I frequently use simple black-dot eyes on figures because they’re easy and fast. However, when more emotions and expressions are required, googly eyes are better.
By “googly eyes” I don’t mean the rattling craft kind (which I also love but would not put on edible figures unless I had time to track down some capsules to make Evil Mad Scientist’s Edible Eyes), but rather three-dimensional white blobs with smaller black/coloured blobs on top.
Here are some partially completed monkeys I made this afternoon for Capital Confectioners’ Day of Sharing. Note how different their expressions are in the eyes alone. Of course the other head features help, but pay particular attention to how the size and placement of the irises does so much to illustrate different moods:
Here’s a quick diagram I whipped up to further illustrate how iris size and position affects mood. Note that you can always alter the context/setting for a given character to influence variations as well, or even make adjustments in eyebrow placement/orientation.
The googly style also allows for optional lids that can evoke emotion simply by adjusting the angle of a partial-circle placed over the top portion of the eye:
Here are two penguins I made for last year’s Day of Sharing that use lid placement to evoke particular emotions:
Those are just a few of the variations available from googly eyes that don’t come across nearly so well with dot eyes. Use dot eyes when simple smiling or neutral faces will suffice, but make more complicated eyes when your figures need to express more emotion.
PS If I get a chance I’ll post more figure advice as I work. I take short breaks now and then to Tweet about the monkeys with the hashtag #ammakingfondantmonkeys for those who’d like to follow along!