With the passage of time, the more ephemeral wrinkles created by facial expressions become permanent. Although attempts have been made to "decipher" personality from the pattern that emerges, almost all the wrinkles here may be caused by either expressive, conversational, or even functional (i.e., squinting in the sun) use of the same muscles.
A. Brow wrinkles. Horizontal folds owing to action of frontalis.
D. Frowning folds. Vertical folds owing to action of corrugator.
E. Creases of upper lip. Very faint, vertical lines formed by action of mouth-squeezing muscle, orbicularis oris.
F. Commissural fold. Crease from mouth corner to jaw. Results from all the actions that widen the mouth: speaking, smiling, eating.
the code by which the face communicates. Much of their identity is retained even when they combine in complex expressions; we recognize certain elements that we have become aware of. Almost everyone's signature wrinkles are the same.
Cartoonists and primitive sculptors, among others, have developed highly skilled and effective ways to summarize these crucial elements. They've learned the most important things about depicting expression: what you can leave out and what you can't.
Do Wrinkles Reflect Personality?
It is said you can read a lot about personality from the pattern of folds that forms as a person ages. This is not entirely true, although an expression leaves its mark on your face if you repeat it often enough.
If we smile a lot, the smiling wrinkles will be among those that become permanent grooves. If we frown a lot, we should develop vertical creases between the eyebrows. In fact, these wrinkles are awfully common among, say, middle-aged businessmen in Man hattan. Yet people with crow's feet are not necessarily accustomed to smiling frequently. A number of years of having to squint in the bright sun will develop exactly the same lines. Many facial muscles are used regularly in ordinary conversation. Don't jump to conclusions about the origin of a wrinkle pattern!
Creases are not just lines on the skin. They are complete forms, with top, side, and bottom planes and long rounded edges; think of them as miniature hills and valleys. Rendering drapery is good practice for doing wrinkles.
Now, raise your eyebrows and look in a mirror. You are using the frontalis muscles to raise your brows, creating horizontal wrinkles across your forehead. Chances are, the light is falling from above. To shade an individual crease, we would begin by gradually darkening the skin tone as we move down the hill into the valley; the valley will be the darkest value—the deeper the wrinkle, the darker the tone; as we rise up out of the crease, we suddenly move from darkest dark to a very light tone on the opposite, upward-looking slope (perpendicular to the light)— this is the only hard edge; finally, as we move down this slope, we gradually merge back into the skin tone we started with.
In a line rendering of the face, creases are best expressed as a turning, rather than as a crack in a smooth surface; this is done with a light, broken, or double line (or all three), distinct from the harder line used for the outline of a face.
Here's another important point. Suppose you were drawing a head, with brow raised, and rows of wrinkles emerged. Even if those wrinkles were evenly spaced and unbroken, like the stripes on a flag, it would not be a good practice to draw them that way. Organic forms are irregular by nature. If we let any element in our depiction become too mechanical, or too uniform, it begins to look stiff. The accidents, the unevenness, helps a drawing or painting of the face look right. Invariably, if you think a pattern is regular, look again.
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