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The Artist's Complete Guide to Facial Expression
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The Artist's Complete Guide to Facial Expression

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  4,684 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
This instructional and reference manual is a visual index of facial expressions. It centres on the muscles of expression and their effects as a basis for understanding and analyzing those expressions they see on models and in photographs. Artists will be aided in understanding expression and in creating expression. The book is organized around three parts - part one analyz ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 1st 1990 by Watson-Guptill Publications
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(More pictures at

This book should be a compulsory book for all artists, all those that draw faces anyway.

It's a in-depth instructional art book on facial expressions. The three main sections are on head structure, facial muscles and the six basic human emotions: sadness, anger, joy, fear, disgust and surprise. Every little nuance or muscle twitch on the face is analysed and explained. Other than the drawings created by the author Gary Faigin himself, there are also tons of examp
Feb 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Artists and students of nonverbal communication
This is a great reference for anyone portraying the human face in any medium. It is both practical and thoughtful; it draws examples and illustrations from all cultures and historical periods, and shows in great detail, feature by feature, how the face reflects each of the primary emotions, down to the underlying musculature that causes our expressions to be what they are. I used this when making some mask-type sculptures and found it helped me achieve much more powerful, authentic, and effectiv ...more
Anna C
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art
I wasn't totally sure about this book at first, because when I flipped through, many of the sample images seemed to be very overwrought and over-exaggerated portrayals of emotion. I was afraid that this book, like a lot of tutorials on drawing facial expressions, would be overly cartoonish.

However, I didn't need to be alarmed. This is actually a super detailed, nuanced, and anatomy-focused drawing guide. The text and illustrations are clear, with precise detail about the names and functions of e
Ross Cline
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
the best guide to facial expression I have ever read
Barbara Klaser
Jun 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I've seen this book recommended for two very different purposes, the intended one as art instruction, another as an aid in helping those with Asperger's or high-functioning autism learn more about facial expressions.

It's a wonderful art instruction, in that it covers the anatomy of the face as well as the full range of facial expression. I'm not a serious portraitist, but I find that even my casual drawings of faces have tended to lack something in the past, something I wasn't coming to grips wi
Jan 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I bought the book because I like to draw people and wanted to improve myself and this book helped actually a lot. It's built up very well and shows very clearly how people perceive various facial expressions and when they seem kind of off to us. This book shows things like false smiles which is really not that easy to describe and even harder to draw.

I think everyone who wants to illustrate the inner thoughts of the persons he's drawing should have a look at this book.
Oct 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
It's a very cool book with a great systematic approach as a reference for expressions. My only quibble with it is that the green overlaid color is on some pages slightly out of alignment in my copy. It's only a few millimeters but that kind of printing fault shouldn't happen in an art book. It's nowhere bad enough to impede usefulness or legibility, though.
Apr 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any artist
This book i indispensable to me as an artist. I cannot praise it enough. It is a detailed book with many drawings that I found very educational the first time I read it and the perfect reference each time I have read it or referred to it since. There have been many times I have turned to this book to work out sketches and character designs.
Dec 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Character TDs
This book has a fabulous array of facial expressions. As a rigging artist, it's very helpful to see how the face moves, wrinkles, stretches when making specific expressions. Very useful resource for facial rigging.
Aug 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, hobbies
Even though I'll likely never be able to duplicate the level of art demonstrated in the book, I enjoyed it nonetheless even just as a tool to practice emotional recognition. It also teaches about WHY the face looks the way it does during emotion, including musculature reactions.
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
I think this book is really interesting and educational for artist and readers.
May 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A must have for anyone doing human based computer graphics
Geoff Sebesta
Dec 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
One of the two best artistic anatomy books I've ever seen. Filled with information that will, no joke, change your life.
Jul 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: painting, psychology
A wonderful resource for both artists and readers interested in the work of Haggard and Isaacs, and Paul Ekman.
Scott Kroll
Sep 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I took this out from the library, but I think I need to own it. Such a good book on facial expression.
Serge Pierro
Aug 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art
An excellent book for learning how to draw facial expressions. It clearly illustrates and explains the details necessary to convincingly pull off the expressions.
John Paul
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Feb 06, 2017
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