50 Facial Expressions and How to Draw Them


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.

  • If you want to post this chart or info on your own blog or website: 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. There is no need to contact me.

    If you would like permission to post more than an excerpt, the entire chart, or the PDF download, please contact me explaining your circumstances and to ask for permission.

    If you want to use these images to illustrate your blog post or webpage for a topic that has nothing to do with drawing facial expressions, please do not use them.

  • If you want to use the chart for a book, logo, t-shirt, or any type of commercial use: No, please do not use any info or images from this post.

  • If you are interested in buying the licensing rights to use these images for your purpose: I’m sorry, but it is not for sale. Please do not use them.

If you have any doubts or questions about these guidelines, please contact me before using any part of this post or the corresponding PDF.

Tips for Drawing Facial Expressions

The Most Important Features

  1. The Eyes – Probably the most important feature for evoking a clear emotion. Utilize the eyelids and eyebrows to create your effect.

  2. The Cheeks – The way they squash and stretch will affect the look and position of the eyes.

  3. The Mouth – The shape of the mouth is also very important. It affects how the cheeks move and the shape of the entire face.

Additional Tips

  • 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


















































Something Stinks



Are You Kidding Me?
















































Fake Smile









Shut Tight









































Download a PDF version here.

Feel free to leave additional tips, comments, links, and info by commenting on this post at DaniDraws.com.

65 thoughts on “50 Facial Expressions and How to Draw Them

  1. Attila

    Cool one Dani !

    I’m just about to get into a 3d character animation project, and your chart will sure come in handy.
    Thank you very much !

  2. 05kalem

    amateurish. I doubt if this can be of help to anyone.
    and if you won’t follow the guides (circle and central lines) why do you bother drawing them?

  3. Renee

    This would make a great moo theme at livejournal. would you make one? or allow me to do so, with credit, of course!

  4. Travis

    Very nice! Regardless of whether you are drawing this figure or your own style, it’s an awesome guide to basic expressions. I use guide lines in a similar way, to keep a somewhat accurate perspective, but they are just that, guides.


    awesome…handling is so gud and idea of drawing such a sketch iz fabulous becoz nothing is impossible but not even easy but DANI u have done with it n ur work iz worthy..and even self-precious….WELLDONE keep putting ur efforts to be more presentable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. anil sawant

    Dear Dani.

    You are great. First time in life I could draw faces so well taking tips from you. Thanks a lot.

  7. Mandy

    Great drawings, such expression. i’m a primary school teacher and this will be very useful to me. I will definitely use it with my students. Thank you so much.

  8. faith

    that s great!!!!! i am learning about sketching cartoons by myself now my cartoon characters got the life ………. thanx a lot… and i have downloaded .pdf file …. is there any more facial expression than these????

  9. Paulo Roberto Filho

    Hey Dani,
    I have fallen from heaven. I’llbe using your tips to draw for my students….We are talking about mixed emotions and this comes in handy!
    Great job
    Manaus – Am

  10. Rachel

    These facial expressions are fantastic. I am a trainee primary school teacher aide. I’m going to have some drawing lessons with some of my students with aspergers. As they have trouble reading body language and facial expressions I definently feel that your drawings are going to help them hugely.
    Thanks heaps

  11. loopy poopie

    hiyaa. i hope you can some more pictures on your website cos i think its real good. could you possibly put some more realistic facial expressions on so that i can please learnt hem. thank you ever so much. its realy appreciated that someone goes to the reouble of helping people like me. thank you. x x x x

  12. hannah

    thank you for the help. i can use these in my gcse art portfolio as i am doing expressive faces. this is perfect. thanxx

  13. person

    hey good drawings! i was kinda looking for heads that are more like Calvin and Hobbs. but thanks anyway! ;) p.s. is it ok if i save this as one of my favorites?

  14. Edrian

    Thank you for taking the time to put all of these GREAT tutorials together and sharing. The information here is invaluable! Wonderful stuff and fantastic work! I’m definitely going to try out many of your tips!

  15. Daniel Bernstein

    Taking a 21st Century Art course and we are working on motion. This information is very helpful in this area.

  16. Alicia

    thanks for the expressions! their so going to help me with the graphic novel i’m doing. thanks again :) they’re great!

  17. Nathan Trujillo

    Hi DaniDraws,

    I needed to story board some scenes I don’t have for a DVD slideshow and peoples faces have always been my weak spot. Thanks a bunch, your techniques are great. Thanks for sharing…

  18. Kayla White

    G’day mate. This was really helpful so thanks a lot. Just like Nathan above, I was doing a storyboard and was having great trouble with character expressions. So good on ya!

  19. Zamora

    Really loved the experssions….
    It was a huge help …… for a lesson that i had to cover for the Art teacher

  20. sho sho smith

    I’m a total drawing amateur who’s nevertheless trying to illustrate a children’s book I’m writing. This is exactly what I was looking for!

  21. Maureen

    Thank you very much! This is an invaluable tool for me!

    If you ever wanted to expand….. I was just looking for….

    Side view with different expressions
    a back view with hair

    Thanks again!

  22. makaylah

    in art class we had to draw different expressions and im not good at drawing expressions so i used these!These really helped !thanks alot!

  23. Patrick

    huge thanks! incredibly helpful! and a wide variety to choose from.

    faces have always been my weakness too:D.

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