Hobby Shortcut: Painting eyes on a 28mm miniature

Eyes… who does not love to paint eyes on a 28mm miniature? Or for an army of 100+ models?
Often it is the final step, that ruins everything… the dark part: iris and pupil. I loathe it.
So here comes a quick “how I paint eyes on a miniature”. It is not a new trick and the idea is not mine. But it is rarely mentioned in tutorials or videos, despite being a major timesaver. (some even call it cheating 😉 )

I usually proceed the same way painting faces and eyes:

  • I first paint the entire face with all the shades and highlights. No surprise there.
  • I use an off-white colour (I prefer “mummy robes” from Army painter) to paint the eyes of the miniature. I use an extra fine paintbrush for this step. It is important to let the paint dry properly before proceeding to the next step.
  • Finally I use a black fineliner and add the dark of iris and pupil.
    There are many brands out there producing excellent fineliner or technical pens. I usually use a Copic Multliner 0,2 for larger miniatures and (my favorite) a Sakura Pigma Micron 005 for regular 28mm humanoids. (Relics from my drawing days)
    I do not really paint the dark in the eye of the miniature. Instead I press the tip of the liner on right spot and “imprint” the iris.
    Since I have better control of a pen, than of the fiddly weedly fine paintbrush, I can proceed more confidently and faster. And since you do not have to constantly “reload” your paintbrush with paint, you save even more time.

Recently I started to paint the eyes of animals, ghosts and demons dark with a white spot. I do it the same way, but I switch the colours. The eyeball will be painted black and I use a fine white drawing pen for the white spot. I have yet to look for a proper fine white pen, since the one I use is not soooooo good. But I will experiment some more in that direction.

Voila… happy painting

One comment

  1. Thanks, this is a great tip for those of us who are not too confident with their wibbly-wobbly hands doing small detailed work.

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