2 portraits by William Sidney Mount @ High Museum

The eyes seem to follow you. Want to know the secret ?

It’s kind of spooky when you walk past a portrait and the face watches you. It’s not just a funny scary movie gag. You can make a portrait that has that effect. In art school they told us how.

First you have to study anatomy . You have to copy the bones and muscles of the eye  from an anatomy book.  eyes are difficult. If you don’t study anatomy, the best eyes you can make will look like a cartoon compared to this master’s work.

You need a live model to sit for you. If you work from a photo, the eyes won’t show any personality. The portrait will be without soul. The picture won’t have any depth either.

But the real secret tip here is : The model must look the artist in the eyes when the artist is working on the eyes. If the artist doesn’t draw tight, it doesn’t work . If you’re 1/8th ” off on your drawing, the effect of eyes following you doesn’t work.

This is a secret art tip from the academy.

I think I can do it. I’ll try this winter when the weather gets bad.


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