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PlushPuppy Posts: 107

How do you get eyes to look realistic and appealing? Like when I see other plush animals, even the factory production line ones, they eyes look real and have 'character' . But even though I buy the really expensive glass eyes, I can't seem to get this look. The eyes I've used are ones on a wire loop that you inset/sew into the head. Can you get some that just glue on? Is this where I'm going wrong?

Francesca KALEideaSCOPE
Rheinfelden
Posts: 1,306
Website

I don't think it is the kind of eyes that is wrong. The wired eyes are what is generally used. The 'realistic' look, or the appealing look (it can still be appealing, even if not realistic....) come from what you do around the eyes. You can give your critter eyelids in many different ways for example. There are techniques you could try, with leather eyelids, needle felting around the eyes and such. Another way is using colour to shade around the eye area to give it depth. It really all depends on the look you want to achieve, but the eye alone with no shading or maybe eye white, can sure look unnatural and kind of 'dead'.

I personally use needle felting to give 'flesh' and shape to the eye area. After needle felting I use acrylics and oils to paint-shade. That is what works for me! bear_original

PlushPuppy Posts: 107

Thanks for your reply bear_original . How do you needle felt something? And no I haven't got any eye white showing, as I'm not sure how to achieve it, would a circle of white felt behind the eye work? As for shading I'm still working on that, if you use those marker pens do you just leave them dry on their own, or use a hairdryer or something?

Francesca KALEideaSCOPE
Rheinfelden
Posts: 1,306
Website

If you have time for a good, long and interesting read, I would suggest you to look into our library (on the bar at the top). There are all sorts of topics: about eyes, eye whites, shading, needle felting and so on. It is huge, and full of interesting tips and suggestions about almost anything you might want to know...and more! bear_original  I spent the first months after discovering Teddy Talk some years ago, just reading what had been written....and learning! bear_original  bear_original

Some of us also keep blogs and make interesting tutorials (I have made some tutorials as well on my blog). You might also check this:
http://bestbearartistblogs.gotop100.com/
It is basically a list with links to all sorts of wonderful bear artists blogs!
Have fun!

dangerbears Dangerbears
Wisconsin
Posts: 5,990
Website

There are many possible ways to get an appealing look to the eyes, including careful placement, artistic shading, needle-sculpting "eye sockets," adding eye whites or eyelids, and probably other techniques I'm not thinking of.

Perhaps you could post a few pictures of the sort of look that appeals to you? And pictures of the results you're getting yourself that you're not wild about? That would help us to focus our suggestions.

Becky

edmondnutmeg Padfield bears
Derbyshire
Posts: 1,343
Website

Every one has given you wonderful advice and the TT library is my fist port of call for info but like Francesca mentioned you do tend go off at a tangent and end up looking at other techniques that you didn't even know you wanted to try till you find out about them bear_grin
Btw your last dog looked pretty good to me.
Your right though getting the eyes right can make or break a plushy Good luck let us know how it goes
michelle

PlushPuppy Posts: 107

Realistic doggy eyes are what I'm after. I did as an experiment cut some white kitchen towel up and scrunched some tiny pieces behind the eyes of the two dogs I've already made, and wow it really makes a difference! Though I'm having trouble working out where exactly where should be white, it has shown quite obviously that the white part is needed, so I've ordered some white felt and a few pairs of different eyes from mohairbearsupplies to try out in my custom dog, see which look best. I've also read through some of the eyes section of the library, there's loads there including methods I've never even heard of before and some I haven't a clue with (like needle felting), but I think I'll try and master a basic white section first before trying any of the more complex ideas!

Francesca KALEideaSCOPE
Rheinfelden
Posts: 1,306
Website

Needle felting is also a useful technique, not so difficult even for a beginner. When I started with it, I just did some needle felting around the eye area, and then painted an eye rim that included the white area.
My inspiration to try the needle felting on a stuffed head came from this wonderful tutorial made by Joanne Livingstone. You could say that I started what I do now thanks to this illuminating piece of her kindness!
http://desertmountainbear.blogspot.ch/s … 20a%20face

Erin Seals Stonesthrow Critters
Magnolia, AR
Posts: 31

Hi Plush Puppy!

I want to tell you that your Newbie conversation really helped me take the plunge to get into designing on my own!

I have obviously only been doing this a few months, but I have done a few iterations of the same, or a similar pattern.

1414681491_76516202-d03d-4596-8588-6974bc3987ad.jpg
The first couple of pictures are just felt, no fur. But you can see how drastic the change is when a couple pieces of fabric are just folded over. The eyelids aren't even attached. Then I moved on to a more plush, incredibly cheap fabric, still very short fur. I added shading because I wanted more depth to the eye.

I also tried to make the coloring more realistic, using darker browns and flatter golds, but they made the eyes look flat and lifeless. Until I get some more precise tools for painting, I'll stick with shine and glitter!

PlushPuppy Posts: 107
Erin Seals wrote:

Hi Plush Puppy!

I want to tell you that your Newbie conversation really helped me take the plunge to get into designing on my own!

I have obviously only been doing this a few months, but I have done a few iterations of the same, or a similar pattern.

http://www.teddy-talk.com/img/members/5 … 3987ad.jpg
The first couple of pictures are just felt, no fur. But you can see how drastic the change is when a couple pieces of fabric are just folded over. The eyelids aren't even attached. Then I moved on to a more plush, incredibly cheap fabric, still very short fur. I added shading because I wanted more depth to the eye.

I also tried to make the coloring more realistic, using darker browns and flatter golds, but they made the eyes look flat and lifeless. Until I get some more precise tools for painting, I'll stick with shine and glitter!

WOW!! I'm really glad you did take the plunge because your critters are awesome!! The difference just folding that fabric over is astonishing, I'm going to experiment with they eyes I've ordered on some offcuts of fabric when I get them, and I'll definitely try folding it like that! If you cut a slit into the fabric where the eye is going to sit, how do you stop it sinking into the stuffing behind though?  And I love your shading, did you just color it on with markers, or paint it?

Erin Seals Stonesthrow Critters
Magnolia, AR
Posts: 31

haha I am so glad you like him! That's exactly how I stumble my way through these projects, I take bits I already have, or find an idea here, and try it with the basics that I've already got. The folded fabric in that second picture was from scraps I had left over from patterning. But they were sitting there... Now they are my pattern pieces! And I use nail polish for my eye paint. 

So... the way I start is I have my solid head pattern pieces. I sew them all together so that all I have left open is the bottom where the neck goes. Then I cut just a tiny slit for each eye, I use glass eyes with the loop wire, so I only cut enough so that the wire can be pushed through... maybe 1/4 inch? sometimes I take a pair of needlenose pliers and squeeze the loop together.  I think the eyes look more realistic when they sink down into the head, after all, they have sockets in real life... but the slit is small so the eye doesn't sink far enough for it to look socketed. That's why I started putting eyelids on. When I sew the eyelid on... I just sew it directly to the head (you'd probably want to trim some of that long pom fur!) but it makes the eye pull into the head more. Still it is backed by fabric so the eye doesn't fall into the stuffing.

It is super easy when there isn't any fur to get in the way, but now, working with a pretty low, dense pile, I just trim before I cut the slits.

Placement also makes a difference! I put my last eyes too close to the nose and I had to stitch up the slit and cut a new one! luckily, I put these lids on so it won't be a problem!

Erin Seals Stonesthrow Critters
Magnolia, AR
Posts: 31

The shading here is done with permanent marker. Its all I had!

I plan on getting some airbrush if I get a chance to do a patterned cat!

PlushPuppy Posts: 107
dangerbears wrote:

There are many possible ways to get an appealing look to the eyes, including careful placement, artistic shading, needle-sculpting "eye sockets," adding eye whites or eyelids, and probably other techniques I'm not thinking of.

Perhaps you could post a few pictures of the sort of look that appeals to you? And pictures of the results you're getting yourself that you're not wild about? That would help us to focus our suggestions.

Becky

This is the sort of look I'm trying to get:

http://www3.telus.net/pococritters/arch … my0085.JPG

They look like plain black eyes, but when I put plain black eyes on one of my dogs, they don't look right bear_sad . The site I got that from, I read that the artist used ultrasuede to make eyelids? And white felt behind the eye, but again, mine just looked cartoony instead of realistic when I tried putting felt. I bought a whole bunch of different eyes, none of them look like the ones on the dog in the link. Help! bear_sad

dangerbears Dangerbears
Wisconsin
Posts: 5,990
Website

Those are beautiful eyes. The double eyelids are very well done, and the shading is extensive. I suspect this artist also needle-sculpted some nice eye sockets for those eyes, so several techniques are in play. You could also look into using taxidermy eyes. They are more realistic than regular glass, but they have just a flat back with no wire, so they need to be fixed in place in other ways. If you want to start with just eyelids, many artists use leather jewelry cord for that. That could give you a lot of realism as you work your way up to trying everything else. bear_happy

Becky

PlushPuppy Posts: 107
dangerbears wrote:

Those are beautiful eyes. The double eyelids are very well done, and the shading is extensive. I suspect this artist also needle-sculpted some nice eye sockets for those eyes, so several techniques are in play. You could also look into using taxidermy eyes. They are more realistic than regular glass, but they have just a flat back with no wire, so they need to be fixed in place in other ways. If you want to start with just eyelids, many artists use leather jewelry cord for that. That could give you a lot of realism as you work your way up to trying everything else. bear_happy

Becky

I will get some leather jewellry cord then and give it a go. How do I fix it in place? And if I try taxidermy eyes, will fabric glue fix them on?

dangerbears Dangerbears
Wisconsin
Posts: 5,990
Website
PlushPuppy wrote:

I will get some leather jewellry cord then and give it a go. How do I fix it in place? And if I try taxidermy eyes, will fabric glue fix them on?

I would use a large needle to pull the cord through the back or bottom of the head--just as you would do when attaching eyes that have wire loops. In terms of taxidermy eyes, I've never used them. Have you done a search for discussions here? (If it were my animal, though, I don't think I'd trust glue alone to hold them in place.)

Becky

PlushPuppy Posts: 107
dangerbears wrote:
PlushPuppy wrote:

I will get some leather jewellry cord then and give it a go. How do I fix it in place? And if I try taxidermy eyes, will fabric glue fix them on?

I would use a large needle to pull the cord through the back or bottom of the head--just as you would do when attaching eyes that have wire loops. In terms of taxidermy eyes, I've never used them. Have you done a search for discussions here? (If it were my animal, though, I don't think I'd trust glue alone to hold them in place.)

Becky

Sorry, If I've misunderstood, but do you mean to actually sew the cord in? As I haven't got a needle with a hole big enough to thread it, and if I try to actually sew it I'd imagine it will look awful. If I make a hole and pull it through by hand, how do I secure it? My brother has very helpfully told me not to glue anything to glass as nothing will stick to it for long.

As an experiment earlier, I removed the eyes I had put in my custom dog and placed a set of plain black glass eyes instead and they instantly look much better. I borrowed a black leather necklace cord and wrapped it into a loop around the eye and WOW the alteration is immense, it actually looks like a proper eye instead of a plushie (this dog is meant to be a lifelike replica for someone so I have to get the eyes to look right, as I think eyes are one of the main things that 'sells' a doll/bear/animal to someone). The black eyes I'm using aren't taxidermy ones, they've got a tiny wire loop on the back, however, as the eyes I put in before were safety eyes with a bigger back peg than these loops are, there's a hole right where they need to go, so I'm not sure how to sew them in securely now? bear_ermm

I'm thinking of using a dab of tippex on a cocktail stick to put tiny white lines on the side of the cord (don't think it will stick on the glass) to give the impression of eye whites, but is there anything better/more effective? I'm thinking of tippex as I know it sticks to fabric from my school days, when there was a mad craze to color bags/cloth pencil cases/clothes/shoes in the stuff!! bear_wacko

dangerbears Dangerbears
Wisconsin
Posts: 5,990
Website

I've done it. It did not look awful. But maybe it depends on the diameter of the cording. You'll find a good discussion with lots of options here: http://www.teddy-talk.com/viewtopic.php?id=36697

Becky

rikkisbears NSW Australia
Posts: 209

This is the sort of look I'm trying to get:

http://www3.telus.net/pococritters/arch … my0085.JPG



Wow, what a lovely photo. Sorry can't really help, but if you luv puppies have you ever come across Tammy's site, her dogs are ADORABLE .
http://www.myfureverfriend.com/index.html


I was incredibly lucky to pick up a pre loved  yorkie on eBay a while back,  she is adorable.

PlushPuppy Posts: 107

Those dogs are awesome, I honestly have trouble telling if their real or not! I did originally contact that artist asking for a custome made Pom, but sadly the cost was out of my price range bear_sad .

Having read that eyelids thread, I'd like to try it out, I don't really want to use just glue as I'd worry about it coming apart after I've sold the dog! But I'm not sure how to work it, my dog hasn't got an open neck, the head and body is all one piece so sewing the cord into the neck would be almost impossible. I'm thinking of making a tiny hole either side of the eye, threading each end of a short piece of cord through then glueing it onto the fabric around the eye, as close as possible, with fabric glue, but again I'm not sure if it would work or not.

Has anybody used Hemline fabric glue? (a pink tube in a little pink and white box, looks like something you'd get at the pharmacy!!) if so, is it any good Nd does it dry clear?

desertmountainbear desertmountainbear
Bloomsburg, PA
Posts: 5,399
Website

1416505482_tamaqua_005.jpg

I use Ultrasuede light. I fold the edge. There is a thin wire sandwiched right at the edge. The wire is long on either side, long enough for me to use my jewelry pliers to make a loop on either end. I use and awl to make a small hole on either side of the eye. I make a half hitch knot on the wire with my thread and draw the loop down into the bears head, pulling some of the Ultrasuede with it.

These are open/sleepy eyes so what I do next does not really apply to you. The wire should be enough for you to mold the eyelid how you want it, and the stitches will hold it tight. On the bottom lid of this bear I have a thin line of Beacon's Fabri-Tac. It is good strong glue, flexible, washable and meant for fabric. It does adhere to the glass.

rikkisbears NSW Australia
Posts: 209

Hi Joanne
Stunning bears.
Thank you so much for the tip on the eyes. I tried cord a while back on one of my larger rabbits, (mainly do mini's) didn't really know what I was doing , so nearly ruined him. Teds etc , have do much more detail  it's hard to catch up after all these years with what's new. What you just described may work for me too. Yeh.

Thank you so much.

rikkisbears NSW Australia
Posts: 209
PlushPuppy wrote:

Those dogs are awesome, I honestly have trouble telling if their real or not! I did originally contact that artist asking for a custome made Pom, but sadly the cost was out of my price range bear_sad .

Hi Plush Puppy,
Know what you mean, still luv to look though, well beyond my means too.
That's why I thought all my xmas' s had come at once when I spotted the pre luved yorkie on eBay. Went at a fraction of the cost of a new one. Couldn't believe the seller let her go for the price. She's one of my prized treasure's haha


So glad you brought up this topic, I've just gotten some very helpful information too.

PlushPuppy Posts: 107
desertmountainbear wrote:

http://www.teddy-talk.com/img/members/1 … ua_005.jpg

I use Ultrasuede light. I fold the edge. There is a thin wire sandwiched right at the edge. The wire is long on either side, long enough for me to use my jewelry pliers to make a loop on either end. I use and awl to make a small hole on either side of the eye. I make a half hitch knot on the wire with my thread and draw the loop down into the bears head, pulling some of the Ultrasuede with it.

These are open/sleepy eyes so what I do next does not really apply to you. The wire should be enough for you to mold the eyelid how you want it, and the stitches will hold it tight. On the bottom lid of this bear I have a thin line of Beacon's Fabri-Tac. It is good strong glue, flexible, washable and meant for fabric. It does adhere to the glass.

Wow you eyes are amazing!! So real looking! how do you do the whites? I love the idea of using wire! Am I right in thinking if you make a loop on either end, you can then sew/tie it in like an eye loop? I'm wondering if there's any way to poke a length of wire through the leather cord somehow to do this?

Rikkisbears - you are so lucky to have gotten hold of one of those dogs! I look every so often and there's never anything there, and the one time I did find one it went for almost the same as it would new anyway!

rikkisbears NSW Australia
Posts: 209

Hi plush puppy,
Mine was actually a resale on eBay from a collector.

I had a good look at my little girls eyes. She doesn't have lids or cording, looks more like she has needle felted the actual mohair  round the rim of the eys, then shaded it , I'm guessing with paint. Looks good. My little girl looks a lot like the medium short haired yorkie on her current website, not the long haired one.


Meanwhile I've picked up some wire, my rabbits may get an Eye Lift haha

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