Character And Expression

The fourth fat-cushion is the least common, and tends to be associated mainly - though not exclusively - with obesity . It is situated beneath the jaw, between the throat and the chin, and so I shall call it the submental cushion (4). When evident in young people, it contributes a roundness to the face, and in old, overweight people can cause the throat to be entirely obscured; in which case it may show signs of a central groove (examples C).

We may also refer to the 'bags' under the eyes as another pair of fat-cushions. These suborbital fat-cushions are, once again, not evident on every face.

All these soft fat deposits are attached firmly to the skin and move when the skin moves. They behave rather like soft, water-filled sacs, and so, when the muscles beneath them shorten, as in, say, smiling, they are squeezed and bulge out. In this way, a face with large fat-cushions is changed quite considerably in shape. Examples D, showing the fleshy-faced old man, illustrate this clearly. At the sides of the face, the cheekbones (zygomatic bones) have no fat-cushions on them, and so remain firm and unmoved, while the jowls not only move but also change shape. In doing so they bulge up under the eyes, which are narrowed into a crescent-like shape as the suborbital cushions are pressed upwards.

In drawing facial movement, you obviously need to understand the ways in which the face's shape changes, and this means that you have to know which parts of the face have firm cartilage or bone just below the surface and which have soft movable tissue. Knowing the location of the fat-cushions on a face is the only way to ensure that you retain a likeness when drawing the same face wearing different expressions.

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