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