Windows of the Soul

I was excited this evening to return to the Manga Artist’s Workbook and practice sketching an important facial feature. Before I move to drawing expressions, the workbook provides opportunity to focus on the most expressive part of the face…the eyes.

I had missed this section of the book when I peeked ahead. I thought the next assignment was the drawing of expressions. I understand, though, the importance of spending time capturing the eyes. So much of what we are feeling and thinking is reflected here. The eyes are the first thing I notice about a person. I can tell whether the person I am looking at is open or guarded, happy or sad, fearful or confident, by studying the eyes.

As I prepare to create an upcoming cartoon project, I know that much of what I hope to convey will be made evident through the eyes.

Tonight’s exercise was to sketch in the eyes, on a teen girl and teen boy, using the manga style. The girl’s eyes are drawn overly large.

I lightly sketched in guidelines.

I tried darker irises and lighter ones. I definitely like the darker better, as they are more distinct.

For a boy, the eyes, while still oversized, are not as large as the girl’s eyes. There are less details too.

As with the girl, I prefer the darker eyes.

William Shakespeare wrote “The eyes are the windows to the soul.”

Not only are we given a peek into the soul through the eyes of another. Our souls gaze out through the eyes as well, in all its states of being, from joyful confidence to beseeching invitation to hardened defiance.

As I sketched this evening, I was grateful for a lesson in mindfulness about what story my eyes are telling.

Manga Perspectives

I enjoyed a couple of quick lessons in the Manga Artist’s Workbook this evening. As my confidence grows, my sketching is more rapid and precise with less erasures! I am finding that this prep work for a larger project is fun.

Tonight’s focus was on the teen girl’s face still, with upward and downward gazes. It is all about perspective and the guidelines I am using really help.

The first lesson…the up angle. The workbook provides the outline of the face over graph paper. My task is to add the guidelines to correctly place the features and then draw in the details.

With the gaze looking up, the guidelines are curved upward.

Adding the facial details.

Completed sketch.

Lesson 2 this evening…the down angle. The angle is exaggerated sharply, with the features all close together in the lower part of the face.

The guidelines are curved downward. Sketching this one, with the oversized manga eyes, made me think of a gray alien! As before, the nose and mouth are only hinted at.

The completed sketch.

I am loving this practice. As a youth, I struggled with perspective and the human body and head. So all of my people stood facing straight ahead. That’s not real life, and that’s not how I want my project to look. Even though I am using the medium of cartooning, I desire more natural poses.

By allowing these lessons to pave the way, I am one step closer to creating something bigger. The next lesson is on a variety of facial expressions. I am ready!