A helpful walkthrough demonstration of how to airbrush a simple yet commonly airbrushed artwork – a human eye. Contains in-depth video tutorial and exercise templates.
There is one major secret held by many airbrush professionals.
It is the reason behind an airbrush artist’s ability to create photo-realistic artworks. How do they do it?
“First learn to draw what you can see;
only then will you be able to draw that which you can not see”
If we’re not already born creative then let’s copy off someone who is, until we can learn to express our own creativity.
Let’s get started!
If you’re here to learn how to airbrush the eye the first thing you will need to do is download ‘the eye’ template & reference supplied first thing below the video tutorial.
Use the beginners pack if you have little experience, or try your hand at the advanced version – the only difference is that the beginner’s version is slightly zoomed in, meaning there are less effects, however this is a good starting point.
The template is a traced version of the reference that you have just been given.
Having the template means that you can concentrate on creating the right effects without having to worry about their placement.
Where do I begin airbrushing?
The eye tutorial is all about creating the right foundation for an artwork.
We are not adding detail at this stage.
So how do we go about creating this foundation?
We have to go hunting.
It’s time to start looking at images in a whole new way. Try to simplify the image in your head by breaking it down into smaller pieces.
You can definitely see little dots and lines, but there are also bigger shapes and forms here. Look for these within your reference and airbrush these onto your artwork.
You should begin to look for areas of the image that you are able to replicate using any of the effects or strokes that you have learnt.
There aren’t any rules here either – it can be any combination of effects and strokes, as long as the result you get looks the same as your image!
Can you spot the obvious shapes/forms in the picture below?
Try to work out the areas of the image that could most easily be copied using the airbrushing effects and strokes that we’ve learnt so far.
The easiest way to find shapes within your artwork is to take a step back, stare at the image and slightly unfocus your eyes. Imagine if you were looking through a camera lens that was slightly blurry.
This gets rid of the complicated detail and will show you what basic shapes you need to create the foundation of your image.
- Look at the pupil – this is two lines blending inwards & backfilled.
- The area above the pupil – again, create two blending lines, one from the top, one from bottom. backfill.
- The iris can be made using lines, blending lines, or dagger strokes.
- The shadow on the bottom eyelid is done using blending dots.
How can I possibly know what effect to use where?
This is not something that comes overnight. It evolves over time as you practise airbrushing artwork after artwork.
Look for the parts of the image that you can most easily replicate using any of the five effects/strokes that we’ve learnt already. This may be one single airbrush effect or a combination of a stroke & effect.
Start in the darkest part of the image, and begin to blend your effects out from this.
The troubleshooting guide below demonstrates that there are only three ways that you can go wrong in airbrushing.
It is common for beginners to be making 2 out
Troubleshooting your airbrushing
If you aren’t happy with the result that you’re getting – you can troubleshoot your artwork by choosing individual shapes at a time and asking yourself the following questions:
- Am I airbrushing the right effect in the right place?
- Is my effect airbrushed at the right height to match what I see in the image?
- Is my effect too dark/light for the shape that I am creating?