Emoji Me: The Art of Facial Expression | Nina Rycroft | Skillshare

Emoji Me: The Art of Facial Expression

Nina Rycroft, Picture Book Illustrator

Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
9 Lessons (23m)
    • 1. Introduction

      2:19
    • 2. Joy

      3:04
    • 3. Sadness

      2:40
    • 4. Surprise

      2:36
    • 5. Anger

      2:58
    • 6. Disgust

      2:55
    • 7. Fear

      2:38
    • 8. To Finish

      0:52
    • 9. Bonus project sample

      2:39
16 students are watching this class

About This Class

Bring your characters to life by learning how to ‘read’ and 'draw' facial expression.

Learn how to bring your characters to life with facial expression. Picture book illustrator Nina Rycroft walks you through the six basic emotions branching out to discover an even wider spectrum of emotional possibilities. Learn how subtle tweaks and gestures can change the mood of your character.

With a focus on facial expression, this class is ideal for budding artists, illustrators, animators and anyone interested in character design.

In this class, you will...

  • breakdown the six basic emotions - joy, sadness, surprise, anger, disgust and fear

  • branch out from the basic six to discover even more levels of emotions 
  • 'draw' an emoji using a selfie as reference

Interested in character design? 

Below is my series of Skillshare classes that walk you through the entire process of how to illustrate a character from start to finish. Use this series to either brush-up on a particular skill or work your way through, for a comprehensive guide.

Nina's Skillshare Character Design Series

  1. Face Facts: Beginners Guide to Drawing a Self Portrait
  2. Face Shapes: Draw a Series of Character Using Simple Shapes 
  3. 101 Guide to Drawing Eyes
  4. Emoji Me: The art of Facial Expression
  5. How to Draw the Head From Every Angle: Part One
  6. How to Draw the Head From Every Angle: Part Two
  7. How to Draw the Head From Every Angle: Part Three
  8. Draw a Circus of Characters: Exploring Body Shape and Proportion
  9. Draw a Circus of Movement: Simple Techniques to Bring Characters to Life
  10. Draw a Circus of Line & Gesture: Design a Picture Book Character From Start to Finish
  11. Watercolor Magic: One Character Five Ways
  12. Illustration Masterclass - Exploring Technique and Style
  13. Learn to Use Procreate: Design and Illustrate a Bear Character

Transcripts

1. Introduction: Welcome to Emoji Me, The Art of Facial Expression. In this class, I'm going to take you through the six basic emotions, joy, sadness, surprise, anger, disgust, and fear. Then branching out from the basic six, I will show you an even wider spectrum of emotional possibilities. Now, picture books are such a visual way of telling a story, so it's really important for an illustrator to understand the full spectrum of emotional possibilities, and also how to apply these to your characters. There are different levels of emotions and of course, different facial expressions used to convey these emotions. When I draw characters, I find it much easier to draw them if I'm understanding how they're feeling. I always put myself into the same emotional state that the character would be feeling. I draw form, I guess what you'd call the inside out. So I put myself into the character's shoes and experience what they're feeling and then that hopefully gets conveyed to the illustration in the character on paper. To experience this, I invite you to experiment with the different facial expressions. Then, this is the easy part, you need to take a selfie. Using your selfie as a reference, draw a character feeling one of the six basic emotions. This class covers all levels. However, I recommend that beginners first take my Face Facts, A Beginners Guide To Drawing a Self Portrait class beforehand, as it will give you a really good understanding on face proportions. If you enjoy drawing faces, make sure to take my Face Shapes class as you'll get so much more when your shape inspired characters are combined with the facial expressions that you've just learned. When you finish watching all of the lessons, please leave a review if you liked the class. This gives the class more visibility on skill share so that more people can see and take part. So enjoy the class, post your feedback, and really I look forward to seeing your selfies transform into emoji characters. 2. Joy: Welcome to the first lesson of Emoji Me, the art of drawing facial expression. In this class, we're going to explore and then draw the first of the six basic emotions. Joy, joy is the emotion of great delight caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying. It's the expression or display of pleasure and delight. Think of an early memory when you felt pure joy and stay with this feeling while I walk you through the widest spectrum of this basic emotion. If we were to crank up the feeling of joy, we would experience laughter. Laughing can sometimes be completely involuntary and involve a complex series of muscles, which is why it's so difficult to fake and also why it takes an effort to suppress it. When we laugh, the muscles that anchor at the cheekbones and stretch down towards the jaw are pulled upwards so much so that they animate the eyes. On top of this, the upper lid is pulled upward and outward. If on a scale of 1-4, laughter is four out of four, and joy is a three out of four, then two would be amusement, where the facial muscles are still moving upwards and outwards but now to a lesser degree. If we were to continue down the line and take the emotion down one notch, a one out of four would be satisfaction. Here you can now see the widest spectrum of sub emotions that branch out from our basic emotion of joy, where satisfaction is a one out of four and laughter is a four out of four. What I'd like you to do is to get yourself into a state of joy and then take a selfie for reference. Now, you can either draw yourself or you can draw a character that you've already designed. If you're stuck for ideas, you may even like to choose a character from my face shapes class. Anyway, use the selfie as reference, breakdown what the individual features are doing, and then apply them to your character. Remember to you post your emoji characters as a project, and I'll send you a PDF of my facial expression handout. I look forward to seeing you in my next lesson where we explore and draw the facial expression, sadness. 3. Sadness: Welcome to my next lesson in Emoji Me: The Art of Drawing Facial Expression. In this class, we're going to explore and draw the facial expression, sadness. A sad expression usually displays upwardly slanted eyebrows and a frown with all the other aspects of the facial features drooping downwards. If we were to crank up the feeling of sadness, we would experience grief. Grief is an expression of pain and loss. The outwardly expression of grief can be quite exaggerated. Imagine the toddler having his or her toy taken away. As we know, toddlers don't have much of an emotional filter, so the outburst of grief can seem quite full-on. If on a scale of one to four of grief is a four out of four, and sadness of three out of four, then a two would be melancholy, where the eyebrows are slanted upwards with a frown, and the edges of the mouth are pulled down. If we were to continue down the line and take the emotion down one more notch to a one out of four, we would have dejection. Here, you can now see the widest spectrum of sub emotions that branch out from our basic emotions of sadness, where dejection is a one out of four and grief is a four out of four. Now, what I'd like you to do is to pull a sad face, and then take a selfie, and to use the selfie as reference. Now, you can either draw yourself or you can draw a character that you've already designed, breakdown what the individual features are doing, and then apply them to your character. Remember, if you place and knows your characters as a project, then I'll send you a PDF of my facial expression handout. I look forward to seeing you in my next lesson, where we explore and draw the facial expression, surprise. 4. Surprise: Welcome to my next lesson in Emoji Me the art of drawing facial expression. In this class, we're going to explore and draw the facial expression surprise. Surprise is a sudden feeling of astonishment. A feeling which occurs when something is discovered unexpectedly. A look of surprise is easily identified with the widening of the eyes and a gaping mouth. The emotion of surprise is a close relative to fear. A surprised face is what happens instinctively. Most of the time we don't consciously choose to make the face. It's more of a reaction to something. If we were to crank up the feeling of surprise, we would experience shock. A more exaggerated version of surprise, with wider eyes, with lots of white space around the pupils, and the eyebrows lifted high on the forehead and of course, a gaping mouth. On a scale of 1-4, if shock, is a four out of four, and surprise is a three out of four. Then two would be wonder, where the eyes are wide but not quite popping out of the head, and the eyebrows are lifted, and the mouth is only slightly ajar. Continue down the line, and one out of four would be alertness, wide-eyed alertness. Here you can now see the widest spectrum of sub emotions that branch out from the basic emotion of surprise, where alertness is a one out of four, and shock is a four out of four. So now it's your turn, pull out a short facial expression and take a selfie. Using your selfie as reference, breakdown what the individual features are doing when you have pulled the shocked face and apply them to your character. Remember if you post your emoji characters as a project, then I'll send you a PDF outline facial expression handout. I look forward to seeing you in my next lesson where we explore and draw the facial expression, anger. 5. Anger: Welcome to my next lesson in Emoji Me, The Art of Drawing Facial Expression. In this class, we're going to explore and draw the facial expression, anger. Anger is a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong. With anger, the eyebrows are squeezed together to form a crease and the eye lids are tight and straight. The hair is often slightly lowered as the eyes looked through a lowered brow, and the thin lip is open and snarled with exposed teeth. Anger is a really primitive feeling with strained, tightened features on the face. If we were to crank up the feeling of anger, we would experience rage, wide eyes, pinned pupils, deeply forward eyebrows, and the mouth will literally growling. If on a scale of one to four, rage is of four out of four, and anger is a three out of four, then two would be indignation, an expression of strong displeasure at something considered unjust, offensive or insulting. Continuing down the line, a one out of four would be sternness, where the inflexible firmness comes across the face with the eyes tense and small, the eyebrows low and forward, and the mouth pulled tight. Here, you can now see the widest spectrum of sub emotions that branch out from the basic emotion of anger. Where sternness is as a one out of four and rage is a four out of four. Now, take a selfie pulling an angry face. Now you can either draw yourself or you can draw a character that you've already designed. Break down what the individual features are doing and then apply them to your character. Post you emoji characters as a project, and I'll send you a PDF of my facial expression handout. I look forward to seeing you in our next lesson where we explore and draw the facial expression discussed. 6. Disgust: Welcome to my next lesson in Emoji Me, The Art of drawing Facial Expression. In this class, we're going to explore and draw the facial expression, disgust. Disgust is an emotional response of revulsion caused by something extremely unpleasant or offensive. When we experience the emotion disgust, the top part of our nose wrinkles into a nose scrunch, and this in turn raises the upper lid, and the eyebrows are also pulled down and creating a frown. Now, if we were to crank up the feeling of disgust, we would experience revulsion. Similar to disgust, just more exaggerated with deeply frowned eyebrows, and major nose scrunch with an open mouth that pulls down and out. If on a scale of one to four revulsion is a four out of four, and disgust is a three out of four, then a two would be aversion. With only a slight nose scrunch pulling up on the top lip, and the lower lip remaining a little bit more relaxed. Continuing down the line, a one out of four would be distain. The facial expression for distain shows tense. Slightly squinting eyes, the eyebrows not frowning. However they are tense, but with more of a wide outward pull. The lower nose pulls up and presses in slightly lifting that top lip. Here you can now see the widest spectrum of sub-emotions that branch out from a basic emotion of disgust. Where disdain is a one out of four and revulsion is a four out of four. Think of something revolting like the smell of old socks or the smell of a wet, smelly dog. Now really feel that feeling, make the face, then take a selfie. Now use the selfie as reference, and break down the individual features, then apply them to a character that you are drawing. Remember to post your emoji characters as a project, and I'll send you a PDF of my facial expression handout. I look forward to seeing you in my next lesson where we'll explore and draw the facial expression here. 7. Fear: Welcome to my next lesson in emoji me, the art of drawing facial expression. In this class we're going to explore and draw the facial expression of fear. Fear is a distressing emotional thought that you have when you're frightened by something dangerous, painful, or bad. It's the anticipation that something unpleasant may occur, whether that threat is real or imagined. When we show fear our eyes literally look like they're popping out of my head because the eyebrows are pulled up and out. They lift up the eyelids, opening up the eyes wide and exposing a large area of the whites of the eye. The mouth is also open and stretched down and out towards the neck. Who has a crank up? The feeling of fear, we would experience terror. Like fear terror is a deeply rooted instinct that indicates a desire to avoid or escape something. The facial expression is an exaggerated version of fear, eyebrows tilted in and up, eyes wide open with pin pupils, and the mouth even more open wide and pulled down and back. If on a scale of one to four, terror is a four out of four, and fear is a three out of four, then two would be anxiety, where the eyebrows are pulled in and upwards toward the center and the mouth is slightly ajar and pull down. If we were to continue down the line and take the emotion down just one more notch, a one out of four would be concern. Eyebrows slightly in and up towards the center, and the mouth tense and slightly down turned. Here you can now see the wider spectrum of sub-emotions that branch out from our basic emotion of fear, where concern as a one out of four and terror is a four out of four. Now it's time to pull that terrified face then take a selfie. Using a selfie as a reference breakdown what the individual features are doing and then apply them to the character that you're drawing. Remember if you post your emoji characters as a project then I'll send you a PDF of my facial expression handout. If you want to see this illustration then from start to finish without any breaks, please head over to the bonus lesson where you'll be able to see this character and all the facial expressions drawn in one go. If you like the class then please leave a review as it gives the class more visibility on Skillshare so that more people can watch and take part. 8. To Finish: So we've not only covered the six basic emotions, we've also experienced what it feels like to be in those states of emotion, and we've captured that on selfie. We've broken that down and looked at our selfies and really understood what the face and how the face moves and contorts to express that emotion. Then we've been able to apply all of that into our own characters. When you finish watching all of the lessons, please leave a review if you like the class. This gives the class more visibility on Skillshare so that more people can see and take part in this class. I look forward to seeing all your Emoji Me characters. So please post those, and I'll see you next time. 9. Bonus project sample: