthy orange color would be just fine here and we're going to drop in. There's like a little vein running through the eye and with a yellow paint still wet. We want this to soften off a little bit and not formed too hard of a line. While that dries, we're going to go back into the scales using our muted neutral tint with the cobalt teal mixture in it. We're just going to suggest at a lot of these scales here and first going to come in underneath the ridge of the eyelid because that's where this dark coloration starts and then we're going to place some scales. We're not going to draw every single one. It's not the point of this particular study. They don't all have to be touching. We just want to suggest that that's what's happening here. I'm using the very tip of my brush and primarily in the center here where we do have those darker patches to really allude to this texture. For those of you who use water brushes to your brushes ever make like flipper sounds, dolphin sounds, minus squeaking. I don't know if you can hear it. I don't want to attach this bottom area because of the gold. I'm going to skip down to this region, below the eye. That's pretty. Heavy shadow in there and just using a lot of squiggly lines and go over a few of these that are in this crease just to darken them up and I think to save a bit on time for you guys, I'm going to keep doing this around the areas of the skin and I'll be back in just a few moments. I'm doing a little bit of a different technique now I'm going to play some of the cobalt seal mixture on top of the markings I have already done. It's a little bit opaque. We'll be able to see it over the black when it dries and then we'll continue with the white ink at the very end by layering ends and final textures with those really light scales. Now, it's time to work on the sclera a little bit more and actually this neutral tint from M. Graham that leans a little bit purple will be quite perfect for this purpose. Because of the fact that it is like this fleshy, warmer color. We're going to trace that inner line with our tip of our brush and fade that off into the rest of the sclera or lay down some water in here. Make it a little bit heavier just underneath the eyelid here and it gets a really dark at this inner corner. Now load up the brush with pigment, make sure it's at a nice crisp point and we will curve this space. I'm going to turn my paper that I can reach this other corner and just as well and we're going to do the same thing where we curve out the space here. Here I can definitely see that we had too much space above the yellow of the eye just because we have too much space to fill what this neutral tint, but that is okay, that's what studies are for and for learning. Then for the final touch, we can make sure that there's more water on our brush that the black isn't quite as intense, and we can continue this line, just barely touching the gold and just making sure that that front eyelid is separate. I can tell right now from the way that this is progressing, that it's really going to pop to life with the whites for this one. That's true of most paintings, but this one in particular, there's so much gloss on the eye that right now it's looking flat and lifeless and creepy. Don't despair, we will save it. There is a little ridge on this bottom eyelid that you can see it curves down, just a neat feature. We're just going to make sure we show that off. I'm just checking all of my values, I'm looking around the reference photo, looking at my photo, seeing what needs to be altered. If there's any notable little blips or markings that carve into this upper scale area to make it look a little bit more textured. We're going to light in our pupil now, using the mutual tint once again. It's actually okay in this case that it is leaning purple because yellow is purple's opposite. So when we glaze it over the yellow or the gold color, it will actually help it to become darker. I think we're going to do one more little glaze. I have to clean off my brush, it's full of mutual tint now. I'm going to do one more little glaze of the quinban orange in the eye, just to brighten that up a bit. We're going to use the Heat tool, and we'll be back in just a few moments to finish with highlights. We're ready for our highlights. The first one that I want to put in is here on the sclera, I feel like it's a pretty important line. I have a little bit too much pigments so I'm just going to go in with a dry brush and pick a little bit of that up. Then we have some pretty harsh highlights on the iris and pupil as well, and then there's this glow that I lost pretty much right in my first wash, that was entirely my fault. Was that there is this inner glowing rim to this eye that really makes it pop. What I'm going to do is I'm going to place the white around the inner pupil, and I'm going to rinse my brush off and just gently wiggle it back and forth on that line to soften it up and make it blend in with the yellow. We've got a pretty substantial highlight here on the bottom lid, including the one on this bottom eyelid that bows out. So I'm going to soften this off here and let it blend in. I'm going to do some of the scale textures that pick up the highlights of the lights above the lizard. 10. Demo: Toad Eye (Yellow & Black): You did it, you made it. This is the fourth and final demo for this class. I hope you've had a lot of fun along the way. For our final piece, we're going to be sketching a toad. I actually don't know what this species is. I've never seen it before, I've never painted it before. When I did a reverse image search, I still couldn't find out what it was called. If you know, you can let me know, but it's really cool in there, a lot of different colors going on, and some really amazing textures within the eye. I think we're going to have a lot of fun with it. I'm just going to sketch out my final circle to start us off. I want to make sure it's not too lopsided. I think I've been running into that problem a lot with my perception because I'm sitting back away from the camera and everything, but I think this one's pretty good. This eye is sitting inside a casing almost, like a little socket, like with the lizard, but even more so. There's a little bit of a bulge at the top of it and then it comes down to meet the rest of the skin. It's a little bit closer on the undersides. There's not quite as much room there. We've got some really interesting unique patterns going on that. I'm really excited to try my hand at. The spots here, I don't have it on this particular watercolor palette, but if you have green apatite genuine from Daniel Smith, perfect, perfect color for these spots. I got a couple. I'll just place in here. What caught my eye about this frog is that his eyes almost split right down the middle. He's got a horizontal slit pupil. The pupil is that cat eye shape, but horizontally. Then on either side, he's got these barriers of pristine yellow. That is going to be hard for us to keep that area nice and clean, but I will do my best, folks. I will try. Then the area on either side of the pupil is really dark and shaded, and then there's all these crazy squiggly lines going on in here. We'll have to wait until we get to the paint to do that part. I'm just going to clean up my sketch, makes sure that everything is in the right place and we'll get started. I think he turned out a little bit larger than all of our other eyes, but proportionately I think he's doing all right, so let's go ahead and start painting. I have a mixture here of mostly yellow ocher that has just a hint of burnt sienna in it. One of the neat things about watercolors and about this particular animal is that the underlying color is pretty much all the same. I don't have to be too careful of these cutouts that I've made or the spaces on the skin that are green or red because all of them have this underlying yellow undertone. I can go ahead and freely put down all of this yellow ocher and not worry about where my lines are just yet, on my second glaze when I add some more color or even I could add it to this whitewash too. I could add hints of color here or there, specifically the red. We'll get more specific within areas that we want to color. I'll lay down that first wash, then using a little bit more of this burnt sienna mixed into the yellow ocher. I can pull out some areas that are this rosy tone. Comes right across the little eyebrow ridge here. There's an area further forward on the nose, but you can't really see it from this particular angle. I think the only other place that we'd see a little bit is back here. I think that's about it. There are some gray tones on the underside. So mixed up that ultramarine amber that we had from last time, we can drop in some shadow tones underneath the eye. We don't want it to get muddy though, so we want to have a really light hand, softness off, and not mess around with it too much. The green that I'm using for this, like I said, you can use the green apatite genuine, and I think that would be perfect for this piece. I mixed up a mixture of indanthrone blue, or anthraquinone blue, the green gold, and a little bit of phthalo green that was already on my palette, but the mostly the other two colors. To mix a rich sappy green or if you just have a sappy green on your palette that isn't too bright. Like Winsor and Newtons is too bright, that kind of thing. But if you have a nice soft version, you could certainly use it here. I'm just going to gently add some of this green color now to certain areas. We'll reinforce this later. Have my other brush nearby, so we can soften off these edges. This area blended together a little bit more than I'd like it to. Separate it more on the next pass. I'm switching between my clean brush and my pigment toothbrush. There's a squiggly shape down here that I didn't draw in ahead of time. This portion of the green is shaped by the eye socket to being in front of it. I'm going to follow that contour pretty closely. I'm going to pre-web the area up here that I want to carry the green onto and zigzags over here. It's a really soft on this edge and then it gets harder as we go further up. Then there's one more little area at the top of the eyebrow. All right, next we need to go in with a yellow and it needs to be a really bright yellow. This isn't a color we can get away with using a yellow ocher or something like that. So I'm going to pick the brightest yellow that is on my palette, which is a hansa yellow. We are going to add just a hint of our PY129 green so that it's not a warm yellow, it's more of a cool yellow. We are going to try and come in here. I think the way to do is start with these bright areas so that we don't drag graphite into them. Then we can spread it out everywhere else. So really pale yellow, it's not very saturated. Might be a tad more green than this. So I'm going to add on a little bit more of that green coloration, the PY129. You're actually not going to be able to see very much of this yellow by the time we're done, but it would be almost impossible to paint in-between all of the black areas. So it's best we do it now. All right, the first thing that I really noticed is that we didn't bring the green far enough forward in this area. This gap is too big. So I'm going to carry that down here. We are going to try and change some of the other little details to make it seem like it was there the whole time, like bringing the shadow down from that area. Trying to make this really flow together. I want to really focus on the eye before doing the surrounding area on this one, I think it's really important that we don't split our focus too much. So we're going to go into our neutral tint. Again, that's a purple-y tone. So it'll contrast pretty strongly with our yellow. We'll have to save that works in our favor or if we need to neutralize it a little bit. The sun's reflection is right in the middle of this pupil and it's a very soft diffused. Like it's a hard circle, but then the edges are soft. So it's going to be a little bit difficult to paint in right now. I think our best bet is to paint the black tones the best that we can and then add that last little highlight towards the end. I do need to turn this or I'm going to mess it up. I need to make sure my hand is going in the correct direction. Going to check, make sure that's reasonably in the right place. Then if you look really closely at this reflection, there is a fair amount going on. There's a tree line and all of that, some houses. We're going to do our first pass pretty light. We just want this to be a mid tone gray. It's still going to be darker than everything else around it. But it's not going to be the darkest value once we're done putting in those extra shadows. I guess I said that wrong. It's darker than everything we have on the page right now. Then we're going to make the shadow tones darker eventually. But we'll leave it like that for the time being. We are going to start to put in the scary part, right? We're going to put in some of the texture going off of the sides of the people. I don't know if this is the right brush for this. I don't know what would be though. When I think about it while we work. I think maybe this small brush is going to be the way to go. I think this is where we're going to be spending most of our time on this, eye setting is going to be on this texture. Yeah, I'm definitely happier with the texture on this side than on this side. I think that point on this one is just too pointy for this particular task. We are going to put in the edges of the eye which are darker, and then also that there's like a strand of black pigment that seems to weave in and out of the iris. So we'll do all of these first, and then we'll use the spotting to go around everything else. I feel like I've already gotten a little wonky with my line. I think that's just because of the angle that I'm sitting at. I apologize. This should have been more rounded coming down here. This should have been more flat at the top I think, should have been a lot more flat actually. Let's get that squiggly line in. There's another area of dark concentration here underneath the eye. So I'm basically giving myself some guideposts on which areas are going to have more pigment in them. Kind of tracing along those yellow rims.I think this tends to be thinner. We're not going to really obsess over all of these teeny tiny little details that we would be here forever. It would be easier, I think if we were using a dry media. But with what we're using here, and especially watercolor where we can't really layer those light colors back on top of the dark. We're just going to approximate. This is our sketchbook, right? There are studies, not finished works of art. We're going to be hanging their practice for those finished works. So we're just going to get the best that we can. We don't want to be lazy about it. But we can really do whatever our hand kind of guides us for in this area. We've got our darkest values in, and that's the most important part. All right, let's focus on that pupil so that we can have him not look so crazy. There is just a little silhouette. I'm going to try and replicate here a little bit. I'm using pretty thick paint. Looks like some trees, some buildings possibly. Sky portion of the reflection fades down into everything else. All right, let's hope that dries, so we can see what the values are going to turn out to be, and we'll move back to the surrounding areas. I'm going to move to a stronger peachy color. The burnt sienna didn't give quite as much of that red I was hoping for. So I'm going to mix my yellow ocher with a cool red this time. Just kind of speckle this in here. A nice, sappy, deep, muscle green. We're going to do some of the edges. So I don't think I did this area very well, but we're going to make it up since anyone viewing this after this class is not going to have an exact reference. That's another thing I haven't mentioned that yet in this class. I mentioned a lot on my Patreon to my patrons when we do tutorials over there. That is that it's cool to do realism and if you want to do realism, that's fine. If you just want to be painting, and see where your heart takes you a lot and everything, that's fine too. Both are completely legitimate ways of paintings. So if you want to have more fun with it and use your reference to guide you. But then also have your own artistic flair, go for it. If you want to really focus on realism, you can do that too by just spending a little bit more time on some of these areas and really taking note of all those little details. I personally like to let my colors flow a little bit more, but everyone is different and that is totally fine. I'm just reinforcing these edges that are a lot darker than the rest of the greenness splotches. Up here we are more in focus. We can start to see some of those details of the different greens and then having more texture inside each green. This one is almost like a leopard spot or a jaguar spot, where part of it is outlined and the other part isn't. Nice. Darn line up here. We have to reform that edge that I messed up earlier. Establish if that's supposed to be in the foreground versus the background. Just looking around to see if I missed anything else, green at the moment in the picture, I don't think I did, so I'm going to wash my brush off. Then we're going to go back into our shadow color and the burnt umber with the ultramarine and just reinforce them in those areas. We've got this tip underneath the eye socket. We'll have to wait for this to dry just a little bit more. There's a couple of more distinct spots down here, but I need this line to be dry. Then there's also this little ridge just underneath the eye. It's very subtle. Make sure it's in there though. There's also a little splotch appear. It might be a little early, we might go back and add some more color, but let's start adding some white and to see where we're at. The very first thing that I'm going to do that I was telling you about just a moment ago is, on the blade of my ink, just slightly off to the side. I'm going to use some of the whites, it's not really ink it's watercolor. But we're going to mix a little bit of our yellow okra into it that we were using for our skin color. This is essentially going to turn this into gouache. For those of you who don't know much about gouache, gouache does dry darker rather than lighter. I do want to make sure this is not too dark because it's going to dry even darker. We're going to go in and try and cover up this. Rinsing off my brush so I can blend it out. Then I can go back into my dark tone, you can wait until it dries if you like. This should be dry enough that it won't spread. I'm just going to clean up that edge, make it nice and round again. I can see some of the gray starting to pop through, we might need to do a little bit more with that. Try and put some of this red tone in there and see if that helps to cover it up at all. This area definitely got darker than I wanted it to. I'm hoping I will not have to use this too much, but I am going to go into one more area. I've added a little bit of the red, we'll just try and bring a little life back to this area. There is a little green on this part of the eye line. We've got a lot of shininess down here, I'm going to come in with a skipping brush. Just bounce around on the paper and then we'll start to get a little bit more assertive with our glossy highlights. This is an amphibian after all, so they're going to be pretty shiny, they have moist skin that they essentially breathe through, but it's a oxygen transfer. A lot of people think that reptiles are slimy, but that is not true, they are scaly but not slimy. Pick a couple of spaces in the eye to bring back to white, I just realize that there's no black above that line there, that I don't forget, are going to go into the black now so add a little up there. We're ready for our center highlight. I'm also going to add some to the white areas and the yellow areas. We're going to again soak our brush and soften all of those up. Well, it's a little wonkier than I'd like it to be, it should be a bit more rounded and the pupil should be further down, I think. But there it is. There's our final study for this class and I'll see you as we wrap up. Wait a second, I almost forgot something that I wanted to add to this. I am going to use a little bit of ultramarine that's watered down and a little bit added that from my palette. I'm going to put in some glazes of cool colors where the shininess is reflecting but not white. There's a lot of areas like that, especially on the background areas that I think could really benefit because we have so many warm colors going on here. It's a warm green, warm tones everywhere. I think adding some these blues will just help things out a little bit. 11. Final Thoughts: Thank you so much for joining me in this class on how to draw and paint animal eyes. I truly hope that you walked away with a bit more insight into what makes various animal eyes unique and that it proves to be useful in your future art adventures. Don't forget to upload your creations to the class project as I am so excited to see what you came up with. Please let me know what type of content you'd like to see next here on Skillshare, whether it's additional animal tutorials or technical watercolor videos. I'm really looking forward to creating more content for you. Until next time, happy painting.