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Trouble with Eyes 8-20-2002
I'm working on my face off
challenge and I'm having the worst time
with the eyes. Is there an "magic" ratio that I can use to get the
actual size of the eyeballs, before they are covered with eyelids? I
just can't seem to get them the proper size. They're either too
large, too small . . . and, the eyelids aren't right, either. I'm
laying little tapered snakes over the eyeballs and blending back in
to the face . . . I keep getting bumpily eyelids . . . my poor face
has had the eyes put on and dug out 4 times . . .sometimes he looks
like he's got thyroid problems or caffeine overdose with bulging
eyes . . . other times he's looked stoned. HELP!
KB, aka Kathy
How deep are the sockets? If the socket isn't deep enough the eyeball will be all bulging out. You can use half an eyeball. We don't see the back part of the eyeball, just the front part. You can use a shallow socket, half an eyeball so just the iris and pupil and white are showing, what's not shown don't need to be bothered with.
On a skull the hole for the eyeball is a lot larger than what visible part of the eyeball we see after it is all said and done. Got to think along these lines.
Bulging eyeballs will look startled. Like eyeballs without lids. Too much lid, like a half circle, gives you Robert Mitchem stoned eyes, bedroom eyes. They have their uses, but on a grandpa's face it's sort of scary.
Eyelids are like Venetian blinds, open the eyes the skin does the tuck and roll, causing creases. Or in the case of my eyes, the eyelid goes and hides all together under a ledge. From the eyebrow to the lash is one straight line on Asian eyes.
So when you're putting eyelids on a doll one size does not fit all. A half circle for sleepy eyes with a crescent moon for the lower lid coming to meet the upper lid for winky nods.
A sliver of eyelid for surprise, alarm, amazement.
A sliver of eyelid with the iris and pupils pointed up, extreme pleasure perhaps?
A sliver of eyelid with the iris and pupils looking at the viewer, you get those face painted pretty African men who have to show as much as they can of the white of their eyes, and white of their teeth in their courtship displays, God what is that tribe named? They also have to jump as high as they can. For their jump, white of eyes and teeth, beautiful make up and jewelry show their health, wealth and husband/father potential.
Remember the elementals. Those eyeballs were like little round beads. A slice off the eyeball cane is no different than a slice off of the lemon cane. Roll the eyeball cane slice into a ball. Make sure that the socket is at least 2/3rds as deep as the ball is wide.
We really only have about a third or less of eyeball that's visible. The majority, like an iceberg, lies below the surface.
So the hole is 2/3rds as deep as the eyeball is wide. Now it's an issue of eyelids. What sort of emotion do you want the sculpted face to have?
Are we flirting, both iris and pupils to one side, half lids, tilt the head and add a sly smile, you have a flirt.
Head down, sliver of eyelid, iris and pupils looking up, which is really looking forward since the head is down, so the iris and pupils have to be seen through the lashes. I call this the Princess Di look. Head down, eyelids open wide, pupils looking through the lashes.
With the head down, lids pulled open, there's a lot of white of the eye showing. For that reason I always thought of Princess Di as frightened. But the head down is a submissive posture, so the tension is greater for frightened people want to run away, submissive ones cannot. If you can't protest your eyes will give you away. "Involuntary dilation of the iris" ala Bladerunner, "along with the so called blush response"
What is the emotion of the finished figure? One would have to decide that before doing the eyes.
Folks do eyes too soon anyway. We need the eyes. Like babies ... hardwired to see eyes and mouth. It makes us secure. The weirdest character in fiction that I ever read was this guy who had no eyes, just a vast expanse across the top of his face, but he was psychic. He wouldn't see people as people but a friend would be a purple cone or a yellow square. It was difficult to read that story because the mental image of the no eyes made my eyes water.
We all put eyes in our first face sculptures before the shape of the face is settled, before the nose and cheekbones are in place, before the lower part of the face foundation is organized. We put in the eyes.
Then as the nose, mouth, cheek and chin get worked on ...more and more the eyes don't match.
Do eyes last. Have everything else done to as close to finished as one can. For dropping in those eyeballs and covering them up with the lids, we got to be able to smooth it all nice, put in crows feet and bags under the eyes and start sculpting wrinkles. Then we're done.
Eyes are next to the last thing done on the head. I know it's weird to work on the doll with no eyes. It's hard for our hardwiring. But I tell ya.... to drop the eyeball in the socket and add the eyelid last you'll be able to adjust the eye to fit the face.
To fit the face around eyeballs is much more difficult and you risk goofing up the eyes when you're building the nose bridge or adding cheek bone mass.
When I laugh, my cheeks push into my eyes so all that's left is a black spermatozoa of eyelash. The rest is pushed up or pushed down flesh. For laughing eyes like that. I don't even use an eyeball at all. I just put in a sliver of white. Poke a hole and drop in a pupil. That's all that's needed. To do more is to make more work for myself.
When I laugh you can blindfold me with dental floss. Why make a whole eyeball, do the socket, drop it in, make the lids if everything is going to be run over like a lava flow with flesh from crinkling up the face in a howdy laugh? Waste of clay time, really.
Oh last thought... if your sculpted face is going to have glasses, I've seen big eyes and then eyeglass frames over the big eyes, like the eyes were magnified, but there was no glass in the frame. Funny and cute and pretty ingenious. I forget where I saw it but the images is burnt in my brain.
So that's all I can think of about eyes right now.