Face facts

Our artists weigh in on how to get faces right 

1. Practise drawing specific facial features, such as an eye, and see if you can emphasise it against the rest of your composition

2. Don’t be afraid to exaggerate, particularly in cartoons. Sometimes overstatement is the best way to get the message across: Charlie Brown is not a subtle guy.

3. Don’t get bogged down in likeness and detail. Your audience doesn’t care so much about faithfulness to an original as much as it does emotion or narrative.

4. Study faces showing different emotions. Watch yourself in a mirror or ask a friend. Look for subtle details, like light, lips and eyebrows. 

5. It’s not just about facial features. A tilt of the head or direction of gaze can speak volumes.

One last thing: remember your characters are actors. Inhabit them and understand them thoroughly.