The drawing of kids demands freshness and directness of purpose. Unfortunately, there are not too many quick and ready rules. Let us just say that kids’ portraits demand a sharp and patient eye.
For those who intend to do commercial portraiture the good news is that kids’ portraits can be rewarding. There are very few draftspersons who can competently render kids.
Soft lighting works best for portraits of kids. The child could be looking toward a intense light source. This sort of light source will illuminate the child’s face and create an introspective facial appearance. The tone range goes from light to medium with the eyes really dark.
Addressing the facial proportions of kids in a general sense is somewhat of a waste of time. Their facial proportions change dramatically within a time span of six month.
Suffice it to say that the younger the child is the smaller the face in relation to the skull. The eyes also appear larger although this can be deceiving. A child’s nose can be very difficult to render – there is nothing really to latch onto. And the mouth is very about the width of an eye. Again, we must stress that these proportions are only a broad rule and individual face proportions can be different. The above broad rules can be made use of for comparison purposes when you do your own careful observations of a particular face.
As always, start your rendering by striking the arabesque and then correcting the height/width proportions as necessary.
After establishing the primary facial proportions (i.e., the brow, nose, mouth, etc.) block-in the major light/dark patterns. Then, stump down the graphite using your fingers or a stump. To render and re-shape the lights employ a clean putty eraser.
Now the features are carefully placed, measured and partially rendered. There are two things to remember here:
1. Your pencils must be real sharp, and
2. At this stage, you should never fully complete a feature. Render each feature no more than 50%.
As soon as the features are sized and placed as best you can, you can now further develop them. Do not neglect the hair and sides of the face. Everything should be advanced together. As you continue to render you should always be on the lookout for mistakes in proportions and tone.
In closing, the fundamental procedures made use of to render a child’s portrait are of course always the same. Above, we listed most of the differences in size and shape between an adult skull and that of a child. Your frame of mind when drawing a child should be one that reflects the innocence and the softness of a child.