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The Artist's Complete Guide to Facial Expression Paperback – August 19, 2008
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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.
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Then I took a class with a very well-known portrait sculptor, and was surprised to hear him recommend this same book. "But it only has pencil sketches!" I protested, "Shouldn't we use pictures of real people?"
"Forget photographs. You need to actually read the book. Have you?" he asked, "You must READ it, every page. This is the best facial reference for the sculptor that I have ever found."
I followed his advice, and he's right. Faigin is an extremely talented sketch artist and his drawings will teach you a lot, but the accompanying text is really what makes this book work. He's carefully catalogued what each of the muscle groups in the face is doing throughout the expression of an emotion, and the sketches simply show what he's talking about. The text explains WHY we recognize certain muscle positions as a particular expression, and helps us understand the relationships of muscles, tissue and skin when the face moves.
Faigin starts with how facial muscles portray key emotions, then moves to comparisons of different muscle groups in subtler positions. For sculptors, it probably helps to have a 3D model of the facial muscles (in addition to a mirror) handy while reading this book. But it's such a rich store of information that you'll learn plenty without them.
September 2011 - I just wanted to add that in spite of the above criticisms this is a valuable addition my art book library. No one book seems to do it all.