So in the last few days I’ve been working on drawing facial expressions in manga. It’s something I’ve been avoiding for years. When I paint or draw people I like to draw them with a plain face – no particular expression. If I can, I prefer even more to paint people with masks on. This is because (1) I think masks are really cool and (2) I don’t have to engage with any facial expressions at all.
Facial expressions are one of those things which I find really confusing because of the autism. I can’t decode what all of them mean, especially at the time. If I could constantly record the expressions people make and then go back and analyse what I see with the help of someone who can read this stuff, I think I could come up with an algorhythm to predict facial expressions, but I can’t record people like that.
To learn other bits of social interaction I have in the past recorded many complete series’ of an Australian programme called ‘Nothing to Declare’. It’s about the Aussie border protection services. I have used this programme to learn a lot about social interaction. I like it because the customs chaps say straight-out what they see in a person’s behaviour and what that means to them. They also model an assertive but fair and compassionate approach to interaction which fits with my faith and values. Once they’ve explained a bit of behaviour and ‘decoded’ it for me I can spin the recording back a bit and watch it over and over until I can remember it. Then when I see behaviour that fits what the customs people described, I can think about using some of their responses. It has helped me to deal with more difficult situations a bit better.
So, anyway, given all of this, I certainly felt a certain amount of trepidation in trying to draw twelve different facial expressions. Firstly I drew the 12 expressions which Mark Crilley has in his first ‘How to Draw Manga book’ (it’s the book on the left in the picture above.)
Here are the pictures:
I drew them in pencil, then inked them with my multiliners and then added shading in pencil.