|Eyes tutorial by The Perfect Knot|
About a week or two ago I posted this picture of this little elephant for a project I was working on.
The response to his eyes & facial expression was overwhelming & I had people asking for a tutorial on how to do the eyes.
So I set out to work in trying to explain what I did. The easiest way for me to tell you is to "show you", so I have created a detailed photo tutorial for you to follow along with.
One of the easiest ways to add character to your Amigurumi, appliques or even your character type hats is to create a great expression and that generally starts with the eyes. If you can convey an emotion or expression through the eyes of your piece you will add a lot of character to your project.
So today we're going to create these whimsical looking happy eyes.
You will need to know basic embroidery skills and you will need either black & white yarn, embroidery floss or thread & a tapestry or sewing needle. I used yarn for the tutorial & a large eye tapestry needle.
Okay, let's get started!
One of the things you will want to do is to plot out on your piece where you want the placement of your eyes to go. Remember placing them too high or too low on your face will make them look awkward & not give you the intended expression you want. So what I usually do is to take a tape measure & space them evenly within the head of my piece closer to the top of the project where most people would have their eyes.
Leave space below for a nose & mouth as you will want to generally add those too.
So next you need to decide on the shape of your eyes. In this case I went with an Oval shape. I would recommend you actually practice drawing this out on a piece of paper or other fabric before you apply it to your finished project. After all you don't want to have to cut & remove stitches from your actual piece if you don't like it. ;)
|Decide on the shape of the eyes you want to help |
convey your expression
Next you are going to create sort of any imaginary line where you want your black part and your white part to stop. In most cases you want a tiny bit more black or colored part more than you would the white part, so I map my eyes so that the line for the colored iris would hit just above the center of the eye giving me more color that white.
|Map the two color parts of your eye so that you have slightly more Iris|
|Fill in the colored area at the bottom to give yourself an idea of where|
your colored part will go.
Now the next thing that you will want to do to give your eyes a little life & light to them is to decide on placement of a catch light. Real eyes reflect light so you can see where the light is coming from. If you add a small catch light to your eyes it will give them a little more life & depth & create a more realistic expression.
So the way you do this is to decide where your light source would be in your project & to place the catch lights in the same position of each eye so it looks like you have a single light source hitting the eye. Just like if you were outside & the sun hit the eyes you would get this little sparkle in your eyes.
|Choose your light source direction and choose placement|
of the Catch Lights to give added depth an expression to
You will want to make your catch lights symmetrical in both the size & placement. You do not want to put one on one side & then the other on the opposite side or your character will look cross-eyed. You also do not want to put them dead center of the eye or your eyes will look blank and like little targets. Remember real eyes are curved in shape and light will bend around the curve of the eye.
Once you have your catch lights placed the next thing you will want to do is decide on the eyebrows of your character. If his eyebrows are up at an angle slightly or curved you will have a more realistic or happy expression & if they are straight across or coming down at an angle it can look like his brow is furrowed or he is angry.
For this tutorial I went with the happy whimsical expression so I angled his eyebrows up just slightly.
|Choosing the angle of your eyebrows will determine|
if your character is happy, excited, angry or sad
Okay so now that you have the idea of how you want your character's face to look and the expression in the eyes lets put all of that into practice and apply the eyes to the face.
Staring out with the black yarn and working from the bottom of the eye up, you are going to insert the needle from the back of the piece to the front horizontally to create a small horizontal stitch for the bottom of the eye. Usually going over about 1 stitches width in single crochet is enough.
Insert your needle back into the fabric & wrap to the back of your piece.
It is important not to pull your stitches too tightly or you will distort your eye.
For your next stitch you will come back up just a tiny bit over from the first stitch & then back down just a tiny bit over on the opposite side.
You will be creating a series of graduated stitches to form the shape of the oval of the eye.
Once you get to your desired height & width of the bottom of the eye, then you will remove the needle from the black yarn (don't cut the yarn though, you will need it later) & attach your white yarn to start forming the top of your eye.
Take the needle across to the opposite side of the eye at the same width as the last black stitch & insert your needle from the front to the back & wrap the yarn back around.
You are going to be creating another series of graduated stitches with the white yarn but in reverse of what you did before. Your stitches will be getting smaller as you work up instead of bigger like they did when you were doing the black part. This will create the gradual oval shape you want for the eyes.
Once you get to your desired height on the eye you will begin making your stitches slightly shorter to create the curve of the oval shape for the eye.
At this point you are finished working with the white yarn & you can fasten it off securely by weaving in the yarn to the back of your eye.
You can now fasten off and secure your black yarn at the back of your piece by weaving in your ends.
You will want to start your second eye on the same row as you did your first eye, so line up the bottom of the first eye with your tape measure or ruler and then count over from there.
Insert the needle from back to front & repeat as before working graduated shorter stitches to larger stitches, and then the same sized stitches until you build up your Iris to be the same size as your other eye.
Fasten off the white yarn & reattach the black yarn to come back across for your dividing line stitch to even up the two parts of the eye.
Insert needle back into fabric from front to back. Again, one to two stitches is more than enough for the eyebrow's length.
Fasten off the black yarn & weave in your ends to the back of the piece.
Now to finish your expression you can add your smile or mouth of choice and you are all finished.
Work from the back to the front of the piece to create the mouth.
I gave my little character a cute little upturned smile using 2 angled long stitches and two shorter ones for the corners of the mouth.
Once you have created the expression you want, secure your yarn to the back of your piece & weave in your ends. Ta-Da! You're finished and now you have a cute little character face with lots of personality!
I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and that you will find it useful in your future projects. Thanks for stopping by The Perfect Knot Crochet and More!
Have a great day & God Bless!
The Perfect Knot