Express Yourself


Really wanted to explore some expressions today.  I understand the need for the turn-arounds (both the head and the full body ones), it’s how I’ve been able to keep Arissa with a fairly consistent look so far.  But they can be quite the burden creatively.  Too straight forward maybe.  Anyhow I’ve still got some exploration to do on Verena before I’ll get her down pact, but I have this sneaky feeling that it’ll come in time.  Until then, we’re working on some of the finer points of Red.

I’m using several different resources to accomplish this.  First, and most importantly are my collection of images I’ve created of Red so far.

Faces_v0.8 Wink_v1.3 IMG_1168


Already, I’m outgrowing some of these and moving in different directions.  Some is the characters themselves growing, but mostly I feel I’m getting more comfortable with drawing again.  That stretch of working in my sketchbook really helped too.  Not to mention my recent studies of the human head thanks to all these library books I have (like 20 at the moment).

Speaking of Library books, my second set of resources comes from my growing collection of library books.  In this case the Draw Manga Faces for Expressive Characters, by Aya Hosoi, published by IMPACT.


Weirdly the authors name on the front of my book has the first last/last first names in the opposite order… I wonder if this is one of those Japanese translation things?  The back of the books, “about the author” section also writes it Aya Hosoi, but the Amazon webpage (where I snatched the image from) writes it Hosoi, Aya.

Strange the things that bother you at 5am in the morning.


The expressions themselves are pretty simple and straight forward.  The real source of winning, is the shear amount of them.  The book boasts “more than 900 faces,” and although I have managed to resist the urge to count them to ensure the legitimacy of this claim, I will attest to there being a high volume of expressions packed in the 180 or so pages.

I appreciate the simplicity of the line work used to portray the emotions and although they do aid some of these depictions with Anime’s/Manga’s visual language, most of them are easily readable.  So, when drawing I’ve started off using these simple lines/arches/etc as a starting point.


Fortunately, I didn’t think to save the struggle that happened between these two images.  I drew the hand by her face first and then drew the arm… which didn’t want to cooperate at all.  I eventually ended up twisting her body, which fixed the problem for me.  But I almost stopped for the night here.



It’s probably something I picked up from my time spent learning to model in the 3D software Maya (where I can first remember really understanding/seeing volume), but I tend to draw wire-frames over the body to help my visualize the surface and volume while I’m drawing.


I initially wasn’t going to place any bodies on them, just the heads, but that second one I really wanted to portray that sense of laughing so hard you have to hold your stomach.  Like she’d soon be doubled over in a visual pose of LMAO.  :)

In the end I’ll probably do a whole bunch of these for all my main characters and probably the supporting characters too and just pick the best ones to go into my character sheets.  Had to stop on this one because it’s getting late/early, and it’s time for my nightly battery recharge.

Tomorrow I’ll probably post some more of these or my latest painting of Dianne.


“Better to be at the bottom of a ladder you want to climb than in the middle of some ladder you don’t, right?”  – Dave Eggers, The Circle

6 thoughts on “Express Yourself

  1. Beautiful, very natural and expressive figure work here, Jesse! I love when you talk about library books! I have about 60, mostly art books, right now (but our library allows 20 3-wk renewals, so why not?!) Anyway, very cool. And I think a daily sketchbook habit works wonders for drawings. I started a daily journal where I try and draw something every day in May and it’s really paid off. Looking forward to more from you!

    • Hahaha, I always feel like I’ve managed to get away with something or that I’m secretly a part of some underground movement or society only a few people know about. I mean who lets people just take all these cool things and sources of information home with them, for free?

      I love the internet, but there’s just something about holding the physical object in your hands that gets me. I dunno… They should teach us a cool secret handshake when they give us our library cards. :D

      The rewards you get from drawing everyday are well worth it. It’s like you’re fine tuning a connection with all the parts of the process; hand-eye coordination, creativity, how the medium works, etc. I’m always watching YouTube content from artists and that’s one of the most consistent advice they give out. “Draw Everyday!”

      Which by the way is a great name to have for an art blog. B-)

  2. I love looking at your process. My daughter does wonderful one-off drawings, and I’m always telling her she should do a story with them, but she says she doesn’t think she could maintain consistency of character. It’s a challenge! Especially doing different expressions as well. Like Laura, I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes.

    • Thanks.
      It’s definitely a challenge. I’ve been doing my best to give myself as many guides as possible, but so far I think the most helpful thing has been using the same shapes and forms when I’m in the beginning stages.

      I also thought about how cartoons and comics got around this issue, and I’ve done my best to give each character themselves a completely unique look so that they’ll stand out from each other/from the crowd… especially since they’ll all be wearing the same uniform. XD

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