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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on December 21, 2003
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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on August 19, 2001
This book, for some reason, reminds me of a best-selling psychological fiction book I read so long ago that the title has escaped my memory. In the book, the facial expression of a woman in pain during child labor was described similar to that of one at climax in lovemaking.
Drawing and painting humans are certainly the most difficult task for every artist. It is most difficult because there is very little room for error. Humans have become so familiar with their features that any aberration will be easily spotted. Drawing facial expressions to accurately present the mood and emotion of the subject is even more daunting.
This book is probably one of the most complete documents currently available that deal with facial expressions. Consisting of three parts, the author leads the readers from the structure of the head, the muscles of expression, to the six basic expressions, such as sadness, anger, joy, to name a few. Frequently referring to the works of the Old Masters, the author has done a good job presenting to the readers the greatness of their masterpieces that went beyond the superficial 'just a beautiful face' level of appreciation.
It is certainly not possible to capture completely endless facial expressions by humans, due to diversities in races, cultures, and personalities. This book, however, serves as a good reference for every artist who would like to express the depth and sophistication of human souls through facial expressions.
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on April 29, 2002
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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on September 3, 2002
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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on February 12, 2004
This book explains what is behind the scenes in the human face, in terms of muscles and bones. It looks at things from every possible angle. It shows how different emotions create different facial expressions. It shows how faces change as they age.
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on September 18, 2008
Although I bought this book to improve my portraits ( I've just begun drawing and was looking for tips in capturing human expression and emotional states) and find it excellent in both its layout, detail and the fact that it is usefull both for a beginer and (in my opinion) more advanced artists, what also attracted me to this book was another reviewer's reflections on this books usefullness in explaining human facial expressions to children with Pervasive Developmental Disorder(PDD), from which my child suffers. In both applications it has been a great success. One of my better buys!
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on June 24, 1998
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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on April 10, 1999
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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on August 22, 2000
Thousands of illustrations and drawings, both from the author than from well known artists from all periods. Systematical approach based on a basic method for drawing portraits, the understanding of the skull's volume and structure, as well as a study of facial muscles and their effect on expression. Covers at least 200 expressions in full detail with descriptive text and diagrams. Contains advice on learning techniques. ALL text is relevant and helps perfecting your drawing style. The author obviously CARES about the reader, and understands why people buy drawing books.
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on October 30, 2001
This is an excellent book! It will NOT teach you HOW to draw (faces)- some basic drawing skills are necessary- but it will: Simply the process; Add some very usuful remarks; Point out the very little nuances needed to be noticed of while drawing; Give dozens of examples on each expression, and cover it completly. It's also written with a touch of humor- adds alot while browsing the book. If you want to draw expressions and faces in general better- but this book. It will make things easier for you; Things you can larn by years of experince are learnt by minuets of reading...
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