Brown, blue, and green are colors commonly used to describe the shade of one’s eye. But in truth, eyes are more than just one of those solid shades. They are speckled or composed of a combination of color.
The same goes for hair. In books, many times hair is strictly labeled as black, brown, blonde, and even red. However, hair is composed of more than just one color. Moreover, the same shades used to describe can become boring and redundant from novel to novel.
Writers enjoy the opportunity to describe the ordinary in original and unthinkable ways. Readers, too, appreciate and notice such efforts. Listing that a family all has brown eyes can only create visualizations that last inside the reader’s mind for so long. It is a detail both minor and does not include strong writing.
In what ways can writers take advantage of descriptive language and overlooked color to effectively illustrate the appearance of one’s eye and hue of one’s hair?
Oh, what eyes you have!
In the image above, the girl appears of have blue eyes, but meticulously analyzing, there are layers of color. To accurately capture the layer and the varying glints, test out these phrases:
- Denim blue or Jean blue
Why? Denim jeans come in varying shades of blue, alluding to the inference that one’s eye features the darks and lights.
In a sentence: Her eyes were the color of a jean’s rack.
- Cool steel
Why? The majority of this eye is much lighter than the outer circle. To play off of the lighter tone, describe the eye as having a cooler, calmer stare makes the eye sound both neutral and inviting. This could possibly relate to the personality of the character. Emphasizing on the coldness of the eye could also make the character sound standoffish and impolite.
In a sentence: Her eyes were liquid chilly like steel.
In the image above, the girl has a more intense stare with an eye of harsher color. The eye is composed of a mixture of earthy greens and browns.
Why? Having one word describe the color of an eye can be quite powerful. This is because a singular word can come with connotation of color and alludes with inference and hints. The month of March is associated with green.
In a sentence: Her eyes were the month of March.
- Woodsy wonderland
Why? It is not a secret that eyes are often compared through simile and metaphor to nature. Allowing a descriptive nature scene describe the color of an eye can be effective and give the readers a fresh perspective.
In a sentence: A woodsy wonderland sprouted in her eyes, glowing in a tree top green.
Let your hair down!
In this image, the girl has hair of many shades, altering between lights and darks due to highlighting. Instead of listing the many colors, we must find ways to explain the true complexion.
- Combed in light.
Why? Pulling inspiration from her lighter strands, they can be described and compared in terms of the sun, which also gives off great light.
In a sentence: Her hair was combed with the light of the sun.
- Chopped in the tones of tan
Why? Alluding to one’s hair being more than one color, but setting the basis for the colors it is similar to can be extremely effective. The image suggests lighter shades of brown, just like tan, as well as much darker and drenched in more intense brown.
In a sentence: Her hair was chopped in tones of tan, always shifting and reflecting light.
In this image, this girl’s hair is less varying in color, but possess a more stylized hairdo. Sometimes it is not just the color that is the main focus, but rather the ways one’s hair lays and is fastened.
- Airbrushed in amber
Why? The word “airbrush” gives a more high-end and stylized connotation. While this particular color might not match amber perfectly, the alliteration is sure to appeal. To replace to fit your own character, utilize a color that begins with the letter B, continuing with the alliteration from the second part of the word.
In a sentence: Her hair was airbrushed in rich amber.
- Suspended and braided
Why? Not telling the reader the exact color of one’s hair allows them to make their own judgements and connections. Focusing solely on the stylized appearance still offers description and perspective. Whether always hanging loose or typically braided and done-up, can give insight into the character’s personality.
In a sentence: The ends of her hair twisted and curled in their own direction.