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  #1  
Old 03-13-2008, 08:35 PM
KLRON KLRON is offline
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Help with eyes

I am new to the sculpture field, still taking lessons at night. One thing I always have a problem with is eyes. All of the instructors tell me different things to do, and none of them work well with me. Is there some information I am missing? Most of my eyes are either too flat, or they appear zombie like. I am currently doing a bust of a friend, and I would hate to have her eyes flaten or become possessed.. Please help.
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  #2  
Old 03-13-2008, 09:24 PM
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GlennT GlennT is offline
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Re: Help with eyes

If you could post a photo of your work here, it would make it easy for some of us to critique with specific suggestions.
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  #3  
Old 03-13-2008, 09:31 PM
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Alfred Alfred is offline
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Re: Help with eyes

I'm with Glenn about posting samples of your work... makes it easier to be specific, otherwise we'll all be giving you different advice just like you professors.

I will say this: you can try doing copies of other sculpture's eyes. Seeing what other artists have done to solve the same problem can be helpful. It's also good practice. You only need to do one eye, so you should be able to knock them out in about a half hour tops. Make several and in different styles. I suggest Bernini, Rodin and Philippe Faraut for starters. Philippe's faces can be a little contrived, but his eyes are really good and his technique is simple.

Good Luck,

Alfred
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  #4  
Old 03-14-2008, 12:32 AM
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racine racine is offline
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Re: Help with eyes

some of those roman marbles have wonderful zombie eyes ala romero, a bit like people wearing sunglasses, the interpretation in 3d is truthful, as visual eye definition is under the surface. they may well have been painted at the time thus solving the perceptive problem with the illusory. a paradox. i have to say i am drawn more to the truth even if it is 'sculpture flesheaters'....'dawn of the renderd,..

Last edited by racine : 03-14-2008 at 12:35 AM. Reason: ala romero is a sauce made with boiled eggs and tomatos
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  #5  
Old 03-14-2008, 01:23 AM
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Merlion Merlion is offline
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Re: Help with eyes

A key point to note is that the eye is in the shape of a ball, about one inch diameter. What we see is the front part of this sphere of course. It is recesssed into the eye sockets. How deep it is recessed depends on the racial group.

A good example to note is how Michelangelo carved the eyes of David.

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Last edited by Merlion : 03-14-2008 at 03:59 AM.
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  #6  
Old 03-14-2008, 07:33 AM
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Re: Help with eyes

they were meant to be seen from well below and far away ,thus the deep eye caricature, and the other bits that dont match straight on.
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  #7  
Old 03-14-2008, 11:04 AM
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Re: Help with eyes

Continuing to digress talking about David's seemingly distorted eyes, what you say is true Racine. This is why Michelangelo is such a great master. He can take into account the typical viewer's angle of vision and perspective in his figurative carvings.
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  #8  
Old 03-14-2008, 12:21 PM
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Re: Help with eyes

Hi Klron,

I'd recommend getting books that teach how to sculpt the face- sometimes these books will say "how to sculpt portraits" or the like, but in the process they show you techniques for sculpting all the features of the face. Each book gives you a little tidbit of advice they've found and you can incorporate any and all to get your style of doing eyes.

~Tamara
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  #9  
Old 03-14-2008, 05:51 PM
KLRON KLRON is offline
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Re: Help with eyes

Here is the bust I am working on. Since I am so new to this it still takes some time for me to finish.

Thanks for the info.
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  #10  
Old 03-14-2008, 08:11 PM
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Re: Help with eyes

When I began to sculpt, I certainly found eyes about the most difficult part of the face to model in clay. As Racine said, what we see is below the surface - the eye basically is a sphere, with the iris and other colored and active parts of the eye actually inside the sphere. Thus, we MUST treat the sculpted eye as an artificial object, and construct something that is believable as an eye, even if by analysis we know it's not correct. The image of Michelangelo's David above shows this very well.

What I found necessary is a correct set of eyelids and surroundings, such as the small triangle of muscle next to the nose, as well as correct upper and lower lids, and a correct joining of the two lids at the outside edge of the eye. The muscle tissue and eybrows above the eye, and the degree of overlap (undercut) and sag of facial muscle and skin below the eye also are important.

In my case, with the central part of the eyeball, I eventually decided to follow many of the old Greek and Roman examples by simply scooping a deep, rounded hole in the center, so deep it almost never catches room light. In some early faces, I also added a small triangle or rectangle of clay just in the upper left or right corner (same position in both eyes) to represent a reflected highlight, as in the David, but I soon dropped even that, and went with just the hole.

One final point I think is important. Eyes almost never stare straight ahead, but commonly look a bit to left or right. I find the informality of a slight sideways glance simplifies the overall problem and makes the eyes more attractive.
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  #11  
Old 03-14-2008, 08:46 PM
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HappySculpting HappySculpting is offline
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Re: Help with eyes

I like your sculpture. She is really coming along nicely. Nice face shape and the neck muscles look good too. Nice soft lips and good ear shape. Really doing well with her.

A good teacher should never touch the students sculpt but a picture can also teach well. So I worked in photoshop just a bit to show how the eyes would look with a few adjustments. Hope you don't mind.

Widened the eyes a bit so they don't look squinty (unless you want her eyes showing a squint.) Raised the corners of the outside edges of the eyes upwards a bit and lowered the tear duct area a tad. Rounded the eye shape a bit. What really helped was taking out the shadow line write under the eye. Shadows are good under the eye but first fleshiness needs to be added to form what is called the lower eyelid area. There needs to be a bit of puffiness there.

Finishing the eyes out with the pupil always helps the eye all come together and look better, so I put a quickie pupil in there. ( Can't do much with my photoshop program, but I tried).

If you feel your own eyesocket you'll notice how the bone above the eyeball really is prominent and at the surface Perhaps you could add a bit more of this bone to show this socket some more.

Hope this is helpful,

~Tamara


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  #12  
Old 03-14-2008, 09:40 PM
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racine racine is offline
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Re: Help with eyes

its a lovely clay a good achievement. there is of course another way, laterality being an essential to artmaking, i see there is a problem with the eyes but well, can i suggest glasses?
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  #13  
Old 03-14-2008, 10:02 PM
KLRON KLRON is offline
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Re: Help with eyes

Thanks for all your information and advise. As for eyeglasses, she will have sunglasses, but they will be on top of her head. Her eyes are naturally smaller, but not as squinty as I have made them.
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  #14  
Old 03-15-2008, 12:58 AM
ironman ironman is offline
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Re: Help with eyes

Hi, I was taught to make 2 balls and put them in the eye sockets and then form the lids over them.
Have a great day,
Jeff
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  #15  
Old 03-15-2008, 01:22 PM
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Re: Help with eyes

Lots of good advise, although beware that Ironman only does abstract sculpture now.

I would also add to Alfred's list of sculptors to study, Houdon. He did amazing work and his eyes are usually rather nice. I don't have a stack way of doing it, although Fritchie's description sounds the closest, before he did away with the highlight piece. I always start with creating the sockets and everything else in the face and do the eyeball nearly last. Because the eyes are so compelling, I don't want that to distract me from getting the facial construction as accurate as possible first.

Then, Like Ironman says, I form clay balls and work them in, and then build the lids, mindful of those elements that Fritchie mentioned. I create a hollow depression to translate the effect of the darkness of the pupil and/or the color of the iris. Outside of the iris I usually inscribe shallow arcs to show the borders of the iris. Note that these are not complete circles, because the upper and/or lower lids cover part of the iris, unless a specific expression dictates otherwise.

Lastly, I play with adding and subtracting clay inside the hollow of the pupil and/or iris area, not just to immitate the relective light on the pupil, but also to try and translate some of the character unique to the person whose portrait I am sculpting. There is no way to teach this part, which can become messy if not done well. Most sculptors I have seen do not do this and keep it simpler instead, using a consistent method that they are comfortable with from one set of eyes to another.
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  #16  
Old 04-07-2008, 12:57 PM
KLRON KLRON is offline
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Smile Re: Help with eyes

Just wanted to show how the eyes turned out. I am very pleased with the results so far. Thanks again for all the advise.

Kris
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  #17  
Old 04-07-2008, 07:05 PM
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Re: Help with eyes

Beautiful piece! The eyes strike me as very expressive, and the rest of the facial and neck structure looks great as well. Congratulations.
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  #18  
Old 04-10-2008, 09:48 PM
malibusculpt malibusculpt is offline
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Re: Help with eyes

the piece looks wonderful, very sensitively executed! can't believe you're just starting, bravo!
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  #19  
Old 04-11-2008, 09:39 AM
KLRON KLRON is offline
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Re: Help with eyes

Thanks for the compliments. I am still having some trouble with the hair. She has very full wavy hair, and I am not sure the best way to make that. This is my 9th piece (2nd bust from a real person), and I still have a lot to learn. Thanks again for the help.

Kris
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  #20  
Old 04-11-2008, 06:50 PM
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fritchie fritchie is offline
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Re: Help with eyes

Yeah, hair also is a special problem, as it can't be done exactly, just like the eyes. I've "combed" overall wavy shapes, built up sea-wave shapes, and cut deeply into rough tubular pieces of clay, trying to mimic different types of hair.

You just have to find what works for you.
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