Guides to Fine Arts Like Painting, Designing, Architecture, Sculpture, Photography and More

Without expressions, the face is nothing. A portrait drawing that does not convey any emotion is hardly a portrait and is very boring to look at. Therefore it is very important for us portrait drawing artists to learn the ins and outs of human expressions.

Fortunately for artists, most of the work of studying human expressions has been done for use. For years, a scientist name Dr. Paul Ekman has studied human expressions and found that we all share six universal expressions. He'd also studied how these expressions are form on the face.

This data is very useful to artist looking to draw faces. In this article, I'm going to share with you the six expressions and how to draw them.

Surprised: The main feature of surprise is that the mouth is wide open and the eyes are also very open.

Fear: Similar to surprise, the brows are also lifted in fear. However unlike surprise, with fear, the inner corners of the brows are drawn together. This gives a more straightened appearance to the outer corners of the eyebrows. In the fear brow there are usually horizontal wrinkles across the forehead, yet they are shorter than the ones shown in surprise. Instead, they are more concentrated in the middle.

Disgust: The most important features of disgust are in the mouth and nose. Regarding the mouth, the upper lip is raised, while the lower lip may be raised or lowered. The nose is wrinkled causing lines to appear on the sides and bridge of the nose. The more intense the disgust, the more these wrinkles will be apparent.

Anger: In anger, the eyebrows are drawn down and together. This is not to be confused with fear, where the brow are drawn together and up. The best way to depict this is to add vertical wrinkles between the eyebrows. Without these wrinkles, the expression just won't look right. The eyes will also widen with the lower lid tensing. When this is combined with the lowering brows, it causes the eyes to look as if they are bulging. The nostril will flare. The mouth can either be pressed shut or opened with the teeth showing. In both cases, the lips will be tense.

Joy: Joy is expressed though a smile or a laugh. The corners of the mouth are drawn back and up. This pushes the cheeks up and causes the eyes to appear smaller. One very important feature of the smile is that there will be wrinkles at the corners of the eyes, also known as "crow's feet". The absent of these wrinkles are usually a very reliable sign that the smile is not genuine. This tiny detail will go along way to helping you with how to draw a realistic face.

Sadness: The inner corners of the eyebrows are raised and the eye's have a slight downward slant. The mouth is also curved downward and the entire faces seem to sag down. Although interestingly in some cases of extreme sadness, there is a complete lack of emotion.

Now that you know what the key difference between each of these emotions are, keep them in mind when working on your people and portrait drawings and you will the faces you draw a lot more life.

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