Conveying emotion through drawing

During a live action production it is easy to see how a character is feeling simply by the expression on their face or by their body language, within the animated genre however it can be harder to perceive emotion due to looking at a flat image, therefore it is crucial that the art style can accurately portray how a character is feeling.
There are many ways to achieve this and one that I wish to focus on is by looking at the eyes.
It has been said that the eyes are the gateway to the soul and within the anime genre it is easy to distinguish a character by the shape or positioning of their eyes.
There are many ways to draw eyes each like the real thing are specific to the individual however the shape can really set a tone or look to a character, some may have more sharp features making them look intimidating and distinguished then when in comparison to a character with softer rounder eyes.
This is the first example of how slight changes in art style can affect how an audience perceives a character and their emotions in a scene but it is not simply the shape of the eyes that can portray emotion.

By looking at the iris you are also able to perceive emotion, for example when a character has a bunch of light spots floating around the iris it is clear that it is to portray crying or being upset, the edges of the eye may become wavey instead of perfect lines, these are a few simple visual ques that you can pick up on and it shows how small variations in art can portray emotion to a viewer.
One example of iris manipulation that I wish to look at it is when a character may have darker lines under the eye and the iris itself is not fully drawn with features intact but a block of gradient colour.

The reason I want to look at this type of eye in particular is because what it can and has conveyed in previous animated works.
The darker lines around the eye can either show a character is simply sleep deprived or it can be used to widen the zone around the eye giving the character a more shocked or phased look. The block of gradient colour is what I find most interested and useful as by simply taking the light and colour out of the eye a normal looking character can look distraught or deeply in thought.
This is an effect I want to replicate in my production for Mako as these simple stylistic changes can portray great emotion and show how my characters are feeling without them having to directly state it.

Image source:



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s