A fun exercise I often use during school visits is showing students how they can illustrate various emotions. If your character is sad, bored, scared or happy, how do you draw your character’s facial expression and body language?
Emotion can be determined by looking at the lines on three key places on the face:
1. The line of the eyebrows
2. The corners of the eyes
3. The corners of the mouth
Take turns with student volunteers and ask them to show you (and the class) and “angry” face, a “sad” face, a “happy” face and so on. Point out how the eyebrows, eyes, and mouth change with different emotions. Be prepared for lots of laughs!
Next, provide a template of blank circles. Under each circle, have the students write down different emotions and ask them to illustrate the facial expressions that correspond using the lines of the eyebrows, eyes and mouth.
Finally, have each student illustrate a character from an original or existing story, depicting one emotion. Talk about how the character’s body language combined with facial expression can also show how they are feeling. Would they stand up tall and proud, hunched over with head hanging low, or arms crossed tightly in front of them? Having small hand mirrors for students to look at themselves when working on this exercise is also helpful. Students can also pair up and draw each other.
Have fun and express yourself!