Watercolor Animals - Part 2: How to Draw Eyes | Olga Bonitas | Skillshare

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Watercolor Animals - Part 2: How to Draw Eyes

teacher avatar Olga Bonitas, Watercolor girl

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Stuff needed


    • 3.

      Anatomy of the eye


    • 4.

      The first principle. A true form


    • 5.

      The second principle. Clean lines


    • 6.

      The third principle. Sharp contrasts


    • 7.

      Important grawing technique


    • 8.

      Step-by-step example 1. A Cavy


    • 9.

      Step-by-step example 2. A Cat


    • 10.

      Step-by-step example 4. A Dog’s eye


    • 11.

      Step-by-step example 3. A Cat again


    • 12.

      Step-by-step example 5. A Tiger


    • 13.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Learn to draw realistic animals in watercolor!

Hey friends,

Welcome to the course about animals in watercolor. This class is about how to draw eyes.

Perhaps the eyes are the most important part of the portrait. And I'm ready to show you how I draw it and explain all my techniques and tricks.

Learning to draw eyes can take your portraits to the next level and you'll be able to apply these skills to any drawing or painting you do of animals in the future. 

This is a self-contained class and it can be watched at separately, but I recommend watching the first part of the course on basic techniques for drawing watercolors animals.
Watercolor Animals. Part 1. Basic techniques

Quickly remind that we paint in monochrome, using only one paint, because I believe that It is very useful in the process of mastering technique not to be distracted by different colors.

You can found all video and photo references in the attached files in the tab "Your Project".

So let's start.

If you enjoy this class, you are welcome to check out my super cute class about foxes: Fluffy Foxes in Watercolor  and very summer one Watercolor Butterflies. They are to any skill level

Happy watercolor practice!


Meet Your Teacher

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Olga Bonitas

Watercolor girl

Top Teacher

Hello, my name is Olga.
I'm a professional illustrator working both traditional and digital media. But my passion is watercolor.

I like to experiment and come up with something new (for example, mix watercolor, collage and embroidery ...), to make small animations and film my creative processes.

For the past few years, my passion has been sketching. This is an absolutely exciting and mind-changing topic for me. The world of a creative person changes once and for all when he begins to draw from life in a artbooks. I have created several classes that help you to start your very first sketchbook and keep draw regulary.

I share my creativity and workflow on my instagram @olga_bonitas.

See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction: Hey there, I'm Agamben, erotica illustrator. Welcome to the second part of my course about vertical animals. The first part is about the basic techniques and today we'll talk about how to draw eyes. Creating this class, I asked my friends to send me videos of pets to draw them. I've got several really cute ones. My friends were really happy to see the illustrations. I hope this class will allow you to draw your pets too. Very often people give comments to my watercolor animals, very beautiful. But the eyes are especially delicious. You know, perhaps the eyes are the most important part of the portrait. I'm ready to show you how I draw them and explain all my techniques, tricks, and secrets. Learning to draw eyes can take your illustrations to the next level, and you'll be able to apply these skills to any drawing or painting your do of animals in the future. First, there will be a little theory about the anatomy of the eye and the general principles or drawing the eye. Then I will show a few detailed step-by-step examples of drawing. The theoretical part and the first couple of examples will be useful for any level of water color skills and a lot for illustrations for artists with some experience in watercolor, quickly remind we paint in monochrome using only one color. Because I believe that is very useful in the process of mastering technique not to be distracted by different colors. Hope you're interested. Let's start. 2. Stuff needed: What we need, first of all, a paper, several sheets of small size. The composition of the paper is not very important for this course. It can be both cellulose and cotton. It is good. It will be not smooth, but with texture. Painting on a cotton paper with the [inaudible] texture. Watercolor. Only one dark color. Any dark is suitable. I use the one coat Payne's Gray in a tube. Payne's in the cubit are also okay. Brushes. Let it be your favorite ones and we don't need anything unusual. It's important to have a good and comfortable thin brush because there are many small details. Also, it's convenient to have lines for small detail centers, but it's optional. A pencil. An eraser. Palette, I use a small ceramic plate. That's how it looks. but you can take any palette you like. It's not really a matter. Water. It is convenient to use two containers. One always with clean water to wet the paper, and the second one to wash your brush. Paper napkins. That's all. 3. Anatomy of the eye: Well, friends there is a little bit theory to start with. I will tell you the basics of the eye's anatomy and the main principles of drawing it. When the animal looks directly at the camera, the iris is round in shape, if an animal have slightly flattened shape of iris, the horizontal size is slightly wider than the vertical, like this. We never, I've seen the entire iris maybe only in very specific situations usually it's a little cover it. More often the lower each is covered a little bit and the top is covered more. It happens that there is a place in the bottom and the white sclera is visible here. Very rarely receive the situation in the human eye, only in some special forces or emotions, but the adenomas quite often. Also, I want to draw your attention that we can see quite a lot of sclera to either side of the human iris. Animals have a little or even no visible sclera, this is due to the shape of the eye and the size of the iris. It happens that there is a membrane here, and here. It makes the visible part of the sclera very narrow. The pupil is located inside the iris and this shape, for example, cats have such all this shape, the size of pupil depends on the illumination. Let me remind you that all this is true in the case when the animal is looking directly at the camera. When the head is turned the situation looks different, for example, the eye can look like this. The lower eyelid is well visible. The eyeball has a rounded shape like this. Often, animal eye is particularly hidden behind the film, for example, here and this place. Often there is no clear visible border of the eye and film, in this case, you don't need to imagine it, just draw what you see and then now the important point. What we found the lower eyelid is clearly visible in thickness, this place usually has a triple flight, like this. 4. The first principle. A true form : Now, I will say an idea that can seems contradictory to the previous point, but this is not so. I want to say that we should draw not we know about the eye, but what we really see. However, all of these elements are visible. Had level we see sclera on both sides of the iris and sometimes don't see it at all. For example, this is a very unusual shape of visual office eye no sclera and a few highlights. He knows that glitter is very small. Deviation about I told before, the iris is located higher than the line of the lower eyelid and we see this glare here. Here a large, pupil in a slightly flatten shape and the sclera is visible only on one side. In this example, the sclera is not visible at all within the dark ground of the eyes and the glare of light. The sclera of the kits eye are seen almost never. When the kit turn the head, the eye looks like a semi ellipse. The similar situation with squirrels cavities and so on. The eyes of the saustage have a form of a [inaudible] if we don't see the border of the eye here and here. Not visible it means we should enjoy it. We can get the ice shaped ink for the glare of the light from all of the above. This is a principle of drawing eyes follow a true form. Draw what you see and your knowledge about a netmode eye. I will help you to understand the play of lights and shadows. 5. The second principle. Clean lines: The second principle is clean lines. The edges of the element of the eye should be clear and smooth. It is unacceptable that the line of the iris looks like this. All this sounds mirrors are visible. The round shapes should be a well readable. The same goes for the eyelids. They don't have form and they are smooth, for this reason they are also clear. Often the iris so-called [inaudible] around, as if specifically to emphasize the purity of the lines. You see this line is absolutely clear and understandable. We see that this line is its continuation, despite the fact that we don't fill the circle completely. 6. The third principle. Sharp contrasts: The third principle is, sharp contrasts. We have already seen there are many examples to remember. Although the sclera remains white part of the eye more often they still has light on. A sharp contrast between the iris and the sclera always exist. By the way, between an islet line and the sclera too. In this dog, the entire eye is readable only due to contrast. Glare on the islets lead them forward. The highlights on the iris is very clear and very contrasting. I draw the clear and bright glam, and then the pupil. They're all fun, some reflection here, and they also have clear forms. The eye is like glass, everything is reflected in it. 7. Important grawing technique: There is a one drawing technique, I want to draw your attention now because I find it very useful in drawing animals. This is drawing with a semi-dry brush. I've talked a lot about this in the first part of this course. Now I'll explain it briefly in case you didn't watch the third part or just remind you. This method is very good to make the texture of the film. Textured papers used to it more than smoother one. Please practice on a separate sheet of paper, and if once feel the state of the brush that you need for such traces, it will be easy to you. I take the paint with a little amount of water and lightly dry the brush using the paper napkin, and I get such soft strokes. The drier the brush is softer, the trace that it leaves. I can make even the more fluffy brush, then I get this effect of fur. This skew can also be useful for creating glide accent. I take a white gouache, dry with the brush a little bit and gently make tone brighter, a way I think it's necessary. The eyes of this panda are drawn this way, and despite the fact that there are only several strokes, the eyes look very alive. Or in this illustration, the eyes here are out of focus as the nose in the focus. Their eyes indicates schematically with a few strokes. The lines are soft but we easily recognize the eye. Compare this with the case when I use a well moisted brush. The difference is of these. Such brushstrokes don't look like so. 8. Step-by-step example 1. A Cavy: Well, let's move on to practice at last. The first fit animal that we will draw is a pretty cavy. I made this screen video in the fore shot in which I like. Shape of her eyes is quite simple without film. So this is a pretty good object to start with. You can find all the photo and video references in attached files in the tab, "my project". I think the most effective way is to watch step-by-step video is to do it twice. The first time just to watch, and the second time to draw with me, both when it necessary. It's convenient for me to fix this sheet of paper on a tablet using a paper tape. But this is not necessary, it's a due of habit. As a tablet you can use any solid flat things of a suitable size. I usually buy amateur canvases for all paints, they are cheap and tactic comfortable. Start with the pencil sketch. If I divide the sheet in half, and then the eye is located somewhere on the left and at the top of the sheet. It is important to draw the true shape of the eye. So I carefully look at the photo, and try to draw what I see. Usually I notice for myself that this area is very dumb and this is almost vertical line. I look at my sketch and understand that I still need to correct the form. This line is almost vertically down and here is a right angle. I think this form is better. These contour of the eye is enough to start water color. I need to add on something like this, not very dark. Fill all the space inside the contour, very carefully not to change the shape. While the paint has not yet dried up, I squeeze the brush using a paper napkin and remove some pigment here, making this place brighter and from this side, on the contrary, I will add a drop of the rich dark tone. As a result, I've got a transition from a lighter tone to a dark one and leave it to dry. Let's create an environment around that. I need that one that it's slightly lighter than the previous one as here. I look at the photo and draw the shape of the muzzle. Pretty schematic. Now I squeeze the brush well, and to remove the pigment around the eye. This can be done only where the paint is damp. If it hasn't already dried up, then don't. But It's okay don't worry, let it be without changes. Now I'll need the thin brush. I see the dark contour around the eye and draw it using the same tone, two layers overlapping each other result a darker tone. I take a saturated, very dark tone of paint. You see there is very little water and add details. I leave light areas untouched emphasizing borders. Now I need a rich white for highlights, I use whitewash. Here is a big layer. Here is a thin shelf of light. You know, you can use, for example, white gel band for this. Because they are really small details, it may be difficult to manage with it. But the very good thing brush is really useful. I usually use not very expensive Kolinsky brushes, but I change them quite often. The new fine brush is better in use. It seems to me that I drew at the two white strip here and I want to fix it. I use a black liner for this. I also paint the mustache and the nose and I think the work is finished. I remove the paper tape and get the neat illustration. 9. Step-by-step example 2. A Cat: My next model is this black cat, pretty cat. I like this angle. I will take a close up. Like this. The feature of this cat is bright eyes and very dark fur. I split this sheet in half. The eye will be somewhere here. I try to draw the shape of the eye like the original as much as possible. I think I should tilt the eye a little, like this and the second eye, it is on the same label. Last eye gently sketch the outline of the head. This is enough to start working with pens. In this example, I pretty moisten the paper leaving the eyes dry. I need the paper to paint flatter fill. Maybe not everywhere, but only along the edges is done. I need very dark rich tone to paint the cell. Very carefully, keeping the shape of the eye. You see the paint is flowing beautiful where the paper is done. I talked about these in detail in the first part of the course. Here I just used this technique. I should be careful in this place too and draw when the paper has already dried up, but not completely. I want to add fluffiness from the side. I take the clean brush and boldly move along the edges grabbing some of the paint. Such a trick. Well, it seems to me that the neck is too narrow. I let the toil here and leave it to dry. I need the toil like this and feel the eyes inside. Leave it to dry. Now I take the thin brush and the dark rich stone and emphasis the shape where it's needed, the pupil. The second one is tilt on the side. The highlight you think, white wash. Here is an Interesting shape if you think of that. Using the semi dry brush, I add a little light accent and the lower eyelid is quite clearly visible in this place. I want to make this place clearly. By the way, it is possible to use a liner for this or a black jail pen. Finishing details, eyebrows and mustache. If you look at the screenshot closely, you can see cats mouth. I will also gently paint it, a little bit. The illustration can be already finished then this step, but I want to add a little fluffiness in some places. That's our cat we've got. Do you know what's interesting. If you draw this cat three times, you will get three different emotions and characters. Can you imagine it? I want to do it again and again. 10. Step-by-step example 4. A Dog’s eye: Who's the next? The dog with amazingly faithful eyes. I will draw one eye goes up. Let's start. Smoothly, upward, down. There is almost horizontal, is strongly down. Here the shape doesn't have a clear counter. The outline of the iris. I don't see it here, so I start from this point. Keep in mind, the diviners should form a circle. I started with the iris. I don't have a common end device and which part of the eye to start with drawing. I always decided these in the process of the walk. I need quiet dark tone but such one, which I can make even darker. While the paint is where take it for this squeeze the brush and to remove part of the pigment in places where I see bright spots. In the center of the eye, I put the very dark paint, this is the pupil and the contact around iris. I see that this part of the eye is dark. I just fill this space with a saturated dark color. I will draw the glares later. The border is not clear visible here, therefore, I choose the larger brush and the tone a little bit lighter, and create the space around the eye. I make light places using this squeeze brush. If the paper had already dried up, I would have done the same thing using a wide gouache and the semi dry brush. I drew attention to the white spot without any tone, heal it and live to dry. I take the semi dry brush and the rich tone of bend, and start to give the eye, the shape what I see on the screenshot. Now I need to avoid the gouache bright glare round iris. A few highlights here, and I think everything is ready, this is the dog's eye if you didn't know it. 11. Step-by-step example 3. A Cat again: The next shaggy model is a cat again. The cat with a character, emotions, interesting color. Look at this handsome guy. I will not paint here entirely, only this part of the muzzle, it is very recognizable. No one will confuse him with the red trike or the tiger. It will be over, that is the cat. Let's start. I divide the sheet into two parts. This line will be axis because the cat looks directly at the camera. The eye, will be above this level. No, a little bit lower. That's good. The distance between the eyes is approximately equal to the width of the each one or a little more. The shape of the eye is angular. This part is horizontal. Inches of the eyes on one line, and I slightly mark the nose. Well, I can start painting. I need about this tone. Fill the place inside the eyes, even such. There's the case when I can do this way. Yes, it's also okay. At the mouth. I want to blur here, otherwise, know of this border. Now, I take a brush, thin tone, dark, and draw the strips. You see, I use the semi dry brush. I think that's enough for now, and its time to start painting the eyes. The right eye is noticeable darker than the left one. I cover it again using the same tone. There is something like dots here. I had lowered him a little with clean water, and a little bit darker here. Leave it to dry. When the paper is dry up, I begin to draw the details with a fine brush. This kit has a beautiful contrasting, dark contour round his eyes. It seems to me that this eye needs to be made even darker because there is too sharp contrast here. Okay, the second eye. This contour can be drawn with the lion, if you're scared to do it with a brush, it's okay. A few dark dots, and a little bit more, but slightly lighter. Now, I want to make the contour more neutral, more fluffy, not from the side of the eye, but from the side of the fur. As you see, I use a semi dry brush for it. I gradually turn to drawing fur. This side of the muzzle is dark, even the left one. Paint the pupils with a fine brush. This is the eyes, these are nose. I take a semi dry brush again and work with the lights and shadows. I think in general, I can already stop. I'm a little carried away to the head and destructed from from the eyes by this cat, is a possible handsome. It's too hard to stop the process. Mustache, such a pleasant moment in the work. I draw it with the both brave movements. The final accent, glare, and light. At last, the illustration is ready. 12. Step-by-step example 5. A Tiger: A tiger, or I just can't bet by the size. Look, they are extremely beautiful. I caught this shot as a reference. The tiger's head is tilt so the axis is tilt too, approximately like this. The eyes are arranged in this ark. The place of the first eye, I can only draw this sketch as an outer contour because of fur. Beautiful fur. I will paint it with a brush later. The tonal linus are on the contrary, clear. This is the iris. A little piece of sclera. Done. The second eye, this is the outer quanta, the lower eyelid, and the eyeball. Well, that's enough to start working with paint. I start with the irises, they are quite bright and they are light spots. To start with, I just feel the foams. I'll leave a homogeneous light on. The eyes have the same light, so they are the same in the color tone. Okay, let the paint dry. I check if the paint has dried up. For this, I carefully touch the paper. Wet paper feels colder when dry. I notice that there are light areas inside the eyes, and there are darker ones. Something is reflected in them. It doesn't matter to me what is exactly reflected, it is important to create the feeling of it. I use the same tone for this. The spots have clear boundaries. Let the paint dry later. Then I proceed to the dark saturated outline of the eye. I make at the lower edge soften, because fur grows here. This line is very clear. Apparently, there is the eyelid and I know it for sure, It doesn't matter to me now, I just see it in the clear boundary and draw it. But the upper-ish is fluffy. The clare boundary of the iris, but I make it a little softer, always clean water, and draw the pupil at the same time. I'm gradually turning this each of the eye into film. The video is speeded up into two times, because it seems to me that the process is quite understandable. The second is similar to the first. Here at the bottom, I use fill less saturated tone. Next, using the thin brush, I emphasize the border of the eye and the lower eyelid. You see at the strap of the sclera is quite thin, and a little hair. Here, I create a smooth transition from the very dark tone to the lighter one. The pupil, pay attention to its location. He's not in the center at all. It's time to create the light accent. There is an interesting situation in this example. The environment of the eye is lighter than the light inside the eyes. To make example for this course, I tried to pick up different situations to show you the general principles. After this course, you could draw any animal yourself, I hope. At this stage, the eyes are already ready, you can stop. But I cannot deny myself the pleasure of drawing the around to show the beautiful tiger coloring. Using the not very dark tone, I create the basis. I start from the place where it's not scary to make a mistake. I look at the photo and put the form on the paper. Here, I want to make this soft each. The base is ready and while it is still wet, I am drawing dark strips. They are flowing out beautifully on red paper. I don't notice a special order in them, so I make them chaotic. This video is accelerated into times, hydro quickly, but not so much. I paint on carton paper. It remains there for a long time. So the band is still flowing beautifully. If in the process of drawing, you find that the paper dries quickly and you don't have time to draw on wet, don't worry. It's okay. Use the same draw brush and paint on dry. The thin hairs from this each. Oops, I accidentally dripped with the water here, see. While this place has not dried up, I don't touch it and do anything with it, because most likely, I will only make it worse. I will wait till the paper dries and then decide what to do with it. Now I want to return to the eyes and modify them a little. I add depth in dark places places with the soft brush. Now I need the rich white tone to work with white fill. I start in the dark place and lead to white, creating the feeling that there are hair here. Or vice-versa, I start from white and lead to dark. I want to create a soft border here because this eye in purpose and I don't like such the careless border here. It looks very much like so, do you agree? Several long hairs. The same with the second eye, but not so thoroughly because this eye is further away from us. Well, it seems that everything is ready. It's very useful to make a pause and go to drink tea or coffee, and then come back and look at this illustration with a fresh look. For example, now I see that I should add a few spots in this place. I am doing it using the semi dry brush, and it's okay. I also look at the spot and understand that it does not interfere so much to do something with it. If I'll try to fix it, I'll need to completely cover the main tone. There is the risk of losing freshness and lightness, and not the fact that it will get better. Therefore, I will leave it without changes. There is the magic moment of removing the paper tape. The illustration is finally done. 13. Final Thoughts: Well, guys, you've done a great job even you just watched this class to the end. Give me a thumbs up if you like it, I will be pleased. If you've painted with me, then I'm sure this is a very good practice for your watercolor skills. Don't hesitate to show you illustrations. To do this, you the tip your project. Also, feel free to link me on Instagram, @olga_bonitas. I will be happy to give you feedback on your work. Thank you for watching, and I wish you success in your watercolor practice. See you.