"'Eye' Don't Know What I'm Doing!": Illustrating the Eye | Laura Pennock | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

"'Eye' Don't Know What I'm Doing!": Illustrating the Eye

teacher avatar Laura Pennock, Face Artist & Instructor: FAI

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

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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      The Project


    • 3.

      Eye Anatomy


    • 4.

      Primary Eye Elements


    • 5.

      Secondary Eye Elements


    • 6.

      Eye Impact


    • 7.

      Eye Mood


    • 8.

      Five Eyes


    • 9.



  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

For illustrators of any medium looking to gain confidence during that critical moment of adding eyes to their designs, professional face painter Laura Pennock offers a fun breakdown of simple techniques for creating eyes with mood and impact. 

What You'll Learn

Eye Anatomy. The eye is a complex organ that can be broken down into six very simple shapes: 1) the upper lid; 2) the lower lid; 3) the pupil and iris; 4) the highlight; 5) the whites of the eye; and 6) the eyelashes.

Primary Eye Elements. You'll learn how eyelids, pupils, and irises can be manipulated to communicate a character's emotions, interests, and personality.

Secondary Eye Elements. You'll learn how highlights, the whites of the eye, and the eyelashes can be handled to suggest shape, cuteness, and mood.

Eye Impact. Placement, size, and line quality can all communicate a variety of traits, such as age, intelligence, and insanity.

Eye Mood. Perspective, shape, and color can contribute further characterization and realism to your design.

Five Sample Eyes. You'll have the opportunity to practice five useful eye designs as Laura demonstrates tips for executing them effectively and using them in different contexts.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Laura Pennock

Face Artist & Instructor: FAI


                Skillshare is an artistic training ground, complete with coaches and safety equipment.

                                There is no need to fear when like-minded explorers are near! 

See full profile

Level: Beginner

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: welcome to I don't know what I'm doing. I'm sure that we have all been there. Once in a while, I will be about to paint an eye on something like a almost hold my breath and just a really , really hope that this is gonna turn out. Okay. I have been a professional face, Peter, for almost 10 years. And so this is something that I focused on quite heavily in this class. We're going to break down the eye into very simple shapes. You'll learn the anatomy of the eye and how to put mood and expression into your eye. So not only does the I look right, put it adds to the communication of the story that you were illustrating so that this could be an easy transition for you to go from. I don't know what I'm doing to. I don't know what I'm doing yet. 2. The Project: way to make on. I don't know what I'm doing. Journal Volume one. The purpose of this is to be able to categorize and capture different eyes. You'll be able to do it from both directions. Any time that you are trying to gain a new skill. There are four parts to that skill. The first thing is to be inspired. So we'll get some Children's story books, look at some cartoons in the newspaper, go to a fine arts gallery and look at some paintings. This part of our project is a place where we can sketch eyes that we have seen done by other people. So take some time and be inspired. Once you've collected some eyes that really touch you practice those eyes. Now I'm gonna show you five eyes in this class. Record them here on your practice page and do them over and over and over again. What I want you to do next is I want you to have some playtime. Playtime is amazing. It gives us the chance toe. Let our creative site loose. So we have. Okay, This is what that I looks like. But what if I tweak to this or What if I tweaked that it's through play that we will discover our own style? Make time for play, especially as you're learning any new technique. It's fun to practice. It's fun to play, and it feels great to be inspired. But true art doesn't exist until you'd have the courage to share it. They want you to take some of the ice that you found some of the ice you've created, or some of the ice from this class. And I want you to draw him out on paper color men do, you know, make him awesome, but then cut him out and take them all over your house. I want to see a fridge with eyes. I want to see a dining room table or a chair. You're gonna feel like brave little toaster meets beauty and the beast. But give a soul to the things around you and watch in adamant objects come to life. I want to see what your piano looks like when he's angry or when he was really happy. The other members of your family or your roommates. Yes, they will think you're crazy, but you can put yourself out there. You can start feeling like I'm sharing my art and sharing my eyes. All of those an adamant objects, they're already there. And so all you need to dio is practice your eyes, practice your eyes, practice your eyes. And in five minutes, in 10 minutes you have a completed design because you're borrowing, so borrow all you want. 3. Eye Anatomy: When I was in seventh grade, we had a dissection day and dissection days are a little gross. They smell weird and everything. But what I learned from that experience is how complicated and how diverse the I is there. It's all different parts and muscles and membranes, so let's take a look at that. If we think of the shape of an eye, we usually think of something like this, right? Honestly, if all eyes look like that in illustration, I think I might have nightmares because it's this staring eye. So I'm gonna take you through the anatomy a little bit toe, understand what's going on here. The reason it's an eyeball is because it's a circle. If we divide this ball into 4/4 it can tell us where the center is. What if we were to draw our circle and then we were to curve those two once. Now all this and we can see the center is here, and this is a sphere. This is no longer a circle. We can communicate a very static flat. I or we can try and communicate that something is round. Now an eyeball is freaky. Okay, It's like stuff of nightmares. Stuff of Halloween, like this is the thing that's gonna pop out of some little cartoon villains head and go bouncing around. You never see that on a human. All we see is this shape. Well, where does that shape come from? It comes from the fact that we have an eyelid that comes here and we have an eyelid that comes here. Now what you can see already is this little part here, and you probably already know that would be colored pink. So we have this eyeball right, and we have the upper lid and we have the lower lid and they're closed. But what you'll see is you'll have this island that's closed. And then you might see a little line here and then maybe talk up there. And that is what would be in an illustration if you were communicating a closed I as you open that on. I is like fabric. And so if this was the island and we were toe open it, do you see those beautiful folds? So let's show a fold. Let's show a fold. The eyelashes are poking straight up. They kind of have a bend to him because they're kind of going up over and then we can bring some lower lashes here, and then we've got the I. We have a much more realistic interpretation of an eye than this one. But let's go even further. If every line tells a story, what are the parts of this I that are allowing us to tell the story? Number one, We have the upper lid. Then, of course, we have the lower lid. Number three, we have the people and the iris. I'm gonna just love those two together. Number four, we have the highlight. You want to focus on both the positive and the negative space, So we want to remember the whites of the eye. Number six. We have the lashes. This could be a super photo realistic human I This can also be a simple cartoon I. But all of these things are telling a story, either by being present or by being absent. Now there are a few other things we want to focus on. Be aware of the eyes placement. We want to focus on the size of the I. We want to focus on the line quality, whether it's crisp or whether it's wide or thin. We also want to be aware of the shape we want to be aware of the perspective and last but not least, we want to look at the color that we're using, So let's look at each part and learn what is going on in each of these stories. 4. Primary Eye Elements: smooth upper lid. The upper lip is almost always present. When an eye is drawn doesn't have to be. But it almost always is. Let me show you why One of the jobs the upper lip has is to cut the pupil. Most eyes don't look like this. So if an eye is angry, the angle of the upper lid maybe really sharp. If you're trying to communicate tiredness might be straight across to show that that I wants to close. It also can communicates suspicion or speaking this. So we want to look at that angle. It could also be angled the other direction where somebody is feeling like they're helpless or they're hopeful this poor little guy. Look at that simple upper lid telling a story. Hes begging you. Please, please don't leave him home. He really wants to go to the zoo to so other would we want to look at that angle. We also want to look at the size. We have the point where it is touching the I. But then we also have the option to paint a full there, a crease or a couple of creases to show just how much the size open. If this I was ultra open, we could have a completely round I. But by giving us a lot of upper lids, you can see that, like his whole face has now been stacked the other job of the upper lid. We can show the direction that the eye is looking. If we have a short tow long look, you can see that the eye is going to be focused in this direction. If we have more of a long two short look, we can see that the eye is going to be focused in this direction. Look at all the information that is communicated by that simple arc. Even without a people, this upper lid, it can communicate that somebody is asleep or it can communicate that somebody is crazy Happy. This is Ah, my boyfriend just called it as you look. But really, the upper lid is one of the most important and basic parts. Most of the ice I paint. I start with the upper lid and with the width of the upper lid. If we bring this out and we chunk it down, look at that make up and so we can color the upper made any color we want. We can make it really heavy. It's beautiful, right? The width in the shape of that upper lid communicates so much. So what does the lower led Dio? We can even leave it off, but it creates the boundary so that the eye isn't just falling out. You might even just communicate it with a little one right there or a little line right here. And this is largely what I doing painting. I don't like full lower lids, so I bring a line up and down and now I have given it boundaries. So what else can you do with a lower limb? What can it communicate while a lower lid is the boundary between the I and the cheek? So here on a face, what is this right here? And right here? Well, it's skin. When were little. We might draw like that, but how are we going to be able to communicate shape and round us? Well, it's with the lower lid. But what if we give it the full lower lid? Well, that's communicating like I'm chill. Everything's good. What if we wiggle the bottom lid now? Something's wrong there, trembling and we're about to start crying. It can also communicate ultra happy. This is the upper lid being super happy. Well, what if the lower lip wants to be super happy? Teoh, We can bounce this up here, and this is showing that this person is so happy that their cheek has risen up. I mean, it might make you feel kind of silly, but if you're working on leads, you can just take a simple mirror. You just make these faces in the mirror. You me, like super happy or super scared or whatever on by practicing those faces in a mere you're able Teoh, understand what is moving on the face. Where is that skin going? Where is this guy going? The lower lip is also an opportunity to just you shading to tell the story and weaken just shade and and that shading again just gives us that boundary. And that tells a story. The other thing that the lids do is they cut off the IAS. Well, if we want to draw nigh where somebody is really skeptical or this might be a kid that's trying to pretend to be asleep, we're peaking on something here just like the upper lid is a boundary to the people. So it's the lower lid. So what about this pupil on Iris? The first I that any of us probably drew where these ones and what are those? Well, those air people's. The most important thing that they communicate is that this is an eye. The lack of a people are iris can show that somebody is drugged or that somebody is super evil dragon or something, you know, or even a skeleton. What do we need? We need no pupils, right? We just have holes for the ice. So even the lack of an iris or people will communicate quite a lot if we haven't, I hear and you can see all of the people. We know that this person is surprised because when you're surprised, your face goes and now you go from seeing part of my iris do all of it. We also can communicate. I'm direction that they're looking OK now. It might be like, Well, I don't really care where it's looking. I'm just drawing something. But when we're telling a story, we want to be able to tell people what's happening and who better to tell them the character were drawing. And so if you have a kid and why are they happy? It's because they have a nice green, right? Well, we would assume that. But this kid is looking at the ice cream now. We all know we've seen it. You know, the kid whose moms like look over here for the picture and the kids faces turn to the mom, but the eyes are still like focus on something else. So this is the perfect way to communicate your character's intentions or their desires or what they're hung up on or whatever they can't get past something. And when we can get past it, we look at it. The purpose of the people is to let light into the eye. If they just walked out of work into the bright sunshine, then they might look like this. If they're in the dark, you want to make sure that you've got these giant pupils. There are so many songs about, uh, Golden Star Dust in your eyes of blue and you know the brown eyed girl. Songs of the color that we put into the iris will also communicate quite a bit on. We'll cover that more when we talk about color. But don't forget irises were there, too 5. Secondary Eye Elements: Let's take a look at the highlight of the I. So what is the highlight? Well, it's light, right? And then where is it normally? Well, it's normally high. So here you have the people. That's high, and it's like the rest is dark. Boom, you gotta people. So what is this telling us? Well, it's telling us that the light is coming from this direction. So when we have two eyes, the light should hit these round objects in the same place. But what else can the highly tell us? Well, the highlight can communicate acuteness. We can have lots of pilot, and you can totally see these in illustration that character drawings. We can also like, have ultra highlight and the medium highlight and and all kinds of different broken up things, and you can watch highlights there by varying the place that we put a highlight. It can also be a subtler way of showing what somebody's looking at. If we want to do something evil by taking the highlight away and just making it dark, we can also have a highlight that just wraps, and by making it a line, it communicate shape. It tells you that we've got something that's nice and round here. You can also come through and cut something like that apart. There's a lot of chances for style here. Another thing you could do with highlight is you can communicate emotion instead of just doing a circle. What if we were to give it Ah, heart? Oh, yeah, this little eyes in love Or we could communicate super excitement by doing a star highlight . And again, this is taking it more from realistic. But it gives you something that you can manipulate and play with the next part of the ire the whites of the eye in watercolor or an illustration. A lot of that is already here, so this entire page are the whites of the eyes. But when your face painting, you need Teoh actually put the white on there. So I actually use White as a sketching tool because that's the first part of any eye. Is the white now? Like we said before, the amount of white that you see will tell you a lot about the I Look all that white and we do have the option of adding the scary squiggles on the whites and this communicates This person hasn't slept for a long time, and their eyes are now inflamed. So then we've got these whites over here where we're not seeing very much. And this communicates that this person again is like, sneaky or they're trying to peek at something, This kind of thing. This is either a profile or a weird little bug or something. Now, what else can the whites tell us? Well, the lack of white can tell us what kind of animal we have on a big dog on a bird. You don't really see whites. And so knowing what creature it is that you're trying to communicate can actually tell you quite a bit of what kind of guy you want. Lashes. We all love good lashes. Okay, this is the down and dirty super quick trick of Is it a boy or a girl? A boy? I looks like this girl. I looks like this. Well, lashes can tell you so much more. So if we have just little tiny lashes, maybe this is a little baby, right? Or if we have these beautiful long lashes, we can also give them weight and death. And what does that tell you about the character that you're drawing? They communicate how hard this character is trying to be beautiful lashes air One of the easiest ways to do that. We can also have upper lashes and lower lashes. Bashful lashes. They're going to come forward if this uniform instead, it's just serenely asleep. Then the lashes air going to come off to this side. So you really want to take your time to think about each different part of the eyes, and what is it that you're trying to communicate with each part? 6. Eye Impact: Now, what does it tell you by where you put the ice? If this was a little cloud, Can you see already that this placement gives you the feeling that the direction that this face is looking as pointed up this placement right here is just kind of your average typical placement? Um, it's right kind of somewhere in the middle. This lower placement gives you a really big forehead. It can communicate that this guy is super smart because he's got this big old bring. It can also communicate that this is a young person. So being aware of where we putting the eyes is going to give you a chance to be more effective in communicating your story. Size of the eyes. I love it. Face shape again. Okay, these look like potatoes. So we are now putting eyes on potatoes were giving potatoes a soul. So we have these little tiny eyes. One of the things that it will communicate if you have very small eyes is that we don't care a whole lot. If eyes are the windows to a soul and you give me very little windows, it means that we're not going to look into the soul a whole lot. It can also be communicating that this person just has a really big head. Okay, what if we have eyes that are different sizes from each other? This potato is now effectively crazy. Okay. Ah, One of the quickest ways to show insanity is the have, like the eyes swirling and weird and different sizes. So we can just do these swirls so size on this last one. What if we have these really big guys? Okay, it's going to communicate that this is young and young. Convene. Gullible young comedian. Cute. This is a very gullible, trusting, que potato, so it will completely change the personality off the thing that you're drawing by having the size change line with crispness and quality. So what does a very thin line say versus a very thick line versus a very wispy lying versus a very solid dark one in the place section of the project Draw two eyes that are identical . So we're gonna take this one, and we're gonna make it really think you see how that's changed to something already? Now, what if we were to bring that without even mawr and you can see by just varying the whip of that line. We have two completely different eyes now. What if we did another one that was wispy? Maybe that communicates. This person is really elderly, and so they have very friable skin. And so it's all regally. There's a lot that we can communicate by being aware of what our whip, our Christmas, our quality of our lines are saying now. Ah, brave line will always read better than a tentative lung, even if the tentative line is placed in the right place. If you come in and you're trying so hard to draw good line that hesitation and that wiliness is going to communicate something, it's amazing. So remember, a really confident mark in the wrong place will often look better than a really hesitant mark. In the right place. You have two options. You can draw your line in that direction, or you can draw your line in that direction. When I'm feeling less confident, I take my line and I draw it in this direction. I feel like I am able to get a crisper, cleaner edge if I do the stroke in that direction and I love it and it looks beautiful. So focus on your lines. Tell your story 7. Eye Mood: perspective. If you are looking street at somebody, the two eyes will be the same size. They'll be the same shape. And if you want it to look realistic, your eyes should be one. I width apart now for me, Alex. Way too far apart. But that's because I don't do realistic very often. When you are looking at doing something that isn't straight on. It's really nice if we're doing profile because we only have to draw one of the ice. But what you want to remember is it all goes back to that basic shape. This can help you see how the size needs to change. How the ah shape needs to change on this will really help your eyes read True. One of the things that I find really useful is to practice your perspective, eyes together, and so the other I might come right here can be a little bit smaller cause it's on the other side of the face. And if I have eyelashes coming here, I'm not gonna pay him over there. But if I want to bring the lashes here, bring the lashes here. And so just by focusing on what is my perspective. If you don't know that perspective is a choice, you might be stuck doing profiles forever. Or you might be stuck doing head ons. Shake. I love playing with the shape of ice the entire I shape. You can shape the highlight. You can shape the pupil. Oh, yeah, that person is thinking about money, so don't be afraid to play with the shape of the I. We've got a whole lot of options. Having very round eyes is super common. Almond eyes is really common. If you want to exaggerate that almond you totally can shape tells you a lot about what animal it is. You guys are already like Oh, I know. And I know this one. We've got ourselves a little kitty, right? So what you're trying to say? Well, we come a whole lot easier when you know what shapes to use color. Now we have what color? And then we have how much color the things that you want to focus on are the whites and the irises. Look how much that changed already. We all love color. So by adding iris color, that could be really great. You don't even need to paint the outer border of the iris. He goes from being mad to being like, seriously mad. What if we just replace the white of the eye with full on color? One last thing I wanted to show you about color that has completely changed the way that I dries. If we were to look at the side view now I lead actually pokes out just a little bit. So anything that pokes out is going to shade. And so what we can dio is we can have a darker shade of the iris up top, followed by a lighter shade of the iris down on the bottom, and that communicates shape. OK, but if we just shade that gray that is communicating that there is a shadow being cast by that upper lid onto that I and I feel like that makes it just sing. So that takes you through the basic different parts. Let me show you the eyes 8. Five Eyes: project time. We're gonna break these down by the parts and get to know them. These are our friends. Okay, So for an angry I, we want to start with a little dash wearing it around and down. Now, I like to have a really heavy lid, so I'll bring this crazy high. Okay, Right up there. So you have this option where you can just bring it down like this, or you can go like this, bring it all the way around and down, and then you have the upper lid, so you can do it that way too. And we want that led to cut this. I like 1/3 of the top of it off. If you want it to be super angry, you can even bring that in a sharper line and cut off even more to show that there is, like, serious rage. We also want to have a lower lid here. The lower lip is just a continuation of that upper lid. So this is our angry I thes lines are very simple. If they consists of an upper lid, lower lid, the pupil, the whites and no lashes. But what's gonna happen if we take the same shapes and we add a heavy lashed to it. This is the plain. So don't be afraid to change these. That's what's supposed to happen. I to I think of this as the lady I If I'm looking to do a girl, I here's the one I use and I go thin to thick to thin and with a paint brush. I would just do that One stroke. Now I want to communicate the roundness of this I So from right here, I'm gonna come up and I'm also going to come down and the distance here that becomes a lash . I can bring those lashes up. But then I like to have a few lashes coming out here. I bend them down so that you can tell this is the lower lid and then I have begin About 1/3 of that I cut off. Now the angle of this I right here. If you have it more angled, this might turn angry on you. But here is the basic lady. I happy I I find I used this one a lot on like a dolphin. It works great and profile when you do it from view With this, I it may end up looking a little bit chubby. Let me show you what I dio. I like to start with the cheek and then I just bring a simple oval up. On top of that I do. My eyelashes are coming right out of the side of that I and then I do my people, you could be done right here. That is a very happy I. It's awesome. But what I will often do is I will bring that there or even a little lower. If you want to go on, then you can lash that out as well and even leave off the lower lashes. So a lot of options here when you want to paint and I forward, we're just painting the people that is now going to be more of an oval. But because this is a ball, we're still going to have the roundness on the front. Then our upper lid is going to cut down, and our lower lid is going to cut up now. Often, I won't connect those. We can choose to have our lashes out to the back where we can bring the lashes out to the front. This is often used in profile or 3/4 view. Um, your eyebrow is just right up here. So these air that really easy lines for a four of you, in fact, often I'll just use ah, heavy lid to communicate lashes. And there you go. There, the more mascot conversion. And then one thing that you could even dio is you can bring that up just a little bit on that shows this is a continual round sphere. Mysterious. Okay, this is one of my favorite eyes, and I'm gonna show you why. So we're going to do a backstroke coming from back to front, and then I'm gonna bring it up back to front again, and I just get this really pretty line, And from here, I bring it out and down like that. Now, you can give it a little bit of a cheek if you want to. You sure don't have Teoh. Um, we bring in the pupil, put in some highlights colored in, and I feel like this just gives you a very clean, very fast way of doing some mystery. I'll often give it a night brow. Okay, But then the lashes on here. I love to add a really crazy bottom lash on, and this shape doesn't have to be that moment so we can do the same technique with a much rounder I and by moving the highlight a totally different look, so mysterious or whatever you wanna call it. This is a very popular I for a lot of my work as well. It can be really hard when you're practicing your eyes toe. Have to drawn entire animal and then put the ion. If you look in the project section, you can print out a copy of just some really cute little character animals that don't have eyes on. All you have to do is just slide it into a page protector, and you can draw with a dry erase marker whatever you want, right on top so you can draw nigh. Erase that drawn, I erase it and see how much changes just by changing the shape of your eye or the placement or the size, and have fun practicing in a way that you can see finished results without having to paint over and over and over all the other parts too 9. Conclusion: Thank you so much for joining me today. I have absolutely loved sharing this information with you. I love being able to communicate ideas and hopes and dreams all her simple little pictures . So I really hope that you've been able to feel encouraged that you can do this. Okay. I don't know what I'm doing yet. Remember the power of yet? I really hope that you take the time now to go out and to read and to interpret eyes and toe. Look at just the I in a picture that you see and say What is this? I communicating? Figure out what it is you are trying to tell in your stories and then take all these different pieces and say, How could my upper lid communicate my story? How could my lower lid communicate my story and feel empowered? Feel excited and go tell some stories? Okay. I hope that you feel confident moving forward. Thanks, guys.