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Learn to Draw > How to draw the mouthThe original shape of the mouth is rarely to be found in older people. The movements of the mouth muscles affect the shape of lips and corners from childhood, for the mouth is the first feature to be moved by any change of feeling. In general, outward expressions of temperament make the lips turn out, while feelings held in and experience passively received make the mouth turn in and become narrower.
A typical painter's mouth seems to belong to anyone -- temporarily, at least, to anyone who looks, observes, and then reacts creatively to what he has seen. Purely receptive or acquisitive people, on the other hand, tend to have narrow, pulled-in mouths with regular, downward folds at the corners, the wrinkles of bitterness.
Combinations of facial movement are a fascinating revelation of character, but there is always a harmony of expression even in melancholy people who are inwardly torn. Women's make-up is liable to substitute a mask for this harmony, inventing a new line of brow and broadening the lips to make a pretence of great sensuality; for portraits it is important only to let make-up underline the natural forms with color.
The folds of the cheek from nose to mouth corners run in about the same direction as the folds of a pulled-down mouth. They may, however, be due to heredity, and are sometimes seen, though not as lines, in children, as quite unrelated to their character. They are caused by smiling and weeping and by strain or discontent and are only exceptional if they look strange in the total build of the face, betokening some passion which is uncontrolled and not assimilated in the general character of the person.
Lines of discontent are caused by the frequent puckering of the muscle which lifts the nose. Bellicosity causes a line to appear in the same way, one which is to be seen on the faces of almost all the great fighters of history. It does not appear on a face where the nose runs into the brow without an inward curve.
Active concentration and combative effort may evoke activity of the frowning muscle, pulling the inner ends of the brows downwards and inwards and forming the so-called lines of thought. The middle part of the forehead muscle works against this frowning muscle, raising the inner ends of the eyebrows to give the expression of pathetic pain, the "Laocoon brow." This movement of the brows is rarely involuntary, it has to be practiced and studied and is a powerful means of expression for the actor.
A wrinkling of the whole brow, making vertical folds, is a natural movement and leaves its mark on all older faces, but it does not imply very much, for only someone who is controlled to the poirt of impassibility has none. Every passive effort uses it; astonishment, reflection, attention, and pomposity, too. The forehead muscles can replace those that lift the eyelids to some extent, if these are weak or do not function. Thus, folds on the brow have to be studied along with other expressions to be correctly understood.
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