Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Drawing Facial Expressions
Kohdok at 3:30PM, June 17, 2007
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I'd been thinking of doing a tutorial on how to draw various expressions for a while, as that is the feature of my art that tends to get the greatest response from people and has since junior high. However, human expressions are so diverse that doing a tutorial on them would take a long time. Scott Mc.Cloud's book has some good examples of drawing expressions, but sometimes it takes a little more.

I've decided to do it on a case-by-case basis. If anyone wants advice on how to improve their expressions, just post and I'll get back to you. If you want to post an example of how you tried to do the expression, feel free to do so as well.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:19PM
cetriya at 4:07PM, June 17, 2007
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well what I usuaely do, I focus on key points of the face, such as the eyebrows, eyes, cheeks and the mouth. I have a small mirror in front of me to make those experssions and then I practice a bit on drawing the face.

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:39AM
suzi at 5:33PM, June 17, 2007
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I've had a lot of compliments on my use of facial expressions, too. Personally, I think the best thing to do is just draw tons and tons and tons of faces until they seem to reflect what you're trying to convey.

Also, heh, from my experience it's almost always easier to show expressions more easily through simplified features. For example, my characters don't have noses, ears, jaw structure, teeth, tongues, pupils, and often not even eyebrows, leaving only little circles and a line to display every emotion. And somehow it works. Really well.

Personal hero: Stephen Heintz
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:05PM
Hijuda at 6:32PM, June 17, 2007
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I've had some compliments on my facial expressions- but only from close friends. Despite these questionable qualifications, I've learned that when it comes to expressions, the smallest of subtleties in the lineart can convey a different emotion. That's why I always spend a lot of time tweaking eyes and mouths trying to get them just right.
It's a comic!

LOLOL LAMFAO
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:48PM
Sea_Cow at 8:19PM, June 17, 2007
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I pride myself in the frightening psychotic grin. I can add menacing shadows just under the eyes. That may be the only expression I'm very good at, but I'm VERY good at it.
I am so happy to finally be back home
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:24PM
Eunice P at 10:21AM, June 18, 2007
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Some people says every page of my martian comics have different expressions. I guess that makes me an expressionism artist? I learnt all my expressions from reading humor mangas.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:23PM
SnigePippi at 3:04PM, June 18, 2007
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Practice whenever you can.
I always practice faces and expressions on my notepaper during lectures.

And a good idea is to try making expressions with very few lines or as small as you can.
Make series of faces on less than 1cm
I don't have the time for fancy banners right now but my baby comic is about norse mythology so imagine Thor and Loki in an thuderstom and then clic on my comic
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:49PM
Kristen Gudsnuk at 5:01AM, June 20, 2007
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hmm… I think I'm not too good at facial expressions, I could use a little critiquing there!!! (tactful crit, though… I'm a sensitive soul, though I seem thick-skinned.)
usually if I really can't get an expression right, I'll use a reference.

(let's see if anyone can find the lion king quote….^_^)
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:22PM
subcultured at 9:19AM, June 20, 2007
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search for steve dillon works…especially his preacher run with ennis. that's when i started to learn more about facial expression.


also Kevin Maguire on jla




J
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:02PM
Kohdok at 9:49PM, June 20, 2007
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Kristen Gudsnuk
hmm… I think I'm not too good at facial expressions, I could use a little critiquing there!!! (tactful crit, though… I'm a sensitive soul, though I seem thick-skinned.)
usually if I really can't get an expression right, I'll use a reference.

(let's see if anyone can find the lion king quote….^_^)

Well, I took a look at some of your more recent pages and they look fine to me, but is there an expression that you have trouble conveying? If you can name one, I'll analyze it and dissect it for you. That's what this thread is for.

Heck, somebody name an expression they just feel they can't draw right and I'll do it for them! You can even make it really complex, I don't care!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:20PM
romulux at 12:42PM, June 22, 2007
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Just change your writing to accomodate the facial expressions you can do. Everyone in your comic could be so friggin' mad all the time that you'd never have to draw anything but teeth bared, eyebrows down.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:10PM
Kohdok at 9:37PM, June 22, 2007
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romulux
Just change your writing to accomodate the facial expressions you can do. Everyone in your comic could be so friggin' mad all the time that you'd never have to draw anything but teeth bared, eyebrows down.

Oh please, not all of us write “Supreme”.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:20PM
Meechi at 7:11PM, June 23, 2007
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Just changing your writing wouldn't change a thing really. The words you write shouldn't tell the story, but those same words in conjunction with the expressions and actions of your characters. Expressions can speak volumes that words sometimes just can't convey.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:58PM
Darth Mongoose at 6:51AM, June 24, 2007
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Changing what happens because you can't draw something is a cop out. People WILL notice it as well, just like people will notice if people always have their hands behind their back, if you can't draw hands, or will notice a lack of backgrounds. It's better to attempt and practice and improve at drawing things you find hard, rather than trying to hide it.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:08PM
romulux at 10:37AM, June 25, 2007
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I disagree. Hiding your weaknesses is exactly what the doctor ordered. Example: I am colourblind, so I do my comic in B&W. Also, one of my eyes was poked out in a spearfishing accident, leaving me no depth perception. Which is why I draw in 2D.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:10PM
Memmy at 1:46PM, June 25, 2007
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What I like to do is google expressions and shift through hundreds of photos. Sometime its a waste of time, sometime I hit a treasure trove. I dont copy, rather I look at how the face shapes (cheeks, mouth, eyebrow, forehead, etc) and pratice drawing based on what I see in diffrent styles. It helps to exaggerate the face structure sometime. Other thing I recently got for my birthday (I just turned 22 on 23rd) was Facial Expression by Mark Simon. Its a nice book full of photos of people making faces from diffrent angles. :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:59PM
Sysli at 4:09PM, June 25, 2007
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That sounds like a really good idea Memmy. I think I'll have to do a few short comics where i practise expressions soon. I'm not sure how good I am at human expressions, so I'd better just do something about it then.
Because I may as well show a bit of pride. ^___^

last edited on July 14, 2011 4:05PM

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