A little while ago, I wrote a post about painting male faces, and another about painting female faces. Both posts featured a lot of details on the faces, and they both mentioned something interesting about the way that eyes are done.
I think that makes sense, since I've done eyes a number of different ways, and I don't see anything wrong with painting them in any given way.
But there are advantages and disadvantages to the different methods. With this Reeve of Orboros, I started out by painting the eyes over a black undercoat. I simply added spots of white, painted the pupils in the center, and cleaned up the edges in black again.
This method is very useful for two main reasons. First off, it is very forgiving to paint the eyes directly over the undercoat. If you've got too much paint on your brush, or if it slips, you haven't ruined any painting you've already done on her face.
Secondly- it tends to exaggerate the size of the eyes slightly. This mini's sculpted eyes could probably stand to be painted a little smaller (and her face altogether would look more realistic). However, the size of her eyes allows her eyes to pop at greater distances. She works a little better at tabletop level because her eyes are a little too large.
There's a good step by step post of this method over at Reaper. They have some work in progress photos that should be helpful.
Well, there's nothing wrong with doing things that way, but it certainly isn't the only way that things are done. More recently, I painted up Epic Magnus' face to be more realistic in its detail work.
As you can see, the eyes are very small. Instead of painting them first, I painted them after I had worked quite a bit on the rest of the face. I had a lot of nice shading in the eye sockets, and I simply painted the eyes over the shade layer- first dark brown, then white shape of the eyes, and then black dots for the pupils.
This is trickier to do, and is a far less forgiving process. I had to get out my smallest brush to get the pupils just right. This wasn't very forgiving at all, and any slip from the brush requires a decent amount of clean up work.As you can see, his eyes aren't as large as the Reeve's. It makes him a little more of a "pick up and examine" mini, but the face also looks a little more realistic because of this.
Again, there are advantages to painting this way. I often prefer the realistic look over the exaggerated one, but ultimately, they're both quite legitimate.
These are only two methods for painting eyes. I've seen many different methods, and most of them worked rather well for something. These two are the ones I use most often, though, and I hope I've encouraged some experimentation.