Where to find face references?

  • I’m really trying to work on faces lately, an area I’ve never been satisfied with. I have a huge collection of faces on a pointer eye board but I’ve run into a problem. Any time I look for face references on the internet they’re almost always emotionless. It’s images of people who are modeling often times and I guess that always means no emotion. I want to draw graphic novels and I need to study faces in motion, people talking, laughing, screaming, crying, and from a variety of angles, not just 3/4 and profile. Where might I find references for this?

  • @Griffin I'd give pinterest a shot - and look up things like "Face expressions" "Silly faces" "Angry faces" "Happy Faces" "Expression References" etc
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    I use Pinterest a lot - but that being said a great thing to do is get a big mirror and make the faces yourself. It's really good to use live models when practicing things because you get more of a dimensional approach and you can see how the muscles move under the skin. Live drawing is vital for practice.

  • SVS OG

    movies. just pause it at scenes you want

  • Pinterest is a great free option but I purchased this book a while back that has come in handy a few times


  • @Nyrryl-Cadiz I do use movies but it takes a very long time to build up a collection of images this way.

  • @EliaMurrayArt I have a Pinterest board for faces but like I said they are pretty much all posed faces that feel stiff or unnatural. In your example there are some good images for practicing expression but they’re all very exaggerated. I’m hoping to find more natural, every day expressions of basically just people talking. When I read graphic novels I rarely see faces that are exaggerated expressions, usually just plain old people talking haha. And even though those expressions have less going on I usually find them harder to create which is why I’m hoping to find a good references source. I don’t want to knock practicing the key emotional expressions, that stuff is essential but I’m just looking for something different now.

  • @Griffin That is reasonable - I'd point out again though that your best bet is actually people. So I recommend getting a mirror and working on your own facial expressions. Set up a camera and take photos of yourself, or have friends and family do that.

    If you can, go to a park and sit and watch people walk by and live draw. These are the best ways to learn - from real humans.

    If you can't then as mentioned earlier, watch movies. But I'd recommend doing a mix of pausing, as well as trying to gesture sketch as the people move across the screen so that you can learn gesture drawing from "live models"

  • Pinterest 100percent!

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