While we’re on the topic of character development, the project mentioned in the prior post required me to deal with another issue – how to show a character’s intended age.
My background in fine arts means that I have taken several classes related to the figure. However, there was never any opportunity to really compare anatomical differences between adults and children; we just focused on the (always) adult model before us.
So, that brings me to the main character of the book – a girl about 8 or 9 years old. I dove right in and created, playing with line, texture, and gesture. I was pleased with the result…at first. In time, and with some valuable insight from others, I realized that she appeared much older (and more sassy) than I wanted. Not to mention, I got a little overzealous in creating a shadow at the hemline so she looks a little “hairy” on the legs. Anyway, it was clear a redo was in order and the result is shown below (1st attempt on left; redo on right)
This realization forced me to study more closely what characteristics make a toddler a toddler, a child and child, a teen a teen, etc. There’s the familiar head count – a standard male is about 8 heads high and a toddler is about 4 heads. Everyone else is in between somewhere. And, to tell the truth, I had to look that up – I tend to eyeball it myself.
But, in general, I found younger kids to have larger heads, rounder cheeks, and shorter necks along with their shorter stature. They might also have longer lashes, thinner brows, wider set eyes, and more indention at the corners of the mouth.
A couple of helpful resources that I used was the tried and true “Drawing the Head and Figure” by Jack Hamm, and “Drawing People” by Barbara Bradley.