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Painting a Face: Oils over Acrylic
Alright, this is perhaps one of the most daunting tasks that every figure painter faces. Do I suggest that I have the perfect, 100% satisfaction guaranteed method for making eyes? Heck no! I struggle with them as much as the next guy. I have learned a few things after many attempts that makes it a little more bearable. Hopefully you'll find this to be true as well.
When painting eyes, things you want to avoid are the ever dreaded "deer in the headlights" bright white pop eyes. It is one of the most common mistakes among newer painters.
The first part in avoiding that is to stay away from pure white paint. Here I am using a mixture of AV 955 Flat Flesh and a touch of AV 951 White (and same ratio of water). I gently float the paint into the nicely defined recess of the eye. In order to do the same on the other side, I find it easier to turn the head upside down so I don't have to contend with the nose (for the record in case you haven't noticed, I'm left handed).
The next step is to apply a dot of your color of choice. For this I use an old airbrush needle. I find that it gives me just a bit more control than a fine brush does. A good suggestion is to paint the eye that is hardest for you first, so it will be easier for you to copy its position onto the eye that is more comfortable for you. Also note that even though I used a needle, I still got paint outside of the eye area. We will clean this up at the end.
After you do the color, then go back in with black and indicate a pupil. Personally, I think I covered too much of the blue, but I'm content to leave it as is at this point. Again, if I work up the courage I may go back later to touch it up.
Above you see that I went back with some of my left over flesh color and cleaned up around the eye, bringing it back into the realm of acceptability. Then I did the same with the other. Toward the end of the project, I will go back in and add a glint of highlight to liven up the eyes a bit.