How to paint eyes

by Janice Williford


Paints: coral pink, ivory white, burnt umber, raw sienna, Kims gold, black, irridescent blue
Brushes: medium brush to paint entire eye; smaller brush to paint iris, pinks/whites; very fine tipped brush
Glossy clear nail polish

I usually do one eye, then the other with each step, and it dries in between enough to keep moving.

I start by painting my eyes completely black.

Then I paint any eye whites and pinking next, if any is necessary; not all horses have eye white showing unless they are looking in a specific direction. I use a Coral Pink and my Ivory White for that. I may have to paint the black again if I mess up a bit!

Then, I mix Burnt Umber and a tiny bit of Raw Sienna with a teeny tiny mix of Kims Gold. I paint in the iris, leaving a thin black ring around the outside of the iris. If this is a traditional scale horse, I will actually blend in a little black to a portion of this mix, and graduate (blend) the iris color into the black ring with that.

After that dries, I do the pupil. Remember, horses have weird pupils...they are NOT round but horizontal - sort of like thin rectangles. If I don't mess up the pupil (my hand shakes so I sometimes blob it...doh!!), I then just paint over it with the iris color again.

After the pupil is in, I take a very fine tipped brush and paint a really thin crescent around the outer bottom corner of the pupil, leaving some of the iris on both sides of the crescent IN GOLD. On Traditionals, I may blend more gold with the iris color...and lay that on a little heavy in that crescent. This adds a lot of depth to the eyes.

Then, last step, is using a Iridescent Blue that I got in the shirt paint section at Walmart. I take a teeny tiny dot on my super fine brush, and put a small little dot or rectangle INSIDE the pupil...leaving black all the way around it.

After all is dried, and I have sprayed my horse with finish spray (finish spray seems to dissolve nail polish for some reason), I gloss the eyes with nail polish. On Stablemates and smaller, I use one of my old paint brushes that I have snipped with fingernail clippers to size instead of the nail polish brush, cleaning it off with a paper towel as soon as I am done and in between eyes. That keeps me from slobbing the nail polish all over OUTSIDE the eyeball!!!

Hope this helps.

Back up to Library
Return to the Model Horse Galleries Home Page

This page is maintained by the Model Horse Gallery Curator. ©1996-2016