Drawing accurate facial expressions that viewers can relate to can
seem tricky, but by understanding the emotions behind each facial
expression and how each emotion changes your facial muscles. We'll talk
about the four basic human emotions and I'll show you how to look for
points of tension on your face so you can get familiar with the specific
facial movements of each unique human emotion.
I'll also teach you about facial expression model sheets and walk you through making your own, so you can explore all kinds of facial expressions to get a better understanding of your character's individual emotional range.
There is some debate whether or not there are 4, 5 or 6 basic emotions that all other emotions are based off of. The most recent studies suggest that this number is actually four, so in this section we will discuss these four basic emotions and I will describe in detail what their corresponding facial expressions look like. I will also explain what a 'point of tension' is and how to identify them in relation to each expression.
Being able to look at a wide range faces and accurately assess a person's emotional state based on their facial movements is absolutely critical when it comes to drawing facial expressions. This section is one of the most vital, since I will teach you the importance of paying special attention to slight and subtle facial movements since not all smiles (or frowns for that matter) convey the same emotions or messages. Learning to be more observant is not only important when it comes to drawing better facial expressions, but also when it comes to making better art in general.
Sometimes positioning the head in a particular way can add impact to a facial expression. In this brief video, I'll give examples of how you can use clever head positioning to your advantage to add emphasis to your facial expressions.
Character expression sheets (aka model sheets, character studies, facial expression sheet, character boards, etc.) are explorations of a character's facial movements and emotional range. In this section, we will talk about why character expression sheets are important and how they are utilized in animation, comics and illustration (basically any field that requires drawing the same character over and over). I'll also show you some examples of my personal favorite character sheets.
Now that we know what a character expression sheet is, I'm going to show you how to set up and execute your own. This video features a screen capture video of the making of a character expression, broken down step-by-step. In this video, I'll be using Photoshop but keep in mind that the basic principles that I cover can be applied to any other drawing software of your choice or even using paper, pencil and ink if that is your preference. Feel free to use whatever tools you're most comfortable with - especially if you're just starting out.
Thank you so much for joining me on this class on facial expressions and understanding the emotions that create them! I hope this class was beneficial for you and please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions - I'm here to help! Good luck and have fun drawing a wide range of faces and emotional expressions!
Hi, my name is Michelle and I'm an illustrator and cartoonist based in sunny Florida. I hold a BA in Graphic Design and in recent years I've been using my design training and work experience and been applying those skills to visual storytelling and fostering creativity.
I love working with other creatives and look forward to growing together.