Sketch: Eye (2)

When I posted my sketch of an eye in ink, I mentioned that I wanted to do the same drawing in colored pencil. I finally got around to it, and here is the progression of the sketch with my notes.

First, the initial pencil drawing. I decided to include some details surrounding the eye, like the brow, and the creases underneath, and indicate the side of the nose. I’m not entirely pleased with where I stopped drawing and started adding color, because I didn’t get some of the shapes and positioning quite right, particularly the circular shape of the iris. I wish I had been more careful to start with an accurate drawing, and hopefully I’ve learned my lesson. But it didn’t ultimately ruin the final piece, just made it slightly less accurate.


I don’t know why I started adding color where I did—the eyebrow came first, so I suppose it was a bit of a top down approach, with the main detail of the iris/pupil following.


I concentrated on saving areas of highlight while accepting that certain “white” spaces really were not, and included greys and other colors.


Slowly, I began to build up layers of color, particularly for the skin. The most skin-like colors I have in my set are Light Peach and Peach, so I worked mainly with those but also incorporated colors like Cloud Blue and Lilac where I noticed them in various shadows. I also used 20% Cool Grey and 50% Warm Grey for shading. I know shadows aren’t automatically grey, but I tried to stick to what I was seeing.

At this stage, I started burnishing the skin with some white, and blending out the rest of the colors with a colorless blender pencil. I went back over the iris after blending to indicate the detail on its surface. I’m particularly happy with how the highlight over the iris came out, which became even more vivid after the layering/ blending.


The finishing touches included darkening and blending out the eyebrow, enhancing the shadows around the eye to make it “pop” by making it more distinct from the skin around it, and adding the eyelashes.

The sketch did not end up with the heavily layered “colored pencil painting” effect that I have been aiming for/ come to expect from myself. But I’m happy with how it turned out, and I didn’t want to force anything just for the sake of achieving a particular effect.

IMG_3553Eye, colored pencil on Mixed Media paper, 2018 (9×12)


Just for fun, here are the ink and colored pencil sketches side by side:

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