How to Paint Chibi Eyes - Revisited
"Why another chibi eyes tutorial?", you may be asking. Well, I've been painting up chibi figures since 2012, when I first got my hands on Super Dungeon Explore. But while my other techniques have changed, the eyes of all my SDE models have stayed the same. Four years is a long time to keep doing things the same exact way so it's time to change it up.
That said, I've changed up how I paint my eyes and I felt that maybe a more advanced version of the tutorial was in order. Don't worry, the original write up isn't going anywhere. Think of this as the next evolution and slightly more advanced version.
For this tutorial we'll be using these colors:
list o' colors
Citadel Rhinox Hide
Citadel Averland Sunset
A couple of notes before we get started:
- Make sure you thin your paint. Painting straight out of the pot will eventually clog details with successive layers. Multiple thin layers always win vs. a single thick coat.
- Now I mix my paint with water on a wet palette. But I've also had success with Liquitex Matte Medium and water. There are other additives you can try as well, you've just got to play with it and see what works for you.
- I prime my minis with Games Workshop's Corax White, but you could use a different brand. Be wary of Rustoleum and Krylon, I've had mixed results. Sometimes the chemicals in the spray react to the plastic of the mini.
- A nice point on your brush is required for this one, you need to be able to lay the paint exactly where you want it.
- Whenever I paint my eyes for chibi figures, I always paint the skin first. Obviously, you have too great of a chance of messing up the eyes while painting the skin on and it makes no sense to do the eyes first.
Basecoat the Eyes - Vallejo White
|The first order of business is to base coat the eyes. You'll want to do a few thin coats of Vallejo White and get even coverage. Make sure to let each previous coat dry before doing the next coat, or you may end up pulling semi-wet paint off of the model while applying the new layer.
Iris Basecoat - Rhinox Hide
|This model has sculpted irises, but we're going to ignore them. With the white of the eye all basecoated, it's time to start on the iris. I always start from the top of the eye and make a partial oval. Try to keep the edge as smooth as possible, but if you need to you can fix any wiggly edges with some white later.
For Candy, I wanted her looking to the side, it makes her pose more believable, rather than having the irises pointing straight forward.
Iris Highlight #1 - XV-88
|Next up we take our midrange color, for this it's Citadel's XV-88, and painting Js from the top on the right side of the iris, along the bottom edge of the iris. You can also leave some of the dark color showing, as I have, at the edge to give it a bit of an outline.
Iris Highlight #2 - Averland Sunset
|For our final highlight, we take Citadel's Averland Sunset and draw a thinner J along the bottom edge of the XV-88 area. This will help give the eye a bit more pop, once we do the next step.
Light Reflection Dots - Vallejo White
|Now we will add in some reflection to the eye. First up, take some Vallejo White and put a relatively large white dot in the middle of the Rhinox Hide area. Then, place a slightly smaller dot within the Averland Sunset area.
Upper Eye Line - Vallejo Black
|Finally, we paint the upper edge of the eye with Vallejo Black to give the eye the classic anime eye look. For this model, the edge was sculpted right into the face, but on many it isn't there and you have to wing it a little more.
And that's it! An even better set of chibi eyes than the last version. I'm really happy with the updated look and it is taking everything I have to not go back and repaint all of my previous eyes.
Remember, while this was was painted with brown eyes, anime eyes can be any range of strange colors. Feel free to experiment and remember that eye doesn't have to be a normal color on these type of figures. I've painted anything from brown, green and blue to pink, yellow and purple eyes before.
Until next time!