So many ques­tions…

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ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Editor’s Letter -

A stal­wart of Imag­ineFX, this is­sue’s Q&A has a bril­liant ros­ter of an­swers to help you freshen up your art skills.

Ques­tion

How can I show a small group of peo­ple in dif­fer­ent states of emo­tional dis­tress? Barry Carter, US

An­swer Sara replies

Paint­ing a per­son’s emo­tional state is a dif­fi­cult skill to mas­ter, and you’ll need to in­vest a lot of time study­ing peo­ple’s faces, their pos­tures and man­ner­isms, to be able to pro­duce a cred­i­ble paint­ing on this theme.

I would also sug­gest keep­ing a mir­ror close to your paint­ing work­sta­tion, so that you can watch your­self act­ing out dif­fer­ent emo­tions. Bet­ter still, you can touch your face to feel your fa­cial mus­cles as they be­came con­tracted if you’re act­ing out anger, fear or de­spair, or be­came re­laxed if you act out joy or a re­laxed state of mind.

If we take as an ex­am­ple the emo­tional state of sad­ness, there are var­i­ous lev­els that can be rep­re­sented, rang­ing from melan­choly to de­spair. And for ev­ery emo­tional state, a per­son’s body lan­guage and fa­cial ex­pres­sion changes, too.

Sad­ness is an emo­tion that can man­i­fest it­self through cry­ing. Other body lan­guage for sad­ness may in­clude sloped shoul­ders that are closed in on them­selves, a curved back and low­ered head. Sim­i­larly, the fa­cial fea­tures tend to go down­wards: the sides of the mouth and the cor­ners of the eye­brows can all droop, for ex­am­ple. Once you work out how to rep­re­sent the emo­tion of sad­ness, you can add drama by us­ing light, shadow and the gen­eral at­mos­phere to em­pha­sise it.

Although the over­all emo­tional state is sad­ness, I’ve painted three rather dif­fer­ent fa­cial ex­pres­sions.

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