The question I get asked the most is probably, "How do you carve eyes?".
Instead of just reciting that tired old line, "just carve away everything
that aint an eye", I thought I would take this opportunity to give a short
explanation of how I generally carve an eye. These tips are by no means in
depth and they assume that all the other things that go into carving a face
are done and now you are ready to tackle the eyes. As I often say, there are
many other ways to do what I'm about to show you, this is merely the one
that works for me.
Carving the Iris & Pupils
( tools: 4mm #11 veiner, 2mm veiner,
detail knife )
Again, study the accompanying close up image 5B before starting this step.
In carving the iris & pupil it doesn't matter if you have the eyes looking
straight ahead or to one side or the other. The main thing is to get them
both looking the same way. The best way to get them looking the same way is
to make a slight mark on one eye with a pencil. Now use something as a gauge
to measure this mark from the outside corner of that eye. Mark the other
side using this measured distance from the inside corner of the other eye.
This should have your eyes looking the same direction. Now take the 4mm
veiner and push straight in with the pencil marks in the middle of the
tool's edge. Be careful not to push in then pry because you may chip out the
detail for the eyeball. Now take the 2mm veiner and ever so slightly scoop
just a smidgen of wood out of the middle of the iris, this is now the pupil.
You can make it larger if you desire, just be very careful.
Rounding the Eyeballs
( tools: detail knife )
This step is very touchy and requires a very light touch. Using the stop
cuts made in the previous step, trim the outsides of the eyeballs. If the
trimming cuts don't sort of pop out very easily, reestablish the stop cut
just slightly where needed. You want to pay very close attention to cleaning
the cuts in each corner of the eyeball. Again don't try to hurry this step,
it can be a little tedious, but the results are worth it. When done, look at
both eyes upside down to make sure they both look balanced.
Defining the Eyes
( tools: 2mm v-tool, detail knife )
Using the lines drawn for the eyes as a guide, define them with the v-tool.
This will now be your guide for making the stop cuts for your eyes. Make the
stop cuts for your eyes with the detail knife by following the guide cuts
made with the v-tool.
Don't try to make the stop cuts too deep, just make them as even and careful
as you can.
Carving Some Character Lines
Around the Eyes
( tools: 2mm v-tool, detail knife )
This step will call for you to closely examine the cuts shown on image 2B.
Start by making a short v-tool cut on the inside of the eye mound, both in
the top and in the bottom. Meet these two cuts between the inside of the eye
and the bridge of the nose, cleaning them carefully with the detail knife.
Next extend the line drawn for the eye on the outside slightly down and to
the outside. This will be a stop cut for the next two cut made in the lower
eye mound which will go slightly up and to the outside of the line drawn for
the eye, one below the other as shown in image 2B. Clean up these cuts
slightly with the detail knife. This should make it appear that the upper
eye lid overlaps the lower just slightly. Now add a couple of short v-tool
cuts to the outside of the eyes on the temple area to give the appearance of
crow's feet. Go slow on this step, and if you need to, draw these cuts
before you make them, to help you visualize.
Deepening the Insides
of the Eye Mounds
( tools: 5mm #11 veiner )
In this step we will be adding a look of depth to the insides of the eye
mounds. Use the veiner to deepen the area above where the eyes are drawn,
starting above the middle of the eye and curving slightly downward to the
bridge of the nose. Do the same thing on the bottom, only this time do it
twice as shown in image 1B. This will accent the inside of the eye mound