Step-by-step: Cap­ture the look of phys­i­cal pain

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1 My first step is to de­ter­mine the base of the face. My char­ac­ter is suf­fer­ing, so I want to give the im­pres­sion that she’s cry­ing. Her mouth will be open, with lips in­clined down­wards to in­di­cate pain. The base of the face is cru­cial when try­ing to cre­ate a strong ex­pres­sion: this sketch helps to visualise the fi­nal ex­pres­sion.

2 Now I start work­ing the de­tails. I re­fine the eyes and ac­cen­tu­ate the po­si­tion of the eye­brows. I want them to give the sen­sa­tion of sur­prise but also of pain, so I de­pict them raised. I add a few more eye­lid wrinkles to in­di­cate slightly closed eyes, which will in­crease the over­all in­ten­sity of the char­ac­ter’s ex­pres­sion.

3 I move on to the less-im­por­tant parts of the face, such as the cheeks. This area re­acts to the rest of the face, in par­tic­u­lar the mouth. The shape varies lit­tle: I just need to make them more round than when the face is at rest, and add large wrinkles at the cor­ners of the mouth to link the mouth and cheeks to­gether.

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