I haven’t written in a long while, so excuse the interesting nuances to this tutorial. It’s been a long while, but since I have gotten back into the hobby, I discovered the addiction of chibi models. Apparently I didn’t have enough material that I wanted, so I found chibis.
If you don’t know what chibis are, in Japanese “chibi” is a slang for “small person” or “small child”. As known in the anime world, chibis are cute characterizations of otherwise “normal” people or characters with exaggerated proportions. They have a head almost the same size as the body with huge eyes, making them look extremely cute. Some examples in the modeling world are Super Dungeon Explorer, Smog Riders, and Arcadia Quest.
So before I put any paint on the model itself (I have the Twilight Knight from Super Dungeon Explorer), I wanted to do a study on anime eyes and do some practice ones on paper so I could get the gist of how to do it. I went surfing on the interwebs for good reference material. Lately in the animes that I have been watching (go check out our anime podcast, Otaku Division!), I have noticed that eyes take on a gemlike quality. They have been 3-4 colors with dark at the top and lighter at the bottom. Example here:
First thing I started with is searching “anime eyes”. This leads to a bunch of eye shapes that you can practice making. Eyes are one of the most important features for chibis as they usually determine the expression of the model. On this note, I took some GW Undercoat Black (it doesn’t matter what black you use) and watered it down with flow improver. I like flow improver over water because in addition to thinning the paint down, it also lessens the paint’s surface tension and in effect lets the paint flow on the model easier. It makes a difference when the eye is about half a centimeter tall. Then created some eye shapes on paper.
The thing I mentioned about chibi eyes is that they are huge. So you want to make sure when you start outlining the iris, is that it fills up the majority of the area within the eye. I like the look of having the iris look like it is bigger than normal, so I use up the whole space and outline an oval that is cut off at the top and meets back at the bottom. You can do two things here; either outline with black, or outline with the darkest color that you are going to use (in this case, Vallejo Game Color Sick Green). I did both here so you could see the difference between the two.
After, depending on what angle you want the light coming from, either fill the top, top right, or top left areas with the darkest color you are going to use. Shown here is the top right area filled in leaving a oval in the middle of the iris. If you outlined with black, make sure you don’t overshoot and paint outside the black. Then you will go in and create an “L” like shape in the middle of each eye. This becomes the pupil. (If this is too annoying to do on a smaller model, you can do the iris after the next two steps.)
Now I mix in White to the Sick Green, about a 1.5 to 1 ratio to go in and make the next color of the iris. This then goes in either the whole white area or in as shown, leaving a small circle below the iris.
Then I take another mixture of White to Sick Green in about a 2.5 or 3 to 1 ratio and get almost a mint green to fill in that last bit of white left. You can also use this color to put in a highlight to the left of the iris. If this blending of colors is too annoying for you, you can take two or three colors of green of varying lightness and use that instead of the last two steps. I personally like to blend my own paints because I can get the eye colors that I want rather than what I am provided.
After this is the final highlight of white! One small circle at the edge of where the darkest and the second color meet is usually an ideal place for the highlight to go in, as well as the bottom of that highlight you put in on the side of the pupil. And……voila!~ You’re done! You can rinse and repeat with different colors using about the same ratios for the white to the darkest color you’re going to use. Have fun painting your own chibi eyes!