Con­vey­ing spe­cific emo­tions

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A tense char­ac­ter will be a lit­tle hunched and have un­even shoul­ders, be­cause the body is gear­ing up to have to ei­ther pro­tect it­self or run. The jaw will usu­ally be clenched and the eyes wide. I em­pha­sise this by mak­ing the iris/pupil a lit­tle smaller. There might also be a hint of dis­gust in their ex­pres­sion, to sug­gest their sense of nau­seous anx­i­ety.


Laugh­ter is of­ten in­vol­un­tary. While a per­son in the throes of hi­lar­ity may make them­selves more prone by lean­ing back and drop­ping their shoul­ders, the body will sense its vul­ner­a­bil­ity and of­ten try to shield the face and vi­tal or­gans with the hands. Nos­trils will flare; the fat of the face will con­verge around the eyes; and the teeth and gums will be on show.


When your char­ac­ter is ex­hibit­ing an ag­gres­sive emo­tion, such as rage, the head and hands will typ­i­cally be pro­jected for­ward. Ten­dons and mus­cles will be tensed and the lips curled in­ward to bare the teeth: th­ese are primal in­tim­i­da­tion tac­tics. Be care­ful not to ex­ag­ger­ate the mouth too much though, as do­ing so can de­hu­man­ise the char­ac­ter.

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