Here’s a guide to drawing a variety of different emotions, moods, and characters.
UPDATE: Do you want to use this post or images?
I am adding this update because I am asked about this post A LOT. Please review these guidelines before emailing me.
If you are a parent or teacher and want to use the chart/tips/images in a purely personal or educational way for your kids or students in the confines of your home or classroom: That is fine with me. Feel free to print and use them. There is no need to contact me.
If you are a teacher/educator/administrator and you want to use this chart in a paper, report, or other type of academic project in a professional capacity: You can reference this post if you are writing about drawing facial expressions specifically. You can only use excerpts and cannot reproduce the entire post or chart without permission. You must also credit me and refer to this link.
You can NOT use these images to illustrate any other concept other than drawing facial expressions (for example, you cannot use the images to illustrate emotions for a psychology topic, because this post is not about psychology – it’s about drawing).
In other words, if you are using the images in your paper as an EXAMPLE of how to draw facial expressions, that’s considered fair use. If you are using the image to ILLUSTRATE your paper and make it pretty, for a topic nothing to do with drawing, please do not use them.
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Tips for Drawing Facial Expressions
The Most Important Features
The Eyes – Probably the most important feature for evoking a clear emotion. Utilize the eyelids and eyebrows to create your effect.
The Cheeks – The way they squash and stretch will affect the look and position of the eyes.
The Mouth – The shape of the mouth is also very important. It affects how the cheeks move and the shape of the entire face.
Note that when you move the shape and position of one feature, it affects everything else. Nothing stands completely on its own.
For a stronger drawing and character, really push the expression. Instead of simply drawing a happy person, draw one that is ecstatic; instead of drawing an angry person, draw a furious one.
Have a mirror nearby. When I’m trying to nail down an expression, I often find my own face making weird movements unconsciously. It can make for good reference.
Facial Expressions Chart
Are You Kidding Me?
Download a PDF version here.
Feel free to leave additional tips, comments, links, and info by commenting on this post at DaniDraws.com.