I think we’ve all seen illustration where the children or babies look like miniature adults? Of course sometimes, like in this medieval painting, that can be a stylistic choice but other times it can just look downright creepy.
I have definitely had times where I have had characters look 10 when they needed to be look 5. Sometimes it can be hard to figure out why a character looks the wrong age and even harder to fix it. Here are some pointers and things to keep in mind when changing the age of your child characters.
First of all, you need to consider the size of the face. Look at photos of babies or, even better, draw babies from life (you’d better be quick – they are squirmy little suckers!) But you will soon notice, that compared to adults, their chins and noses are quite small.
So, one of the easiest things you can do is move the face lower on the head. Even a smiley face can look younger when you shift the eyes down and make the chin and mouth smaller.
The smaller you make the chin, the pudgier the cheeks will appear. If you look at the profile of a real baby sometimes you can’t see their mouth or chin because their cheeks are so round.
Another thing you can do to make your characters younger is change the size of the head compared to the body. A real adult is approximately 7 1/2 heads tall, a real 5 year old is about 6 heads tall and a real infant is about 4 heads tall, but depending on your drawing style those proportions might not look right. When I draw kindergartners they are usually about 4 heads tall, the same proportions as a real life infant!
In the above diagram, all the figures have the same head placed on the same body. The body is just smaller each time (I also made the neck a little shorter each time.) By the 3rd figure, the body was getting too narrow, so I widened it a bit. But you can see by just changing the head/body proportions you can go a long way to changing the age of a character.
When you pair that with the facial changes discussed above, you can really alter the age of characters. I hope this helps.
Good luck and happy drawing!