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The Artist's Complete Guide to Facial Expression Hardcover – October 1, 1990


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill (October 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823016285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823016280
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #530,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gary Faigin trained at the Art Students League and the Ecole des Beaux Arts de Paris. He has taught at the National Academy School of Design and at Parsons School of Design; currently, he is the artistic director of the Gage Academy of Art in Seattle, where he lives.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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This is a well written book with lots of information.
grannie prepper
He breaks down each part of the face, shows you anatomy and muscle structures, and gives you a great "glossary" of expressions in the back of the book.
Brandy Bergenstock
Highly recommend you purchase this book if you do figurative art.
music fan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

99 of 102 people found the following review helpful By Tobie Helene Shapiro on December 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Yes, this is a book meant to be used by artists and enthusiasts, and it is good for that. I am using this book in another way. For people with NLD (Nonverbal Learning Disorders) and on the autistic spectrum (Pervasive Developmental Disorder(PDD), Autism and Aspergers) it is an invaluable instructive tool for teaching how to read facial expressions, and how we use our musculature to form these expressions. I'd been searching for a book like this for years, but was looking in all the wrong places: psychology, social skills, spectrum disorder studies, and psychiatric tomes directed toward the therapeutic community. Then I found this book, serendipitously, at an art store. I am so grateful! My son has high functioning autism, and is terribly frustrated trying to understand non-verbal and social language cues. This book satisfied him in every way, and he now studies it. Not only is he learning the difference between subtle facial expressions, but he is learning how these expressions are made, physiologically. He is becoming more expressive himself, and more able to understand the clues of every day social interactions. I have given this book as a gift to Speech/Language Pathologists who deal with Pragmatic Language skills, to Occupational Therapists, to psychologists and psychiatrists who run social skills groups to help kids and adults navigate the social maze, and to my nephew, a professional clown (on the order of Bill Irwin and Jeff Hoyle, not Emmet Kelley) who is fashioning an act involving social cluelessness (a very common subject in commedy, when you think about it). For these reasons, I highly recommend this book to professionals and parents who are the mentors, friends and teachers of NLD and spectrum disorder people and those people themselves. Terrific. I give it the highest possible marks.
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52 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Griffen on April 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I got this book to develop more range as an illustrator and I'm very pleased with the quantity of examples, depth of instruction, and quality of the material.
This book contains detailed information on how to draw all the structures of the face and helps the reader to develop the ability not just to draw various facial expressions, but to understand the physiological occurrences that create different expressions. As any student of life drawing or anatomy knows, it's good to know what the engine underneath the hood is doing to get the exterior right!
The author painstaking guides you through the process of drawing the major facial features, starting simply with the gross structures and paring down to a high level of detail.
This book is a valuable addition to my collection of illustration books and I would recommend it to any illustrator, would-be illustrator, or casual artist who wants to develop her or his skills.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Stephane Desnault on September 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is just the best book around to understand how to make a portrait alive with feeling. As the title states, it is all about facial expressions and not about drawing per se, or even portrait drawing. It lists the basic expressions, the main muscles of the face, and then goes on to illustrate how they are related and how expressions "work".
The book is not as dry as this description sounds. The prose is witty. Most of the illustrations are purposeful pencil sketches or cartoons rather than academic portraits: they are very illustrative and to the point.
Reading this book helped me understand better how to make a portrait come alive, by keeping all the features of the face coherent. It won't help you draw, but it will make you "see" better what makes up a face and an expression.
Definitely 5 stars: the book is fun, easy to read, well bound, and as far as I can tell, exhaustive.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Admittedly my review of this book is bound to be somewhat biased in that Gary Faigin was my master at the Art Student's League in NYC in the 80's. This admission should be weighed against the fact that we did not get along all that well. Nevertheless, attempting the learn sophisticated rendering from a book is a risky proposition at best. Your only hope of success from this method is to get a copy of this book. The approach to training the hand, the eye, and the artist's knowledge is an old one, more in keeping with the French Academe of the late 19th Century. The chief difference is that those methods were overly scientific and bloodless and this one is NOT. Going through it and practicing its principles, page by page, will be work of course -- but much more rapid and productive work than any alternative I can imagine. Do yourself a favor. Quit wasting time on trendy art instruction, go to New Mexico and sign up with the master himself. Failing that -- Buy this BOOK!
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By woolfel@pe.net on June 24, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Faigin's drawings and explanation of facial expressions is detailed and well organized. He breaks each expression down to the muscles and utilizes theory to compliment his explanations. This book provides a good foundation for understanding facial expressions and contains enough illustrations for those who do not care for theory. The only thing missing from the book are photographs of different facial types. Although his drawings are good, photographs of his subjects would provide an additional level of detail.
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