Really, really happy with RG #3, which is out now. Brandon gave me so much opportunity for cool emotions, and I especially love this page for that reason. It’s a real moment of truth!
If you’re interested in learning more about facial expression, you should definitely check out what I like to call my bible, Facial Expression by Gary Faigan.
In it (and this may be a standard in art education; I wouldn’t know), it goes through the six universal displays of emotion Darwin identified were present in every society: happy, sad, fearful, surprised, angry and disgusted.
From there you learn how to combine the expressions, at differing degrees, to form complex emotion. I’ll tell you what I was going for in these three close ups:
Panel 2 - Surprise (high eyebrows, big eyes), fear (flared nostrils, downturned mouth)—but she’s trying to mask both of these, so they’re not strong. When someone’s masking their emotions, I always like to say “The mouth tells a lie but the eyes tell the truth.” So the eyes are the least subtle.
Panel 4 - Sadness/fear (crunched eyebrows and eyes), anger/disgust at her own weakness and fear (eyebrows pushed down, flared nostrils, slight sneer). She’s also looking down—it breaks up the angles and also shows she’s concentrating more on her thoughts than what she sees.
Panel 5 - All of those emotions in panel 4, but to a lesser degree as surprise takes over…her face stretches while the other forces (especially anger at what she sees) continue to crunch back in. So her bottom eyelids push up, and her top eyelids still have a little resistance at the top…stuff like that.
There’s something of a stretch-squash-stretch pattern between these panels and it helps move you through all the emotions she’s experiencing! There’s a battle of conflicting emotions going on in this face.
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