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Repair & Tweak a Damaged Eye

Text and Photos by Jennifer Danza

So your little brother or sister, without your knowledge, took a hold of your favorite OF model, played hard with it and returned it scratched and missing part of an eye. After the initial horror you realize that the surface scratches will be fairly easy to cover up with a bit of paint, but that damaged eye is another story. Where do you start? How do you deal with this dilemma? 

A beaten and Damaged OF
A beaten and damaged OF

 

Rebuilding an area like an eye can be handled with Liquitex Modeling Paste. This product is great for covering pinholes, sealing gauges and repairing minor scrapes because it smoothes on easily, adheres to plastic well, and dries strongly.

Repair The Eye:

First, take a bit of paste and dab it onto the damaged eye.

Add paste.
Add paste.

Create eyeball and lid.

Create eyeball and lid.

 

Take a damp brush and smooth the paste all around the eyeball.

 

Smooth out with a wet brush.

Smooth out with a wet brush.

 

Make a new eyelid by pressing into the paste. After you are satisfied with the way the eye and lid look, let it dry fully for about 24 hours.

Once dry the eye can be sanded down lightly with 500-grit sandpaper. Sand gently though and just remove any irregularities or bumpiness that was caused when you were sculpting.

Paint The Eye:

At some point in this repair you may decide that your horse may need a bit of a tweak. You could paint his eye black and call it a day, but since the horse has been taken from "mint" status to "needing repair STAT" making minor custom adjustments, like repainting the eye as realistically as you can, will give your horse some pop without going overboard on a full customization.

Before beginning the painting process cover the entire eye area with sandable gesso and let dry.

Sand and spot gesso area.

Sand and spot gesso area.

 

Three coats should suffice. After the gesso has dried begin to paint the eye by drawing out the underside of the lids. 

Paint black around the eye.
Paint black around the eye.

 

After which you can add a bit of red/brown mixture for the very corner of the eye. I like to paint a bit of this reddish/brown color around the entire eye for a more realistic effect.

Paint the corner of the eye.
Paint the corner of the eye.

 

Next, add some white half moons near the corner of the eye.

 

Add the sclera using pure white.

Add the sclera using pure white.

 

This area will represent the sclera. Let all of these beginning steps dry fully before starting on the outer circle of the iris. This outer circle is a mixture of cerulean blue and burnt sienna with just a touch of black. Draw an open circle right in the center of the eye.

Paint an open circle.
Paint an open circle.

 

Next, fill in the open circle (or iris) with some dark blue. 

Fill in circle with dark blue acrylic.
Fill in circle with dark blue acrylic.

 

On your palette mix a touch of white into your dark blue paint color. This slightly lighter blue color is then added in small circular streaks inside the iris. 

Paint light blue circular streaks..
Paint light blue circular streaks

 

Then make the light blue color on the palette even lighter by adding more white. Paint a few more streaks to the iris. 

Add a few more light blue streaks.
Add a few more light blue streaks.

 

It is at these steps you'll need good reference of a blue eye. I always suggest using real horses for reference, but when you can't find a blue eye in real life you can find them on the web or in most photography books.

Let all the blue work dry and then add black in the center. This will serve as the pupil.

Paint pupil.
Paint Pupil

 

Around The Eye:

Once the eyeball is complete it's time to repaint the hair around the eye. For this task I like to use water-soluble oils instead of acrylics because they blend in beautifully with the original factory colors Breyer uses to paint their horses and the oils don't dry as fast as the acrylics. The trick to using water-soluble oils is to go slowly. Add a transparent layer of burnt sienna around the eye and let it dry.

 

Slowly build up the color around the eye.
Slowly build up the color around the eye.

 

After it has dried add more color until the area around the eye is fully blended in with the surrounding facial hair.

Use more oils and dry brush to blend into rest of horse.
Use more oils and dry brush to blend into rest of horse.

 

Gloss your new eye with Liquitex Gloss Medium and then place your beauty on a higher shelf so no one can take him on dangerous adventures again. Happy customizing!

The piece finished and looking snazzy with a new blue eye.
The piece finished and looking snazzy with a new blue eye.


HOT TIP: You can use a hair dryer to speed the drying process of acrylics, water based oils or gesso.

 

Supplies:

Liqutex Modeling Paste
Brushes
Mars Black Acrylic paint
Burnt Sienna Acrylic Paint
Cerulean Blue Acrylic Paint
Red Acrylic Paint
Titanium White Acrylic Paint
White Sandable Gesso
Water soluble oil paints
Liquitex Gloss Medium
Hair dryer

To learn more about Jennifer Danza and her artwork, please visit www.jenndanza.com!

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