Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Eye, eye...

Steve the Wargamer had an interesting post about painting eyeballs (or not, in his case).  Everything he said was quite right, of course, and yet I always paint eyes on my figures otherwise they just don't come alive for me: they look unfinished and dead, like zombies.  Now, of course, Steve posited that badly painted eyes (like mine) are worse than no eyes at all and he is probably right (I expect it was some of my squint-eyed masterpieces that got him thinking about it).  Not painting eyes on anything 20mm or below is probably reasonable but for 28mm figures, with their usually disproportionately big heads, I feel I have to put their eyes in, however anime-like they end up.

The figure above I painted a month or so ago and I am not arguing that this is a good paint job but her head is large for her body and you can see where her eyeballs are supposed to be; further, she has eyelids as some sculptors manage.  OK, they are exaggerated but then so are the size of hands and feet.  I was quite surprised to see how many comments (and there were a lot) were in the no eyeballs camp.  Who paints eyes well?  I have always liked the eyes Giles Allison  manages on his figures.  No mean feat on Perry figures, who have smaller heads than most!

I will carry on painting eyes on mine and hope that once in every ten figures I manage to get one that doesn't look like a cross-eyed Manga character!


  1. Thanks for the vote of confidence! I've always thought your eyes are pretty good too - there's certainly nothing wrong with that lady, for example.

    I agree with you on this - if the sculptor has gone to the effort to sculpt eyes (and eyelids) then I think they should be painted. The most common mistake in painting them, in my view, is making the pupils too big (which is often what happens when the "paint a black oval and then white dabs at each end" method is used). If you look at people's eyes there is always white underneath the pupil as well as on either side of it. Don't get me started on horses' eyes....

    Best wishes


  2. It wasn't her eyes I was looking at actually... :o))

    Nice painting - even the eyes - and for the record it wasn't you or Giles that prompted the post... it was actually Der Alte Fritze's horses..... gulp..... now I've said it....

  3. The trouble is that now I am going to be paranoid about every eye I paint!

  4. Each time I paint I figure, it's always the eyes I find most difficult and worry about the most!

  5. Free yourselves... Vallejo dark flesh, followed by a coat of citadel Flesh Wash... :o))

  6. I'm in the paint the eyes camp too, for the reasons you cite.
    Just come across your blogs by the way - very nice, especially your ZULU wars one - I am shortly to embark on a Zulu project myself hence this post doubly caught my eye (no pun intended).
    What I am intrigued about is the differing shields status and their married status. I had only recently discovered this would be an issue in painting up these Zulu correctly. Keep up the good work.