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How to Paint Realistic Animal Eyes

Painting Eyes on Acrylic Hemispheres

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We’ll be getting more practice by painting another style eye using a different color palette. You’re welcome to continue using the glass cabochons from the last lesson, or if you were able to get them, acrylic hemispheres. The higher dome shape of the half spheres give your eyes even more depth and movement than the shallower glass cabochons. Either way, the brush painting techniques are the same. We’re also going to be breaking out the airbrush for even more realism and better shading.

If you don’t have an airbrush, no worries. I’ll show you techniques with your brush to achieve some great results!


  1. Introduction to Materials & Techniques
  2. Prepping and Masking Dome Eyes
  3. Painting the Pupil
  4. Shadowing the Limbus with the Airbrush
  5. Adding Subtle Patches of Color with the Airbrush
  6. Adding Striations to the Iris
  7. Filling in Transparent Areas with the Airbrush
  8. Final Layer and Sealing


If you want to follow along, here’s what you’ll need:

1″ Acrylic Half Spheres
Acrylic Paint Set
Fine Detail Brush Set
Airbrush Set (recommended but optional)
Airbrush Paints (recommended but optional)



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