Saturday, July 7, 2007
Most of the times the eyes are the focal point of a painting so I try pretty hard to make them interesting. Traditionally, comic eyes were pretty simple. With three colors and not particularly high resolution, there wasn't a whole lot you could do other than draw them well. Newer comic books use much more sophisticated printing techniques and they are able to achieve resolutions and gradations in colors that weren't really possible before. Also, Japanese anime came along and really stylized the eyes. They not only made them bigger, they added all kinds of color gradations and glints of light. I don't draw anime eyes, but I do incorporate some of the techniques they use to make them more interesting.
For some reason this photo doesn't capture it particularly well (probably due to the flash), but the top part of the irises are a much deeper shade of blue than the bottom and there's a fairly smooth transition between the shades. This never happened in Silver Age* comics, but it gives the eyes a deep, watery translucence that i really like. The glints of white also add depth and interest.
I've been accused a number of times of preferring blue eyes to brown; that the fact that I seem to always paint blue eyes is some indication of my own personal preference. This just isn't true. The simple truth is that blue is a bright primary color that harmonizes well with other bright primary colors. Brown is more subdued and requires a different color palette. The same is true with using yellow or red for hair as opposed to brown. I've used these other colors, they just never seem to have as much impact.
*In case you were wondering, the period of the 1960s and 1970s is generally referred to as the Silver Age of comics. This is when romance comics were still quite popular and young girls were the primary market. Except for certain Japanese anime comics, the genre pretty much no longer exists.