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How to Draw Cartoons > Cartoon Children

There's a reason Calvin and Hobbes is one of the most popular cartoon series of all time. It's because children are terrific models for the cartoonist. Their openess and emotional honesty make them a limitless field for exaggeration. You can draw their body as big as a bird, a head like a ball, and eyes like saucers, yet in a cartoonish way the child still looks real. You can also shorten little dresses, or make pants sized to fit a mosquito... and still your cartoon is convincing.

And it is not just appearance, but also behavior that can get accentuated. Your cartoon kids can be brats or sweet, docile little angels. So long as you keep with the spirit of childhood (and especially if you can remember how you felt as a child), your cartoons of children can go places and do things that cartoons of adults never could.


Children's heads grow proportionately smaller as children grow older. Tiny babies are usually about three heads high, in cartoon drawings - four heads in reality. In a very little child, eyes are placed below the imaginary center horizontal of the head. By the time a child is about the age of twelve, the eyes have reached the center line; as in the adult head. The younger the child, the more abbreviated the neck should be. In cartoons, babies usually have no necks at all.

Toys and pets make children's cartoons more interesting. Adults shown in the picture sharpen the contrast and show up children as ridiculously small. Study children wherever you see them. They are moving all the time. The poses they naturally take are important to the making of good cartoons. Comics show children in the most ridiculous positions. Yet children, limber as they are, actually hold ludicrous and seemingly impossible poses, quite unconsciously. It is important to sketch children when they are not looking. Keep a notebook of changing action in childhood.




Continue to How to show action in cartoons


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