Recently I was teaching a workshop and talking about the bone structure around the eyes.  For some reason, this lead to a discussion in the class on everyone’s need for botox….hmmmmm….

I have a hard time watching the news anymore. No, not from all that political noise – For me, I have a tough time looking at young, beautiful news anchors injected up so much that it disrupts the planes of their faces. It literally makes me cringe. As a portrait painter I realize I am super-sensitive to the structures of the face, but I am constantly reminded of the Joker.

There is a little space between the eyes called the glabella. This quadrilateral shape is a “down plane” and very important to the face.….

If you are an artist, you may be familiar with what are called the “planes” of the head, but there are 2 kinds of planes. “Up” planes and “down” planes. So for example, the forehead is an “up” plane. Think of it as tipped back from a vertical wall- so this makes it catch the light from overhead more. This is why there tends to be nice, beautiful highlights on the forehead. An “up” plane.

The glabella is a “down” plane. This area is tipped away from the light and is more of an “under-cut” to the face. It tends to get overlooked when artists try to paint a portrait from a photo and not from life. This important little down-plane helps to describe what is happening with the skull underneath all those features. And when this area is injected with botox, it tends to affect how the eyebrows sit on the face, pushing the inside edges of the eyebrows down and out. Making “angry” eyebrows. Basically the glabella stops becoming a down-plane since it gets filled in and makes you look like the Joker.

Botox puffs up the skin so the surface is “stretched” into flattening out wrinkles. The problem is that the eyebrows literally get pushed away from where they sit on the brow bone making a very evil look. Most men with botox here tend to look more “Neanderthal” especially when you view them from the side. (Like those poor weathermen I see…)

Try something right now for me… smile really big and then try to keep your eyebrows down in front and “frowny” at the same time. Yep, can’t be done very easily unless you are Tom Hiddleston giving a great “Loki” face.

He looks so evil because this is not the way our faces are meant to act when we are compelled to show a big, happy smile. The eyebrows will always go up in a big smile. Unless they can’t.

So when the news anchors smile, but their poor little frozen eyebrows stay in a “frown” or “angry” position, it drives me crazy. Again, I am oversensitive to it since I am constantly studying faces, but since you are more aware of it now, see if you can spot it on the news. Most of the time the eyebrows just seem very “off.” Cartoonists and animators are very much aware of how the face acts and are always using this knowledge to their advantage. Notice now how many “evil villains” are drawn using the simultaneous grin and “frowny” eyebrows to convey evil plans.

So the next time you are drawing the head, look for your little friend, the down-plane, Glabella. And please think twice about Botox.

PS- If you want to learn more about the structures of the head, I am planning on teaching a ‘master’ workshop on painting and drawing the head this summer. All levels are welcome and it will be in all mediums. As soon as dates are confirmed, I will be posting it on the website, so be on the lookout for that!

Happy Wednesday to ya!

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