Kerrie Woodhouse

Whimsical Watercolour

Learning to draw different facial expressions

Beginner Resources, My art journeyphoenixarttally

how to draw facial expressions arttally Drawing faces is becoming something of a passion of mine. That is not unusual. Portraits have been a popular subject choice for artists for as long as we have been drawing.

For many of us making art is a way of understanding ourselves and each other.  Our faces are what we present to the world. Whether they reveal or conceal our innermost thoughts and feelings, faces can be endlessly fascinating.

Spending time learning to draw different facial expressions and even just different faces is time available to observe and contemplate. That feels like a privilege. I'm sure there is no substitute for a live model, but an ample supply of patient and willing models is not so easy to come by. Not everyone is comfortable with your intense and enduring scrutiny... funny that...

I have learned of a great resource to overcome this particular problem. Mark Simon has developed a series of books that contain photo references - especially made for all types of artists.  There are books of adults from 20-83 years of age  as well as a book of children from babies to young adults. The books show multiple expressions and angles of each face. Invaluable whether you are learning to draw faces as a beginner, or learning to draw facial expressions, or even if you are a professional needing to draw particular phonemes for animation or graphic novels.

I bought the book with children in it as they are my subject preference. The book is large and feels like a  substantial support to my endeavours! At first I was a little disappointed because the cover is in colour and glossy but the interior pages are all in black and white. I soon realised, however, that this is in fact very useful. It is so much easier to see value contrast in a black and white photo. And since I seem determined to give all my subjects green, blue or pink hair, I am hard pressed to think why I would even want to see the photo in colour in the first place.

So, if  you are looking for some inspiring faces to draw, check out these books. Yes, I know. There is Pinterest, of course. But for a variety of ages, and expressions over consistent faces, you can't beat a nice sturdy printed book. That's what I think.