Art by Pit-Face and Tantz Aerine
Expressions are key when drawing characters in webcomics- it’s understandably the acting portion of the creative work, and it has to be done well to engage the reader.
In my opinion there are no easy or difficult expressions- only expressions you as a creator feel you are more or less familiar with displaying on your character’s face.
Still, one could argue that extreme emotions could be easier to depict through extreme contortions of the face.
What of the subtler ones then?
Emotions that are low key in their manifestations, for whatever reason (be it that the character is low key, or reserved, or numb, or reluctant to display emotions at all), might put an extra difficulty to get them depicted on the face and/or the body. I have found that the bigger (i.e. the more intense) the emotion that is being muted or under-emoted, the more difficult it is to visually display that intensity (though not necessarily what the emotion is).
The way I approach this issue is to employ the entire body language (shaking hands, balled fists, curved shoulders, positioning of the feet, etc) to complement the expression of the face by having those be more dramatic than what the facial features are forming, maybe over a couple of panels as the wave of intensity comes over and through the character’s heart and mind.
Sometimes I have also changed the lighting and surroundings of the character, by either making everything a darker shade around the character, or blocking out the surroundings completely with a black or red (or both) backgrounds.
Finally, I also use ‘unusual’ expression creases on the face, that wouldn’t normally exist in the expression was as ‘lax’ as it seems.
What about you? How do you approach this?
Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Jan. 21, 2017
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