Creating an Eye with Palette Knives with Peter Terrin

Creating an Eye with Palette Knives with Peter Terrin

Paint an Eye in 4 Steps with Artist Peter Terrin 


Peter Terrin, a professional acrylic painter, is one of Arteza's Fuel Your Creativity artists and is known for his textured paintings, for which he uses primarily palette knives and acrylic paint. Read his artist profile article here to learn more about Peter's background and inspiration. Peter often creates vivid portraits, and creating an eye is something self-taught artist Peter had to learn through experimenting. To this day, Peter always creates eyes using the same techniques. To see for yourself how to perfect an eye in 4 easy steps using Arteza's Acrylic Paint and Palette Knives, keep reading! 



List of Supplies: 

  • Canvas or creative surface
  • Palette knives
  • Acrylic paint
  • Small square paint brush 


Step 1 - Create Eye Outline

Peter starts with a palette knife and black paint to create the outline of the eye, eyelid, and eyelashes first. This is just a working outline that guides the rest of the eye, so it is unnecessary to keep this line perfect, as it can always be refined if needed. Peter has helpful tips for applying the correct pressure with palette knives to achieve the best results, which you can read here. 


Step 2 - Fill in White of Eye and Iris Outline

Next, Peter applies white paint with a palette knife in small strokes to start creating the whites of the eye. He also adds additional skin tone colors to the surrounding eye area to create shadows and depth. Once that is complete, he creates the outline of the iris by using a small square paintbrush and black paint to create a circular outline within the eye. Peter takes the time to make sure the line is crisp before moving on. 


Step 3 - Paint Iris and Fill in Pupil

Peter then grabs a small palette knife to start painting in the iris. Beginning with a darker shade of brown, he moves down the eye and lightens the shades as he goes to form a base and create texture. He then chooses green as the primary eye color and mixes Arteza's acrylic paint in the shades blue, ochre, and black to create the perfect shade of green. Peter continues the process of adding layers of color from dark to light shades, this time with the green. Once he is satisfied with the iris, Peter uses his fingertip to create the pupil with black paint, finding that doing this makes the perfect circle. 

Step 4 - Add in Finishing Touches and Refine Lines

Using a palette knife, Peter paints above the eye with black to redefine the lash line. Now that there is a bold definition to the eye, he goes in once again to the iris and adds any additional shades of green needed to really make the eye pop. For Peter, the most important step for the eye is giving it life by adding the effect of light in the eyes. To achieve this, Peter uses his fingertip and white paint to make a small dot in the center of the pupil and at the bottom point where the pupil and iris meet. Lastly, Peter goes in with a small square paintbrush and black acrylic paint to touch up any lines and add in eyelashes. 



There you have it, now you know how to paint an eye just like acclaimed artist Peter Terrin! Practice makes perfect, so give it your best shot, and share your Peter Terrin style eye paintings with us on Instagram.


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