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I hate eyes on miniatures. There...I got it off my chest.


I'm not bad at painting eyes. Some of the FAQ's on these boards are top-notch concerning the subject. And when I see what the pro's can do, the first thing I think is "Wow, what talent. Those are amazing peepers." Which is usually followed by "And I don't like them."


Maybe it's because they look too cartoony. Maybe it's the scale. Maybe it's the flat or amorphous features around the face, or the size limitations, or maybe (most probably) my brain is broken. But I seem to gravitate toward implied eyes with shading, glasses, goggles, and low eye-hiding helmets.


Don't get me wrong-- some mini's I've seen absolutely look better with eyes. But for your standard soldier or wizard, they look goofy to me. This is probably just me.


Anyway, thought I'd bring it up and see if anyone feels the same, and if they approach mini-painting differenly because of it.

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Now, see, if I tried to paint eyebrows on Trista I'd make her look like Bert.

I'm really picky about painting eyes and I'm only just getting to the point where I like the ones I paint.   But no, I love a well-painted eye and feel they are possibly the single most important p

Even back in Zer Old Days I can recall most of the minis I had (Ral Parthas, mostly) had exaggeratedly large eyes to be seen, I guess.  I didn't have too many male figures to compare, but I have notic

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I'm really picky about painting eyes and I'm only just getting to the point where I like the ones I paint.


But no, I love a well-painted eye and feel they are possibly the single most important part of a sculpt and paint job.


I submit Schubert's Trista as a favorite of mine:



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Most painters, IME, paint eyes with far too much sclera (white) showing. And they also use too bright a white for the sclera. Fix those and you'll likely be less worried.


That said, to specifically answer your question:


I paint eyes on 15mm army figures.



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Pretty much x2 on all that, except I can't paint them myself at all. So I may just be jelly, lol. I can't see the mini well enough, I guess, even with magnification; I don't understand how folks do them, really.


Though they often look great when done by talented painters, they often look a little too big for the face, like. Even when done well. What Cash just posted ^ is the sort where I think they look perfect, though, and don't have that problem. And what Doug just posted ^ about showing too much white of the eyes probably explains why I have the reaction about the too-bigness of eyes.

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There are some figures that it is worth it to paint them no matter what you are using them for, but often for tabletop paint jobs it's just gilding the lily. Also, eyes often get painted far to large which gives an anime effect that I find undesirable.

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Its kind of funny, we were talking to Gene this past Saturday about painting and sculpting eyes. He mentioned that people use to complain that eyes were to small i.e. Garrity eyes. So they started sculpting bigger eyes to make them easier to paint. Now folks are complaining about big eyes! :-)

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The problem I have with Garrity's eyes (I mean the ones she sculpts, her eyes are beautiful!) is that the sclera is recessed. I don't know how, short of stuffing it full of putty, to make it look good painted.

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Even back in Zer Old Days I can recall most of the minis I had (Ral Parthas, mostly) had exaggeratedly large eyes to be seen, I guess.  I didn't have too many male figures to compare, but I have noticed these days how it seems that female figures' eyes on average are larger than male figures' eyes.


Then there are places like Hasslefree, whose sculptor makes all his eyes realistically sized.


Jen painted this Hasslefree mini with little, tiny, realistically-proportioned eyes.




I don't know how she managed it, but they look great.

Edited by Pingo
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I'll tell you how people manage great eyes; practice, practice, practice, and more practice. I bet if you looked at DKS' or Jen's early eyes they weren't nearly as good as they are today. We just need to keep at it, and keep trying to improve with every figure, before you know it you'll be doing eyes like DKS or Jen.

Edited by ub3r_n3rd
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Schubert has some of his old minis that he hands out in class so you can see where he started. Or you can look at Marike's early stuff on cmon (browse gallery and search for mrika, order by date).


Lots of practice, I've been painting almost two years now and I'm just getting what I consider acceptable eyes (barely!). But to be more precise, it's a studied practice. If you paint eyes badly a thousand times without trying to learn why you're painting them badly, research how to improve and then put that study into disciplined practice? You'll just be really good at painting bad eyes.

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Eyes are hard, but I consider them to be one of the most important parts of a miniature.  I'll gladly spend the time needed to get eyes looking acceptable (for table top) or good (for high tabletop).  I like larger-than-average sized eyes, especially on "heroic" scale miniatures.  Everything else is already out of proportion in the name of looking good, so I want the eyes to be that way as well.  Realistically sized eyes are easier to get to a tabletop standard though, because a black dot doesn't look out of place.

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I've thought about making a study piece for eyes. A 2" flat square filled with as many eyes as I could squeeze onto it. But I'd either have to steal a cast from a bunch of figures, or sculpt my own which I'm worse at than painting eyes.


I've got one figure that I own the rights to, but figure a variety would be better. And I suppose I could do it for my own personal use with no (or few) copyright issues with my mountain of metal, as it would be a rather simple mold and resin cast. But figure the pressure would be high to "hey, make me a copy, just one" which is a road I don't want to go down.

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