Can you share tips on painting a character that’s squinting?
Charles Quiles, Canada
Answer Tony replies
My first thought when I read the question was, “Well, just draw the eyes tiny!” But then I reflected on just how many facial expressions involve having the eyes almost closed. Sleepy child, wise monk, suspicious Frenchman… the list could go on. So I’ve decided to focus on what makes squinting different, and just how much of the face is used. Which, as it turns out, is all in the muscles.
The eyes are surrounded by the Orbicularis oculi, a set of muscles responsible for closing the lid. It’s like two sinewy Pepperonis on your face with eyeballs in the middle. It stretches almost to the nostrils, and explains why so much of your face is used when you squint. The top of the cheeks raise, the eyebrows drop and the skin folds up as the muscles contract.
When painting, your focus should be on all the muscle contractions going on around the face and how the skin tends to wrinkle as a result.
Even before any of the wrinkles are added, you should be able to tell from the angle of the eyelids and brows that Quick-Draw McDraw here is squinting.
Use light to emphasise the wrinkles created from the muscle contractions around the eye. The eyeballs themselves will be simple, so go nuts with the detail surrounding them.