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Drawing Facial expressions

DRAWING FACIAL EXPRESSIONS

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The six basic facial expressions

Take a look at this identification parade. These are symbols of the six basic human facial expressions: Sadness, Joy, Anger, Fear, Disgust and Surprise.

<emoticon faces>

Expression lines

Colour adds extra feeling to the faces, but without it you can see below that each face contains only the features that most express the emotion it represents. Or rather, that I feel most express it. If you don't agree, good. That means you will reach for a bit of paper - or preferably your  tablet or phone - and start doodling yourself. In no time at all you'll be involved in a revealing and fascinating game.

If you don't think you can draw, bear in mind that there are two kinds of drawing. You only need to learn one of them. You have been able to do symbol drawing ever since you could hold a crayon.

This face-drawing game is very like a procedure that one of the earliest cartoonists, Rodolphe Topffer evolved a century and a half ago. He maintained that to draw emotions, you did not need to spend years of slavish copying from models and marble busts, as art students did in those days.

When you come to think of it, drawing a posed subject is the last thing you should do if you want to learn how to draw emotions. Even the word, e-motion, implies movement.

Still, before news photography and freeze-frame video were invented, images of people in the grip of genuine emotion were hard to come by, even if you went out in the street and sketched from life. How did artists find the expressions for those highly dramatic scenes they so often had to paint? You could act them in the mirror or sketch in the theatre, but the results could be what they were. Theatrical.

All but the most resourceful and perceptive artists relied on few and all too often inaccurate pattern books, or on imitating each other's work. The resulting emotional expressions were all too often stagey and unconvincing.

...Where was I? Ah yes. You were just about to draw a rough shape with eyes and a mouth...

More about this easy way of drawing facial expressions



Frightened face . Sad face . Angry face . Smiley face . Universal expressions . Drawing expressions . Draw a face .


(c) Valerie Beeby 2000 - 2014

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