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The last thing I do on all my paper mache sculptures is paint the eyes. This is when the sculpture really comes to life. How I paint the eyes depends on what mood I’m in, and what I’m trying to achieve with the sculpture.
Very Simple Eyes:
|The piggy bank and flying pig both have very simple eyes. The junco and the bluebirds|
(not shown) also have very simple eyes – but even though there isn’t anything there except a dark spot and a tiny pinpoint of light, these little sculptures still seem to have personality.The one thing that I always add is that reflection of light. If the eye is really small I use the end of a pin as a brush, because it’s easier for me to control than a real brush.
|The baby whale also has very simple eyes, painted with a pin. This is a fairly large wall sculpture, but the size of the eyes needed to be quite small to indicate the total size of the huge animal the sculpture represents.|
More Realistic Eyes:
|The orangutan mask, giraffe, and dragon have more detailing around the eyes. The dragon has the most realistic eyes of all the sculptures on this site, which is ironic since it’s one of the|
two animals represented that aren’t real.The modeling of the sculptures adds considerably to the detailing on these pieces – the giraffe’s eyelashes cast a strong shadow over her eyes, for instance. The mask’s eyelid modeling makes her seem quite human. And the heavy brow ridge on the dragon, modeled after an eagle’s “eyebrow” bone, casts a strong shadow and lends realism to the piece.
|The two rabbits on the site – the lop-eared bunny and short-eared bunny, have semi-realistic eyes.The short-eared bunny’s eyes actually look more realistic in person because the modeling was done with plastic clay and the paper mache was added over the clay. This allowed me to be quite precise with the shaping of the bunny’s eyes, as well as the light-colored band (the upper and lower eyelids), around the eyes. I was in too much of a hurry when I made the lop-eared rabbit, so the eyes don’t have the roundness they really need to feel realistic.|
But, as I said in the beginning, how I paint the eyes really depends on what mood I’m in. It’s really amazing how a simple spot of color will appear to be a realistic eye, simply because we know an eye is supposed to be in that particular place on a face. But to make eyes shine, they do need that little spot of reflected light. That’s the “secret” that makes a paper mache animal sculpture come to life.