Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Human Facial Muscles that are Responsible for Different Expressions

This article will be useful for Drawing artists, Actors and for Medical Students. The Muscles that give rise to different expressions have been detailed here. First, let us remember certain common facial expressions like Fear, Anger, Happiness, and Sadness. Then we have to understand the muscles that are responsible for those expressions.

The total number of facial muscles is 18 (Anterior View). They all are shown in this picture given below. Zoom the picture in a new window and read the names of all muscles once before you continue reading the article.


All facial muscles can be brought into three categories for our understanding as 1) Muscles in Orbital 2) Muscles in Nasal and 3) Muscles in Oral. The muscles function with the support of nerves. The job of these muscles is only to pull the fleshy face here and there as per the emotions experienced by the person. So it is very easy to understand, right? Now let us see what are the muscles participate in common emotions like Fear, Anger, Laugh, and Cry.

Great Artist 'Andrew Loomis' in his book 'Drawing the Head and Hands' described the relationship between the emotional expressions and facial muscles well for the people who are interested in drawing and painting.



Fear is an emotion which separates people away from their desires. Fear is a personal enemy which never allows anyone to realize the love in a relationship. Okay, let us take a look at the involvement of muscles during fear. Frontalis plays a major role in Fear. Platysma, the muscle in the neck also reacts to fear by pulling the flesh downwards.



Anger without divinity brings only destruction. Anger brings destruction to the person who creates it and also to the people who surrounds him. It spoils the creativity of the mind. During anger Dilator naris (two wings of the Nose) will be expanded, Corrugator and Depressor anguli oris will be pulled down. Depressor septi also plays a minor role in creating an expression of anger.


Happiness is an emotion which creates unity. The laugh is an expression which fulfills our desires. Mainly three muscles are responsible for smiling or laughing. They are 1) Zygomaticus major 2) Depressor anguli oris 3) Orbicularis Oris and Orbicularis oculi. All these muscles will be pulled up and create a beautiful smile or laugh.



The healthy side of the sad people is that they absorb more and fully whatever they perceive. But happy people miss to absorb and learn the world. Happy people enjoy the experience. Sad people absorb and study the experience. The facial muscle that shows major participation in sadness is levator labii superioris, depressor anguli oris, and levator anguli oris.

Spend few moments and study the names and locations of all muscles. Then go in front of the mirror and study your own facial expressions. You yourself find the muscles responsible for all the emotions like frown, joy, surprise, anger, fear etc. Spend more and more time until you get the clear picture of it and so that you can draw any Human beings with any expression effortlessly.

The true fact is that only by adjusting the facial muscles properly no one can bring the exact expressions what they desire to bring. The proper expressions can be created only by mindfulness. The trick for an actor to act perfectly is 'Mindfulness'.

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