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Facial expressions

Facial expressions are very important, as all of our sentiments and expressions are transmitted this way. The face is covered in very elastic muscles that allow the face great mobility. This means that there are a great number of expressions that you must learn to master.


The diagram opposite shows the main movements of the different parts of the face. This is only present to help you to understand the complex movements of the face. There’s nothing better than studying people’s faces around us, to help us master expressions.

The second, more simplified diagram below, reminds us of the elasticity of the possible deformations. It clearly shows the 3 main zones for retranscribing an expression, in other words: the eyebrows, eyes and mouth. The other indicators of creases and movements of the face are secondary and can be left out when using a pure style, without it altering the comprehension of the retranscribed expression.

There exists a simple and efficient tip for correctly building up these expressions, whatever your level or style. Just as with smileys, draw your expressions with very simple sketches and then learn to apply the traits of your character over the top, whilst keeping the initial expression.

Here are a few examples using this technique. You can clearly see how the expression at the beginning is kept, despite the different types of drawings. This will not occur with all character types but, nevertheless, it will help you to capture the most important part of the expression.