Artist Q&A

ImagineFX - - Contents -

Fa­cial ex­pres­sions, elf char­ac­ters, twisted metal, un­dead de­signs and more!

Michael Jaramillo, US


Paco replies

Hu­mans in­ter­pret dif­fer­ent fa­cial con­fig­u­ra­tions as spe­cific mes­sages. For ex­am­ple, when the le­va­tor an­guli oris (can­i­nus mus­cle) con­tracts, rais­ing the up­per lip and mak­ing the fangs vis­i­ble, it’s send­ing a mes­sage of anger. When the cor­ru­ga­tor su­per­cilii con­tracts, it raises the in­ner parts of the brows to ex­press sad­ness.

This ap­plies to ev­ery hu­man face, in­clud­ing a skull-like face. The main dif­fer­ence is how the skin over the mus­cles and bones of the head re­act to these com­plex mus­cu­lar move­ments. When there’s lit­tle or no fat un­der the skin, the bones be­come more vis­i­ble, as do the mus­cles and ten­dons. The eyes ap­pear sunken and the veins more prom­i­nent. The ex­pres­sion wrin­kles are still there, but they’re smaller and not as deep.

I’d ad­vise study­ing the ex­pres­sive val­ues of the face’s anatomy, ei­ther us­ing on­line sources or ref­er­ence books. This will en­able you to paint the ex­pres­sions ac­cu­rately. If you also an­a­lyse pho­tos of thin and/or older people then you’ll gain an un­der­stand­ing of how dif­fer­ent skins re­act to cer­tain ex­pres­sions, and which bones and mus­cles are the most prom­i­nent. Do this and your task will be­come much eas­ier.

Paint­ing ex­pres­sions on a skull-like face is easy if you know the shape of the skull and which mus­cles are re­spon­si­ble for spe­cific ex­pres­sions. First sketch the head with a neu­tral gaze, then add a suit­able ex­pres­sion.

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