Part 4: Creating a Critter from My Mind

Where are all the emus with green eyes? Maybe they live on another planet. But – as an artist, I can bring a green-eyed emu to life on my canvas!

Eyes are surprisingly easy to paint (and draw). Simply add the three basic ingredients (pupil, iris, and highlight) to a roundish shape. The upper image shows a base coat that provides a blueprint for painting (ignore the lighter color painted on the wrong side of the iris). The second layer of paint fixes my mistake and almost covers the white of the canvas. The lower image is closer to a believable eye. The “dots” in the iris are painted with a fun technique called stippling and a range of different yellow and green hues.

When working with layers of acrylic paint, make sure the mixed paint is thin. Painting fine details over top of dried lumps of paint is not fun! Thankfully, a light sanding with a small piece of fine sandpaper flattens the lumps and prepares the section for more paint.

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