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Quackcast 665 - Eyes

Ozoneocean at 8:12AM, Dec. 12, 2023

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This week our talk is an art one: eyes! We talk about how to draw them, adding meaning and expression, the way different cultures use them, different styles for doing eyes, reflection, shadow, focus and a million other things!

Eyes anchor a face, they're THE most important landmark because humans are instinctively drawn to them as are most other creatures because eyes are an ancient thing that connects most animals, not just mammals but birds, reptiles, fish, crustaceans, arthropods, arthropods, insects and more. And for this reason hiding eyes or blocking them or even removing them is a great indication of evil or that something is wrong. There are Soooo many ways of drawing them from simple dots, circles within circles, lines, or going full on with something more realistic.

While not the first to develop it, Disney is famous for popularising a particular style of big eyes, which notably went on to influence early manga creators and that in turn became the main style throughout eastern Asia in animation and comics. Large eyes in narrative art in the region have been honed to an intricate art form with extremely complicated reflections, intricate colourings, and a multitude of expressions and indications of character and mental states.

Typically western comic art uses eyebrows and eyelids to a lessor extent to indicate expressions. Usually eyes are either proportionally realistic or in more stylised art they tend to be large and simplified. And while the eyes in manga style art are able to take the entire burden of representing expression, in western art they tend to have to work in concert with other facial features like the mouth, brows, set of the jaw and creases on the face.

One of the toughest things with eyes is to make both of them the same. A trick is to simply copy and paste to mirror one eye. In the old days you'd use tracing paper, carbon paper etc… Ironically though if you make both eyes too perfectly mirrored and alike things look LESS real and relatable because in reality eyes are rarely perfectly mirrored and when they are it's a little weird, though it's not something you notice most of the time because your brain automatically corrects for things like that. The upshot is that you shouldn't get too crazy about making sure the eyes you draw match perfectly, as long as one isn't too tilted or higher than the other.

We talk a LOT more about this on the Quackcast of course…
So how do you go about drawing eyes? Do you prefer the manga look or the Western approach? Do you have any issues with drawing eyes?

This week Gunwallace was too busy to we replayed an old fave, Gunwallace's theme to Android Blues - Cold blue, ancient mechanisms, clicking and pulsing… springs contracting, gears turning, cams slipping, servos spinning, capacitors whining… the machine works perfectly and mysteriously.

NEXT UP - Quackcast 666. Something evil…

Topics and shownotes


Featured comic:
Short changed -

Featured music:
Android Blues - - by Stahlberg, rated A.

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace -
Ozoneocean -
Tantz Aerine -
Banes -

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Ozoneocean at 5:14PM, Dec. 13, 2023

Wow, I'm in constant endless loops XD

Ironscarf at 11:16AM, Dec. 13, 2023

@Ozoneocean - It turned out to be a time saver for me. I'll freehand the initial drawing but for anything that doesn't look right (almost everything) I found sketching these underlying structures helped stop me getting into an endless redrawing loop (something I suffered from a lot!).

Ozoneocean at 3:14AM, Dec. 13, 2023

@Ironscarf- Wow, really? You go super technical like that? Hmm, something to think on.

Ozoneocean at 3:13AM, Dec. 13, 2023

@PaulEberhardt - Yeah, eyes will make or break something XD

Ironscarf at 5:30PM, Dec. 12, 2023

My style is mostly Western and not super cartoony. I usually draw more convincing eyes if I start with two golf balls and then draw the lids around them. I find I can get a better sense of perspective that way as it's a complex 3D shape. Of course, you can just draw two black dots and it always looks great!

PaulEberhardt at 12:22PM, Dec. 12, 2023

Even with those fairly simple-looking sketchy cartoon eyes I do I often spend almost more time on them than on the rest of the face, as tiniest variations e.g. on placing the pupils, lids and eyebrows can change everything. With cartoon eyes you can also vary the shape in subtle ways to great effect. All of that will only ever be noticed subconsciously - unless it looks really off, in which case normal readers will instantly dismiss it as crappy artwork, even if the rest is great. Eyes are worth any amount of detail work you put into them.

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