Drawing Expressions - For Illustrators, Comic Artists, and Animators | Alycia Pace | Skillshare

Drawing Expressions - For Illustrators, Comic Artists, and Animators

Alycia Pace, Fortune cookie lover and art fanatic

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4 Lessons (23m)
    • 1. Trailer

    • 2. Expressions1

    • 3. Expressions2

    • 4. Expressions3

24 students are watching this class

About This Class

Welcome to “Drawing Expressions - For Illustrators, Comic Artists, and Animators.”

PLEASE watch these lessons with a sketchbook in hand! 

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m better with art than I am with words, so if you’re sketching what you see on the screen you’ll at least learn from practice. 

If you’re not comfortable drawing faces and figures, be sure to start with my “How to Draw Faces Step by Step” class and my “Gesture Drawing” course. These are important building blocks to understand before jumping to expressions. 

The key is to practice so please post your projects!!! I love seeing them. 

Thanks for coming to class! :) 


1. Trailer: 2. Expressions1: Okay, let's talk about drying expressions. This is a really important course for illustrators or just anybody who is trying to depict character and feeling and expression into their drawings. So of it's really important for you guys to use a lot of reference as well as feeling it out in your own face, making a lot of funny faces alone in your studio. That's what it's all about. So first, I just wanted to go over some basic expressions on this. Let's start with happy So smiley face. Just the classic. You know, I just want you guys to explore simple ways of drawing expressions and then see how you can do different ones who that's creepy because a jackal and earns its October right now. So that's getting me, um, so I would like you guys toe play around in your sketchbook and just see how far you can push things. See how many different styles you can get with each expression. There's a lot of ways to draw happy Um, you can draw it without eyebrows. All of these have been without eyebrows, but eyebrows are very expressive, so add an eyebrow. See what you can leave out. See what you can't leave out. See how simply can go. See how complex you can go. It's also helpful to go ahead and like, draw these faces. Realistically, it depends on what you what you dio I mean, if you like doing cartoons, obviously trying to see the simplest way or the furthest you can push things would be excellent. So I want you guys to try to do a bunch from your head and then pull in reference and see what you can get from the reference here I am trying to take it one extra step with this giant mouth and giant eyes. Um, and then, um, looking at like Anna Mae, they have like those. Sometimes the eyes get really giant. They have, like, this glimmer of light in them and they just they look so happy. So that starts trying there. So, um, do a quick Google search of Looney Tunes expressions, Anna Mae expressions Pixar expressions on, then obviously looking at photos on and then maybe like comic strip expressions, I just get a feel for what some of those differences are and how different people have approached the's basic expressions. So now Let's try another one. How have done happy? And I'd like you guys to go ahead and you could stop this. Or you could go back and re watch it while you're drawing happy. Could copy mine, obviously with that would be, ah, good thing to do as well as doing your own here is sad. So if you make a sad face or just, like, try to feel what sad feels like it's droopy. It's like you just like the weight gravity just kind of like pulls you down, right, as opposed to happy, which would perk you up. So, like the eyes were slanted downwards. The mouth is slanted downwards. I like to the nose being slanted down on this to cause it just like everything. You could just feel that weight. You can also use hair. Um, use every part of their their body, their posed there like that excited hair can just be like like a little bit more eccentric and crazy. Um, and then obviously it like for a sadness here. I've just, like tried toe drew, but it didnt mean did great, but just annoy idea that you guys can work with. So here I'm drawing from one of the ones from the left just trying to see what, um, a more realistic, sad face would look like. And those lines in the nose I'm just pointing to show you where where the where the Which one I'm looking at for this one. Um, those lines by the nose. They don't sometimes translate that well into comics. But our want you guys to play with it and see what works for you and what what doesn't And then try with dot I's try with moon eyes. I just explore and play. That's how you're going toe learn the most is by pushing getting out of your comfort zone. You don't have to post thes, so don't feel pressure Or if you need that pressure, if it's good for you, please, Please post. I love seeing your guys is drawing, sir. I'm just turning this off, um, so that I don't keep getting instagram alerts. So here's another Google search with some expressions and hers er quite different than his . Let's go ahead and do discussed and see how maney things we can come up with for that So some facial expressions are going toe look are going to be harder to get just in the face. Some of them you're gonna have to exaggerate through the post. So take out gesture drawing warm up on that and see how pushing the body pose will help with the expression. Because disgusted, if you just try it right now, make your make a disgusted face and I feel like for me, my head goes back. My shoulders and my hands might move in a certain way. Um, but I kind of had a harder time figuring out how to draw. Discussed here is, you can tell it's It's a more complicated expression, so adding in gesture will help adding in the hands. But go ahead and try toe work with some of these more complicated emotions because you're gonna need it if you're doing Children's books. Or maybe you're helping to illustrate, um in a magazine, and there's a specific expression you're wanting to get. It's best if you know if you have this bank account in your head. Jake Parker talks about the creative bake account, so building that up by practicing these expressions because sometimes editors myself doing the same ones over and over again in the same way and different characters different, uh, different people will be expressing it in a different way. So the more that you draw, the more that you practice the better range of emotion. You're going to get in the better range of character you'll have in these emotions. We already talked about pose. The body will help, but I was just trying to make myself feel better there. But that was a little bit harder. So the assignment is going to be Teoh. Go through. This is just kind of like a sample of how you can lay it out in your sketchbook. But first I want you to draw your first impression of anger, excited, surprised and disgusted. So just whatever comes out doesn't have to be great. Just give it a try. It could be really simply, could just two dies and lines for the mouth, Just whatever comes out. This is just Teoh to see what is already in your mind for these things and how you would it's natural expressed them. Those last two, the last three kind of look the same. One line just varied mouths, but the last year, pretty someone okay, and then I want you guys to look for reference for anger, excited, surprised and disgusted. You can do others expressions, too, but just to get started. So do a quick search. Find those and then try at it again, this time looking at the reference, seeing what you can pull from that. So this guy's eyebrows were squeeze together. You don't have to do here. I didn't do heroin. Most of, um so pulling in those eyebrows. And this is basically take two is just mainly looking at the photo and seeing how you can use those principles. How to face is moving. So here we've got bigger eyes, creased eyebrows. I'm not drawing exactly what I'm seeing because sometimes if you copy something to directly , you're not internalizing it the same way as if you're looking at something and changing it up a bit, making it your own. I feel like I learned more when I do that, as opposed to just my body, my brain congee oh into ah, just like automatic mode when I'm just copying something exactly the way that I see it. So I'm interpreting things here and now let's do disgusted, squished those eyebrows down. I guess why it's hard is if you make a disgusted face, your top lift kind of comes up. But drawing top lips in cartoon land sometimes looks very strange. So, yeah, disgusted. Not my day for disgusted vice. Okay, so once you've done that, I want you to try to take it to the next step, push it a little bit further and see what happens. Make the face yourself and see what you're feeling. So for like anger, I'm feeling my eyebrows going down and feeling like my face scrunched together. My nose rises up a bit. I just can't like, tense up. So, like I feel that and by feeling it while you're drawing, I know that's like silly or whatever, but you'll find that it helps a lot. So this one's already looking quite a bit more menacing than the last one. Yeah, take out the hair, but those eyebrows, that's where it's at and having the eyes looking directly at you like the death glare kind of added a little something to it. So let's try pushing excited a little bit further, so I'm trying to make that face right now. Excited I was like, I feel those. I feel those, uh, those eyebrows going up. He's feeling big eyes, big mouth. I'm running out of room here. You can obviously do the zone. Yeah, I would have put those eyebrows way higher, but running out of room so you could dio each different, um, expression on its own separate page. That might be good. And I would love to see these posted, if you out there willing who do several practice runs until you're comfortable enough with it to post so surprised. I feel like it's all in the mouth, even though, like the eyes are pretty big. So I tried to make the mouth a little bit bigger, and it's important that we talk about squash and stretch. So the face shape, I mean, the volume of everything is going to stay the same, even though like the silhouette of it is going to change. You have to think about if I'm pulling the mouth down the top of the head. Um, I made like a little bit smaller isa, but anyways, squash and stretch, we'll talk about that another time. But just think about if something squashing there other portion of it will be stretching like you can see it, the mouth squashing over there and then stretching. So disgusted once a canIs difficult. Okay, and then this next one is even further. Sometimes it doesn't get any better. Sometimes it gets worse, but sometimes you gotta try to take it a little bit further here. I thought how it take this further. And I have decided sharp angles are scary. Right? So, like the triangle she's like those pointy edges is Ah, if you look at designs of like Megamind, I mean, he's not really evil, so there are some rounded shapes to him. But if you look at a lot of villains Ah, lot off pointy edges to create this scarier look. So he looks a little bit scarier there with his pointy chin in a point, your nose, pointy ears. So by doing this exercise, you've done what you can, and then it's like, Okay, what else can I dio? And that sometimes helps the creativity get to where it should be. So now I'm just making up lies about the really big just, you know, just for final in that little tiny nose. So if you're making other things bigger. You can't continue making like if I made the ears bigger in the nose bigger too. Compensate for the big guys in the big mouth. It would have just been bigger. Right? So you have to remember, if you're making something bigger, don't naturally automatically compensate for that by making the other features Bigas well, or else you're not going to get that accentuated the with the one I learned that doing. Cari creatures at an amusement park sometimes don't have a really big nose because I had a big nose. I felt like I needed to, you know, change. Like the mouth ended up sometimes seeing a little bit bigger to adjust, and then all the sudden the nose didn't look big anymore. Okay, Surprise. I didn't know how much wider I could get that mouth. And then the eyes are big here. Which maybe if I had me, then smaller than half would have felt okay, Size spiked that hair up to give it more of a shocked look and then disgusted, which is my, uh, my challenge of the day. I thought maybe if, like who brought the bottom sometimes the bottom of the eye up could look disgusted, but didn't like that very much. So anyways, go ahead and try these tried pushing. See how far you can push the and I would love to see them posted. Um, make sure that you're using reference. Make sure that you're feeling it out in your face. Or just try to imagine a time that you have felt that way. It's better to just go ahead and make the face as you're drawing. It will help a lot. So look at different styles on the Internet. And then, uh, I can't wait to see how your faces turn out. You don't have to drop trying to draw the same person over and over again. As you can tell these air, not one person. I'm just just practicing. Um, if you are more advanced or if you're doing a lot of Children's books where you're needing to do the same character over and over again, it might be good for you to try to do the same character. Sometimes I like making it smaller to see what's reading what's not. So go forth draw, and I can't wait to see what you come up with. Thanks for making it through this video. 3. Expressions2: in the last video talked about feeling it out in your face, feeling the expression. But as you can see these Disney animators, a lot of them are looking at themselves in the mirror to see what they're not feeling to see what they're not catching. So have a mirror at your desk and even the professionals the best of the best still look at mirrors while they're doing expression. So, um, nothing should keep you from trying that. So I wanted to show you step by step what it would look like in my process. As I'm working on a comic with expressions, I start just like in the exercise of Just, like, simple. What are the expressions? I'm trying to get in the comic and then I'll bring in a photo, just like in the exercise that I'm having You guys dio. And then I start implementing what I'm seeing in the photo to push that to give more details toe, um, to get the facial expression that I'm looking for. And I wanted to show you guys through these comics that I've done, um, because I have show a little bit a few more after this, that Ah, comics were all about the expressions. That's why it's so important, because, um, a comic without expressions would be far less funny. I guess it depends on the scenario, but most of one that I'm showing you. If the expressions hadn't have been pushed her exaggerated, it wouldn't have been funny. This is just showing expressions of potty training while cleaning up you're in cause I'm recently experiencing that with my toddler. Just a comic tip, Um, as you were trying to decide what sorts of comics you want to dio Going from life is the best, probably because you have felt those emotions before because these are your expressions, right? So I have felt that zombie feeling. So I want to show in this one. It's just me being excited to see my daughters. P. So that's not really a comic, right? If it's just if it just looked like me and my actual expression of seeing my daughter's P so like exaggerating is really important. If you're trying to convey something like this, this wouldn't have been even interesting and just kind of weird for me to draw about unless , like, accentuated it. I love board eyes this was, Ah, post that I did a while back saying, Ah, I just don't know why I'm putting on so much weight is good. I love donuts and pate saw, um, And then I wanted to show you as this comic that had done because I used hair, um, to show the expressions in these comics. So I just want to show you that that's a possibility to use the hair. This one. Obviously, this 1st 1 I haven't done anything with the hair, but she had to go party running to the bathroom all the way across the park. Turns out she didn't have to go. She just thinks it's really funny to Ah, watch me freak out and panic. And to go on a little ride through the park. Who? Yep, that was fun. So here, I mean, the hair is just flowing behind us, so not a lot of expression, per se. But here, um, the pony tells drooping for one because as you're running, you know, it does lower the ponytail, but just to show that expression of just like, oh, zeros so you can use the hair and here the post to, um, to help accentuate your expressions 4. Expressions3: Hey, sir, if you can hear my daughter's video in the background just had toe try to keep her occupied . I finished this last video. I just wanted to just say that expressions can be transferred to animals. So if you're working with animals that need to have expressions, just go ahead and treat it similar to a faiths as faras, like the mouth expressing and eyebrows and eyes. Even the animals don't have eyebrows, and they don't have a lot of whites in their eyes. If you're cartooning them, it's totally appropriate. I'll go ahead and look and see how Disney react used facial expressions in there, animals and creatures and just see how other people have handled it, Um, in animation and in, ah, an illustration. So this one was a really fun one toe. I had to push that dog's face. I didn't show it in this video, but I did so many iterations of just like, how can I make him look so surprised? Because that was a really important part of this book. And then, you know, sees lighting to help express feelings and direct the I uh, so I also before letting years ago Teoh, do your own thing with expressions I wanted to show in this. How? If you're working from photos, make sure that you're pushing it. Ah, lots. Because in order to express the emotion you're looking for, like here, like you look at that photo. You know what expression she has? But if you draw it just like that, it's gonna be a little confusing for some reason, Um, going from photo to drawing, you have Teoh accentuate things to give it the life that it needs. So here I've made her eyes a lot wider. Changes eyebrows. Um, and then I made up a 2nd 1 for, um Instagram Just for fun because it just seemed like a appropriate time for a child too far in their mother's face. I apologize for being gross, but, um, please do you homework. It will help you so much and make sure to hit follow so you can see my next class. It's either by