One of the hardest parts of drawing characters is capturing their facial expression. It often takes me many attempts to get it right. But I know when I do because I feel a connection to my characters and I can empathise with their situation.
Facial expressions are a non-verbal kind of communication yet tells us so much.
Our personality (shy, outgoing)
Our mood at the time (happy, sad, bewildered)
How we’re responding to a particular situation (fear, anger, excitement)
In the digital world, facial expression is everything! Emoticons to emojis give an example of how we use different facial expressions to comminicate our feelings online. In comics and animations, one of the real joys is getting emersed in the unique characters and their stories which is in part told by the exaggerated expression on their faces.
Yet in our real world, it almost feels like we’re encouraged to subdue unique facial characteristics and inadvertently expression. Let me explain.
Fashion and online beauty ideals constantly tell us to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. Wrinkles that tell the story of our lives. To use of fillers, botox and other cosmeceuticals to fill, plump, freeze and tighten the skin in order to ‘reverse’ those signs that we’re ageing. Apps and filters at our disposal now allow us to smooth our skin until it’s unrecognisable as real skin.
But I wonder, by reversing, change or filter in these ways, what else are we losing?