How to Draw Children

Kids

At first, drawing children doesn’t seem like that much of a challenge. I mean, you take so many figure drawing courses in art school and you start to think you can draw pretty good. And if you’re good at drawing adults, drawing kids should be pretty easy, right? Well, after you’ve tried dozens and dozens of times, and all you come up with are a bunch of freaky midget creatures, you start to realize how wrong you were.

I realized this shortly after I graduated from school and decided to go into children’s publishing. My first assignments were, I admit, less than stellar. But I’ve learned a few things along the way, so I thought I would share some tips with you all.



Curves vs. Angles

When a baby is first born, he has a lot of baby fat that gradually goes away as he grows up. The younger the person you are drawing, the more rounded his face and body will be. So, when you are drawing a child, try to use more circles and curves as opposed to angles.

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Proportion

The most notable difference between a child and adult is the proportion of the head vs. the body. When you are young, your head doesn’t grow as much as the rest of the body and reaches full size before everything else. As a result, heads can look a lot bigger on kids.

A typical person is about the height of six heads. A kid is significantly less, probably around 3 or 4, depending on his age.

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Faces

Again, children are pudgier than adults, so their faces will be more round as a result. I usually draw kids with very circular heads. I also give them round, chubby cheeks.

Eyes are typically larger and are set farther down on the head, giving them a larger forehead. Noses are small and cute. Ears tend to stick out more.

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As you draw older ages, the cheeks and jawline become more angular as the baby fat goes away. The face will start to look longer, and the proportions start to even out.

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Attitude

Don’t just draw a bunch of lines and expect to create a cute kid. Learning to draw children is fun because they present so many great moods and situations. As with any good character design, it’s best to start with an attitude, action, or emotion. Draw a kid that is bratty, precocious, whiny, mischievous, or playful. These kinds of ideas will always make a better drawing.

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How about you guys?…Do you have any good tips about drawing children? You can let me know by leaving a comment on this post at DaniDraws.com.

23 thoughts on “How to Draw Children

  1. Tami

    This is a great post with helpful tips on drawing children. I find it’s so hard to get them right. And no matter what I do they tend to be more tweens than truly young kids. But at least now I think that I can go back to the drawing board and get future ones to look a bit more juvenile. :-)

  2. Robert

    I’ve thought about having kids just so I could draw them! It’s maddening how one misplaced line can age a character ten years. Unfortunately, kids won’t sit still long enough to draw them. I’ve used catalogs for reference (Land’s End has a good kids catalog). Thanks for sharing your thoughts–very insightful!

  3. Reem

    i love this website i am still a kid and now i almost know how to draw most of my friends thx thx thx !!

  4. Emily Brown

    Thankyou heeeaappps….the intro was EXACTLY wat im going through. Now Ill try again at drawing these kiddies!!!

  5. Lisa J. Michaels

    Drawing kids well is a requirement for Children’s Book Illustrators (like me). There just aren’t many books that help and getting proportions right can be a real challenge. Thanks for the counting heads visual. It really helped!

  6. Damia

    This is so, very helpful! I hadn’t noticed much between adults and children in proportion and their faces, so the ones I drew always looked, adult-ish… ^ ^; But, if children and adults are put together, side-by-side, it always looks wrong when I draw them… the difference in height is also quite confusing… ._.|||
    But, anyway, thanks again! This really helped!

  7. amy

    Cool. But I’m stuck on how to draw teenagers. How do you make them more childlike than an adult but not as childlike as an 11 or 12 year old? :S

    1. Aubitthehobbit

      Give them a more soft look around the cheek bones and jaw lines and slight mispoportion as everyone even if it was just for a day had their bones connected with silly puddy and couldn’t walk straight to save their lives

  8. martin

    This was helpful, I am a young artist and love to draw little kids, as well as my friends but somehow they always looked older but these tips were a great help. They need more sites like these to give future artists that extra boost.

  9. Edy

    very helpful! i always had a trouble when drawing children figure, more on childern’s face expression plz :D

  10. Terry McGinnis

    Thank you very much for having posted this. Your directions are simple but ultimately useful and right to the point. I have a better understanding of what I missed when I drew my “crazy skinny midgets”. ;)

  11. G. Melissa Graziano

    I find that teen boys are often tall and lanky-looking, with large hands and feet but their chests and backs haven’t filled out yet. Their shoulders aren’t as broad as an adult, but their faces aren’t as sharp as an adult’s face. The proportions of the teen face is closer to the adult’s, but keep the eyes and foreheads a bit larger.

  12. Sara

    Childrens’ hair is often very whispy and light, and the recessions of the hairare much further back.

  13. Love to Draw

    I absolutely love this website! It’s great! I am still a kid and I was looking for a little bit of inspiration for my homework! Thanks a ton! :)

  14. writer in the making

    thanks so much! i am drawing the characters in my book, but some of them were too young for me to draw(a little girl around 6) this has really helped her look right.

  15. Connieb

    Hi & wonderful advice I have also found that drawing children of color seems to follow a similar formula; however there are subtle differences (eye shape, hair texture, etc.) that must be captured by the artist to ensure the representation is accurate. Kids are a challenge in, oh so many ways, but they’re among my favorite people!

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