Character Design: Facial Expressions

Drawing a wide range of facial expressions is a great skill for character design! In this drawing tutorial, prompts for different facial expressions are provided: confused, furious, disgusted, heartbroken, and flirty. This video explores different ways of achieving a expression with Procreate. Demo led by Teaching Artists Deepti Menon and Jordan McCracken-Foster.

Video Walkthrough

  • Using word prompts to get ideas for facial expressions.
  • Words: confused, furious, disgusted, heartbroken, flirty.
  • Creating facial expressions for characters created in advance.
  • Make facial expressions into a mirror while you’re drawing characters as a reference.
  • Act out your characters’ emotions.
  • Using references will broaden your options for facial expressions.
  • How to draw a character expression sheet for a character design.
  • Balancing planning and spontaneity in the creative process.
  • Tropes in movies and TV shows.
  • Looking at facial expressions in comedians and actors for ideas.
  • You have to be willing to be silly when drawing characters.
  • Jordan’s teacher made silly noises while drawing for inspiration.
  • How Deepti developed her style.
  • Style develops over many years.
  • Have another artist’s work available for reference.
  • Connecting specific facial features and their movements to emotions.
  • Designing a character who looks like you because of lack of representation in animation.
  • Addressing diversity in animated shows and characters.
  • Being aware of when you’re using a cliche in your art, it can work!

Software used

Films mentioned

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