100 texture challenge

So I’ve decided to better understand the textures and in the next couple of months will be doing one hundred textures in Photoshop.

I will be adding each drawing to this thread so you can follow them all as I progress 🙂

1. Golden pearl

Understanding the human eye

Before we start drawing animal eyes I would like to take a step back and look at a more familiar eye, that is, a human one. By understanding the shape and the anatomy of the human eye you will be able to apply this knowledge to animal eyes, making the necessary adjustments for each species. Most animals have a very similar eye structure, but we will also look at birds, reptiles and fish that have their own particular features when it comes to drawing their eyes.

Here is a little study I did of a human eye. You can download it for future reference or create your own which I strongly suggest as that will allow you to actually learn the anatomy better.

First let’s look at how not to draw the eye. Usually, we see children draw the eye as an almond shape with a circle in it. This gives us an eye symbol but it is flat and far from realistic.

See how flat that looks 🙂

Now, let’s take a look at the eye in ¾ view. Here you can see the steps I took to actually draw this eye. We will not be going into eyelashes at the moment as those are not so relevant anatomy-wise but instead will look at the shape.

First I start with a sphere. We have the light source on the top left and that creates a highlight on the sphere. Remember, that the eyeball is a moist sphere and we will see the curving form shadow on the bottom right here.

Now we can add the iris. In this case the eye is in ¾ view and the iris will not be a perfect circle due to perspective. Instead it will have a more oval shape. Take a look at this eyeball with the iris in it. Notice how big the iris actually is compared to the eyeball itself. It takes up almost ½ of the eyeball.

Then I add the upper lid. Just a side note, not everyone’s eyes will have the upper lid visible, people with asian heritage will have it hidden. But let’s return to our example eye, and pay attention here, this is very important to remember when drawing mammals, the upper lid has a thickness to it. See how it curls around the eyeball. As the light is coming from top left we will see the bottom part of the lid in shadow. This shadow will show us how thick the lid actually is.

The shape of the lid curves around the eyeball and as it curves away from the light source it will have its own form shadow and a highlight.

As we have this shape over our eyeball it will cast a shadow on it. This is why we usually see the cast shadow on the top portion of the eyeball when we have a light source shining from above, which is almost always.

Let’s look at this toddler’s eyes. We can clearly see the light coming from above and the shadow right under the upper lid.

In this photo the light is coming from bottom right and you can see that here it is the lower lid that casts the shadow.

You can observe the same thing by taking a flashlight and shining it from different angles at your own face in front of a mirror. You will see how the eyelids cast a shadow on it depending on the direction of the light.

But let’s get back to our drawing.

Now that we have a top lid, let’s add the bottom one. As we have the light shining from top left the bottom lid will be illuminated by it. You can see it catching light in this photo.

Now observe how the lower lid curves around the eyeball and then goes into the cheek. This curvature will give it a form shadow. Also, pay attention to the fact that the upper lid is kind of going over the bottom one and thus the outer corner of the eye will be in the upper lid’s cast shadow.

Let’s go back to our underlit eye for a secodn.

Here the light is coming from the bottom right and the lower lid is illuminated and has now shadow on it. So, once again, understanding the shape is very important to properly add light and shadow to the eye.

Now that we have our eyelids, we lack one more essential thing, the tear duct. We will see the corner of it in this ¾ view and as it is moist, it will also catch a highlight. Remember, the brightest highlight is always perpendicular to the light source.

Now we have our eye. Here on the left we can see the shape of the eye in ¾ view and in profile.

Let’s look at the statues as it is a lot easier to see the shapes.

But there is another important thing we need to know about it’s anatomy. Let’s look at this image of an eye in profile. The protective film over the iris is called a cornea. See how it protrudes from the eyeball?

Here is an anatomical representation of cornea.

It let’s the light through and thus creates a secondary highlight on the opposite side of the main highlight. That’s why we have a lighter area in the bottom part of the eye.

Here we see the light coming from the top left creating a highlight and going through the cornea on the bottom right, thus illuminating that part of the iris.

And one more thing to remember is that the highlight will curve with the shape of the eyeball and it will not be white. Yes, this might sound strange, but the highlight will reflect the surroundings and only a tiny portion of it might be bright white. The shape of the highlight will also reflect the light source, so if it is a window, it will reflect the shape of the window curved over the shape of the eyeball.

Here is a tip for those who want to practice drawing human eyes. It is a lot easier to start with sculptures. Michelangelo’s David is a great example of human anatomy and drawing the black and white studies will help you understand the anatomy better before going on to draw real human eyes.

Here is my study of David’s eye in charcoal.

No color, no distraction with eyelashes, just the basic anatomy of the eye. Here you can clearly see the way the eyeball curves and how the lids enclose it.


The Creative Habit | Book Review


Before you can think out of the box, you have to start with a box.

– Twyla Tharp

This book by Twyla Tharp is a magical kick in the butt any creative person needs. There, the first impression in the first sentence.

The book itself is written from a perspective of a choreographer, but anyone, literally anyone, will find it interesting and a pleasant read. In fact, today in the morning I was helping my husband brainstorm an idea for an app using some of the exercises from the book.

Three important things that pop out for me from this book:

  • routine is the key
  • talent is something you achieve with hard work
  • creativity is not a magical insiration kind of thing, yup, it happens, but mostly you have to push and shove that muse of yours until she actually throws a decent idea at you, and then rinse and repeat

Another great thing about this book is the author herself, I really liked her personality and the voice that the book is written in. She shares her own experience and her own struggles, as well as provides a real life example (unlike in those many ‘how-to-be-creative’ books you can often find in the Kindle store).

Why is it relevant to an illustrator? Well, illustration is one of those beautiful professions where your creativity and the way you think are the keys to moving ahead and staying afloat. Today, there are a zillion people out there who can draw and paint amazingly. If you want to stand out, think outside the box, make yourself seen, be creative.

But before you actually jump out of the so called box, you need to know the ropes, the most basic things. And you have to know them to a perfection. Only then you can truly break the rules and create something different, but different in a good way.

But here is me giving away some parts of the book. So I will stop here and just finish with the statement that this definitely is a wonderful book to spend your precious time on, whatever you do in life it will surely broaden your horizons.

How to be an Illustrator | Book Review

This wonderful how-to book by Darrel Rees is a must read for any illustrator, be it a complete newbie or someone more experienced in the craft. I love reading on my Kindle (and, oh thank goodness, e-readers exist) but I got this book in paper and I am really happy to see it on my art bookshelf.

The first thing that you have to remember is that this is not a how to draw/illustrate/collage/or another creative process kind of book. This is a business book. (I can see people turning away from the screen seeing this scary ‘b’ word that terrorizes 99% of creative population.) This is a true how to book when it comes to actually selling yourself, what to know before you even jump out onto the stage of illustration world and what to know and things to watch out for business-wise. And being a freelance professional does involve one having to know the ropes when it comes to actually dealing with clients (although, you can go the agent way and have them deal with everything money and client-wise but even when dealing with an agent you should know if he/she is acting in your best interest and not in it’s client’s).

In this book you will find how to build your portfolio, how to actually get contacts in the illustration world, an advice about contracts and what to expect and to avoid, as well as a very handy chapter about agents and pros and cons of working with one.

It’s very interesting to read this book (full of examples from the writer’s personal experience) as Mr.Rees has not only dealt with the whole illustration world from the side of the illustrator but has also a huge amount of experience as an agent. Thus you get the perspective from both sides when it comes to this creative craft.

All in all, I really think that reading this book was a time well spent and that I will be going back to it more than once.