It's Comics & Cartoons Week
at deviantART, and one of the resources cartoonists and comic artists need is a collection of facial expressions to reference for their character art. But where can you go to find reference images like this all in one place? ~chronicdoodler
has the answer!
Just click the thumb below, read the guidelines, and download the template! It's fun, easy, and a huge help for deviantART's C&C community!
This project has become a meme shared between artists throughout dA, so I wanted to get a closer look. Fortunately, ~chronicdoodler
agreed to an interview to explain her project more in depth...~chronicdoodler
: The expressions reference project is a deviant fueled resource library of individuals Facial structures, and their wide range of emotions for artist reference.
2. It's a great idea! What inspired you to start this project?~chronicdoodler
: The key to drawing expressions realistically is to use reference, but I found my characters starting to look and emote the same, or more specifically like me, since I use myself as a reference.
So I searched Deviantart and found most of the female stock artists while beautiful, rarely take any images where their face is contorted, emotional, and unattractive. The male stock, is even harder to come by, and the expressions tend be overly aggressive, or impassive. And while its possible to find spontaneous expressions, I thought it would be nice to see how this person, this character would express all their wide range of expressions.
In short references are hard to come by, and I figured other artists must have the same problem, so I started the project in the hope to share comprehensive and useful expressions to others.
3. What types of artists use reference images like this, and how will the images be used?~chronicdoodler
: These reference images are probably most useful for comic artists who create characters with personalities, back stories, and are fully-fledged individuals in the artist mind, Characters that have to be drawn consistently, with expressions that are unique to the character.
Though I can see it being useful for any visual artist who needs reference for extreme emotions, or to get reference of different facial structures in multiple angles.
4. Are there any specific types of models you'd like to study more?~chronicdoodler
: I have gotten an amazing turn out from generous deviants, and I am thankful to all the individuals who have contributed so far. But it would be wonderful to get references of people who are older, male, and of different racial descent. At the moment most of our contributions are caucasion, women 25 or younger.
Though certainly I will gladly and graciously except anyone who would like to contribute.
5. Most stock image providers are generally interested in learning more about the needs of the artists that will use their resources. For those that want to participate in the expressions project, are there any tips that will help them produce the best results for capturing the images you need?~chronicdoodler
: I am of course thankful to anyone who contributes, and have fun while making their sheet. But I humbly ask to remember the spirit of the project is to provide clear reference for comic artists. So I ask them to please keep their hair tied back, make sure their face is in view and not covered by props, and take images in well-lit areas that provides shadows to show volume, but not lose the form.
6. What are some of your best project contributions so far, and what makes each one stand out to you as a cartoonist?~chronicdoodler
: I adore each contribution, but I will try to narrow it down.
This one is actually of my father, but is definitely extremely useful for cartoon artists. Often we use simple lines to represent age, but once the face begins to move and contort it becomes very tricky to figure out how the face of an aged person emotes. Stock artists, and models tend to be young so I think this contribution is very valuable.
This is ~Terrizae
, and I love her big eyes, and expressive face. Being a lover of drawing expressions herself, she is able to emote very well. ~Jakkar
has a wonderful expressive face, and I adore how extreme he allowed his face to go for the project. I can see his contribution to be very helpful for cartoon artists. ~PhoenixFuryBane
is a great actress, with a wonderfully unique face. She was able to create expressions that very interesting and distinct from each other.
7. All these images are fun to browse, but can't you just learn about expressions from different faces? Why do you need so many expressions and angles for each face?~chronicdoodler
: The first few angles of the neutral face allow the artist to see the structural form of the person so they can break down the face into geometric shapes. This allows them to understand how the person will look at angle, even ones not shown.
Once the structure is understood, then the personality can be explored. Some people smile openly with a full set of teeth, some almost shyly. Some people when angry have that traditional angry face, while I have known people who look closer to crying when angry. Some people are extrovert, while others introvert. Some cultures encourage expressing individuality and emotion, while some don't. Everyone is different, so by studying the individuals, you can see what makes them unique, and what makes them the same.
8. Before I run off to try to find a male "model" that will agree to help, I've got to ask, how did you get your dad to look so sincere in all of his expressions? Tell us about that photo shoot.~chronicdoodler
: He is not an actor, nor does he study peoples expressions and mannerisms as intensely as I do, so he did actually had a little bit of trouble in the shoot. Particularly with the more negative emotions since he is a pretty laid back, centered, and fun loving guy. So in order to get the emotion I needed I would give him prompts to help him get into the mindset of that emotion.
For grief I told him to imagine that I was kidnapped, for irritated I told him destroyed another vase, or my favorite which is confident in which I said pretend you beat out a brown noser at work for a promotion. He ended up having a lot of fun and I caught a genuine laugh during the course of the shoot.
9. How important is it to keep this project going? Will there ever be enough?~chronicdoodler
: I am kind of greedy when it comes to visual references, but if this project gets too large, it will be difficult for an artist to find what they are looking amongst too many contributions. But then we never know the reference we need, until we need them and then try to find them
But again, I welcome more contributions, especially from a wider variety of people. And if it gets too big, I can always find a way to catalogue them. Maybe even start a group specifically geared for artist visual reference, to house all the contributions and helpful tutorials.
10. Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything else you'd like to add?~chronicdoodler
: I do enjoy providing references and tutorials for community use, so if you have an idea for something that would be helpful to many people let me know.
For example someone requested that I provide the emotions in both front, 3/4, and profile views which I think is a wonderful idea and I plan to tackle soon and start a new project.