Character And Expression

So far in this book we have been dealing almost exclusively with a hypothetical 'average' figure. We have studied its structure and proportions, its posture and movement, and only briefly mentioned in passing the very evident differences which occur between one individual and another.

All human populations show a wide variety of physical structure and proportions, and of facial features. But this does not mean that, in drawing the human figure, we can carelessly perpetrate distortions and inaccuracies which can then be conveniently explained away as the unremarkable anatomical peculiarities one should expect to find in any single human being. Variations in physique and facial appearance occur in quite specific ways, and so individuals tend to conform to recognizable physical and facial types - albeit a very wide range of them.

Down the centuries, scores of scientific and (mainly) pseudoscientific treatises have been put forward as rational studies of human types. These have commonly claimed that character and fortune may be divined in the form and features of face or hand, and the lines thereon, or in the specifics of body shape and proportion. Most have now been justifiably forgotten.

In this chapter we shall look at the ways in which individuals differ from one another in appearance, an understanding of which will enable us to imbue our drawings with character.

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