Pastels can be a difficult medium because they are soft and can be messy to use. But the ability to blend the colors can make a photorealistic painting with a little practice.
This tutorial will show you how to draw a realistic eye with pastels.
The photo reference is from Wild Life Reference Photos. If you are a wildlife artist, this site is for you. You can purchase high-quality wildlife photos and own the rights to create beautiful pastel paintings you can sell.
Materials Used For This Realistic Eye Tutorial:
How To Paint A Realistic Eye With Pastels
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Watch this video to learn how to paint a realistic eye of a wolf.
Step 1 Sketch The Eye
Start by sketching the outline of the wolf’s eye.
Different techniques are used for sketching the outline of a subject on PastelMat for pastel paintings. Some artists trace the subject while others sketch the subject freehand or use the grid method.
The wolf outline was done with the grid method for this tutorial.
Step 2 Draw Outline With Pastels
Start by painting the outline of the wolf’s eye with a black pastel pencil. Make sure the tip of the pastel pencil is sharp so you have a thin crisp line.
Pastel Drawing Tip:
There are many different sharpeners available for sharpening pastels. However, the pastel core might break in the sharpener when the blade gets dull. Sharpen the pastel pencil carefully and use sandpaper to create a shape point.
Rotate the pencil while you are drawing to keep the tip sharp longer.
Continue to look at the reference image before drawing the eye.
Step 3 Draw Pupil
Draw in the pupil with a black pastel and pay attention to where the highlight is.
Do not add too much pastel at this point. Just add enough to identify where the pupil is and the highlight of the wolf eye.
Step 4 Add The Iris’s Midtones
First, identify the colors in the wolf’s iris. In this tutorial, there are dark and light browns with some reds.
After identifying the colors, pull out the pastels, and sharpen them. Keep them apart from all of your other pastels so you can use them as needed.
Start painting the eye with the midtones. The midtone is the value between the highlights and the shadows.
Squint your eyes if you have difficulty seeing the different values and colors. Do not focus on the detail of the eye at this point. The objective is to add the midtone to layer the lighter and darker colors to create more depth of the wolf eye.
Step 5 Add Darks To The Eye
As you continue to add color and values to the wolf eye, you will notice areas you will need to adjust. At this point, you will want to go back and add darker areas with black pastel.
Lightly glaze over the area of the midtones that are darker with your black pastel.
Pastel Painting Tip:
To glaze over an area, hold the pastel pencil sideways and lightly go over an area you want to add color. Just use the weight of the pencil and do not apply any pressure.
Step 6 Add Highlights
Go in and paint the highlights with a light grey pastel.
Step 6 Paint Lighter Values To Eye
Start adding lighter colors to the eye. Drawing a realistic eye with pastels is done by adding multiple layers to create depth.
Again at this point, you are not concerned about the fine details, just about layering the lights, midtones, and darks.
For this realistic eye tutorial, you will draw in the lighter values with a golden brown.
Also, add the reds to the wolf’s eye.
Step 7 Blend Colors
Use a blending stump to blend the pastels. A blending stump will work better for smaller areas like this than using fingers.
Watch the video to see how to blend the pastels with a blending stump.
Step 8 Add The Details To The Wolf Eye
Add lighter details and more reds and dark browns to add depth to the wolf eye. This is what will make a realistic eye.
Continue these steps to finish the realistic eye with pastels.
Watch the video to see these steps in action.
Final Thoughts On How To Draw A Realistic Eye With Pastels
Painting a realistic eye will be the same for all eyes, including a wolf eye, cat eye, or human eye.
Start with high-quality pastels and paper. PastelMat allows you to add layers of pastels, making it possible to paint a photorealistic pastel painting.