One of our student’s Elaine sent us in this picture with a request for help with the eyes:
Hi, I wonder if you can help me with some advice. I am a novice artist (although my work is not too shabby). I am using pastel pencils to create a fur seal pup and despite building the eyes up using pale grey, Indigo then black they still look flat and lifeless. The highlights are in and I did use strokes following the shape of the eye ball but is there anything I can do to make them look more realistic? Hopefully attached is a picture of the seals face which is by no way finished incase your wondering.
Thanks Elaine for your email and here’s the picture in question.
What is needed here is to first place in the white highlights then apply a cool mid grey to start of with then a Payne’s grey followed by the indigo.
Only then should the black be applied, then the Indigo could be reapplied over the black.
The mistake here was to apply light grey first followed by two very dark colours, the light grey will deaden the strong tones making them appear lifeless.
I hope that helps you and any others having a similar problem.