Drawing children

  • Hi Irina,
    First of all, you have a wonderful style already from the examples you sent - very European and slightly quirky! I really like it, especially the soft colour that you use, and I take it you use traditional media?
    As for drawing children, it's probably best to start with videos on youtube on how to draw humans, rather than just children as it's probably beneficial to be able to draw people of all ages just incase you ever need to. Do you know of any life drawing classes happening near you? Life drawing taught me how to draw the human body.
    If you develop a style that's not completely anatomically correct in the future, then it will still teach you how the body bends and moves so that you can illustrate gesture really well with your characters.
    When I draw a character, say its a child for example, I start by using shapes. So a circle for the head, oval for the body and usually lines for the arms and legs and then ovals for the hands and feet. This helps me to get the pose right... (an example i found online) -

    I wouldnt run before you can walk though, start by learning how to draw the body as a whole and when you're confident enough then move onto hands/feet etc, then start trying different ways to capture emotion on your characters face.
    it all just takes time and practice 🙂 just use whatever images you can online, magazines, real life, photos etc and just draw lots and lots until it clicks 🙂 which it will!
    Your style for drawing people will then naturally fall into place to compliment your lovely environment illustrations!
    All artists need to use reference material, so don't worry about doing that - the more the better in my opinion, there's nothing wrong with it.

    I think all illustrators/artists have that horrid crushed feeling after finishing a piece that hasn't turned out the way they hoped, that's completely normal and very good for making yourself improve and getting that piece to the level you want it to be, but it just takes practice 🙂 Don't feel down, at least you're drawing and TRYING! That's brilliant and such a great start and you WILL get there because you seem like you have the determination.

    This forum is brilliant for feedback, so if you have any examples of your drawings of kids then it would be lovely to see.
    All the best to you with it 🙂

  • Geez your work is gorgeous! With a little practice, you’ll feel comfortable drawing kids in no time. You just have to do it more. I plan to re-watch stylizing human characters again soon.

  • SVS OG

    @irina OMG! I was blown away by your work. You have a very sweet style and your colors just make it all the more darling. I have no hesitation in calling you a professional with your skill set. Like you, I am also not traditionally trained in illustration and is generally self-taught. I know the doubts and fears coming from that background. However, i’m sure you’ll do great given your work and your previous experience with your job. I can’t really recommend any classes on SVS for you since I haven’t enroled myself but feel free to ask other members. They’d be happy to help you get started. I wish you the best.

  • SVS OG

    @irina I love your illustrations! And I can totally understand the attraction to the work of Beatrice Alemagna. I don't know of that many resources specifically for drawing children, but I think anything that applies to anatomy in general can be applied to children as well, with a few differences of application that can probably be picked up by observing real children. The one child in your examples posted here seems to work well.

    That said, I understand your concern. I always thought I knew the figure decently well, but the more I try to draw children, and especially children in motion, the more I realize I need to learn. Wish I knew what to tell you, but everyone has bad days and I'm having one of those "Why the heck am I doing this?" weeks myself. Hang in there because your work is good!

  • Thank you so much everyone!! Your kind words and support have helped me move out of my slump and deal better with my feelings of failure. I still don.t like what came out of the cover i drew and i guess the most i am disappointed in myself for not being able to create something better. But i realise this is my first such experience and i have to take it as learning. Speaking of which i took all your advice into account and took a figure drawing gesture class for general figure drawing and will slowly continue to practice humans in general and kids as well. Made also a huge pinterest board with reference photos of children in different clothes, poses, with a diverse array of faces and emotions and featuring diversity as well in terms of race and cultural background. I plan on practicing drawing on those and try to do the 100 kids challenge. I.ll take it slow and practice and will try to be gentle to myself

  • Draw skulls... for proportion, skeleton... individual bones, i caricuture those and it seems to stick in my mind quicker then a fully rendered replica of the reference. Children skulls... kinda macabre, but it helps. Even if your not going for the fully anatomical look... you can always tone it down. I guess photo and life reference will help too, but id keep that last, you can either draw a kid smiling from life... or learn how face muscles work.. and then draw from life. Feel the latter is more benefitial.

    Focus on the main thing your trying to learn that day... quick xray type sketches where you draw through the form... nothing fancy. Black paper... or background works real well for that, hard to shade so your not tempted to make it pretty. If digital is your thing... i use mypaint. its a simple program... but has this auto expanding canvas. always enough room. Turn it black and let it rip.

    Got a long way to go myself longer then you id say judging from your work... but this works for me, hope it helps you too

  • Think theres a chapter in andrew loomis book on drawing kid proportions... not sure which id have to check. Gary Faigin has a book on facial expressions for artists. Theres an app called lecorche on android... its a digital muscle model, very usefull. Burne hogarths book on clothing is pretty hard to read... but theres allot of good info in it. Theres a book dedicated to gesture... its called Force... I hoard art books. Got enough to last me a lifetime

    Allot to learn... stick to the minimum... for me quantity (with quality controll) works wonders. Like 20% of the time yielding 80% of the result. Rinse and repeat

  • @irina Sounds like you have a great plan of tackling your (self proclaimed) issues! I think when taking those steps over time you always see the improvements. I think you'll always look at your work 5 or 10 years later and see how you've progressed. It's very good that you are critical and see your short comings and learning goals (although I personally find the kid you drew very cute!) When I look at my work from when I just started, I cringe! If this is your starting point, chapeau!! I do see my shortcomings now too, painfully so. But it's always good to try and learn and push through them, like you're doing. I'm working on a book as well and while I'm almost finished, I've just started to take up lessons and learn more about composition for example. I will not be able to integrate this within my current book, since the sketches and thumbnails are already finished and it will become in cohesive as a whole (since I finished over 2/3 of the paintings already). But there's always the next book, and it's kind of interesting to see your style and skill evolve over time! So certainly do not try to let it freeze you. I think taking the online lessons and starting a 100 day challenge will bring such progress along!

    Your work is already stunning by the way. I love how your architecture skills shine through and you're able to push those boundaries and play with the layout and the overall quirkiness! I wish you a lot of luck and am very positive freelance work will be a very good fit!

  • I'm really curious how much you developed, i'm sure you nailed it. Unfortunately the photos you posted aren't available anymore. Maybe you can give us an update as an artist 🙂

  • @Ionut-Marian I'm pretty sure this is her instagram account here: https://www.instagram.com/irinageorgescudraws/?hl=en

    He work is so beautiful, thanks for the follow up comment so that I could find it.