LACKADAISY artist Tracy J. Butler delivers some notes on cartooning and facial expressions. Her His examples are anthropomorphic, but can be applied to all “cartoony” ‘tooning styles.

Boy, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I started this. I’ve had requests for some sort of expressions tutorial dating back a while now, so I figured, “Sure! I can explain expression drawing…and it’ll be way better than all those tutorials out there that are nothing but charts of generic expressions. Yeah! Just give me a day or two to whip something up…” Um. Sometime a lot more than two days later, I have this messy behemoth and the realization that I haven’t a clue how to teach expression drawing. There’s just so much material to cover, and so much of it is like intuitive language translation, I can’t figure how to put it into tutorial form any more than I could draw a picture of how to speak Russian. I guess that’s why expression tutorials are always just charts of what happy, sad and confused look like.

UPDATE: Should this actually be called the “Dreamworks Brow?” Also, Butler is a she. Apologies!

Via Jamie McKelvie


  1. That is too funny! I can’t count the number of times in animation or advertising art that I have been told to “give him more attitude” and that is the expression they want! Usually along with a backwards baseball cap and some sunglasses!

  2. Actually I think Roger Moore invented the smarmy brow as his main method of acting.

    It’s funny that’s a lot of artists learn to draw by just looking at 2 or 3 other artists and copy mostly the gimmicky stuff.

    Awesome tutorial!

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