Oh boy, I’m going to gush here. Glen Keane.
One of the most prolific Disney animators since the Disney Renaissance, his work has been my inspiration since before I even knew who he was as a person. You can easily recognize his character designs by his signature eye style. They’re so full of focus and emotion; it radiates through the rest of the character’s body language without any dialogue.
I try to apply the same emotion to my artwork. The eyes don’t have to be detailed, but just need to have that focus. I don’t usually do character portraits for this reason – I feel like their eyes would be so out of focus if they were actually sitting for one. I like to create expression while the subject is in the middle of an action, or a story, so you are able to think about before, during and after the scene, all captured through their eyes.