Drawing Children for Picture Books
Learn how to draw children with lifelike features in online video lessons from award-winning illustrator and instructor Ann Thomas. Start with how to choose reference resources, draw thumbnail sketches and scale them up while simplifying your characters into basic shapes with accurate proportions. Next, create a refined contour drawing with tips for using foreshortening to achieve convincing results from different angles. Ready to bring your characters to life? Find out how with techniques for drawing youthful features and lifelike facial expressions. Then, get tips for resizing characters to fit your scene, planning color choices and mixing skin tones in watercolors. In Ann's final lesson, she'll help you preserve white details and apply your watercolors before refining edges and adding shadows with colored pencil.
Years after Ann Thomas graduated with a degree in graphic design, a friend gave her a fine black sketching pen that got her hooked on illustration. Today, Ann is an illustrator and instructor who has taught students in both college classrooms and workshops. Her illustration projects include the children's book "The Cheshire Cat Moon" written by BJ Ermenc and "Snow" by George Harris.
Materials: What you Need
Lesson Plan: What you Learn
Meet Ann Thomas and begin by learning how to find visual inspiration in text. Then assemble reference resources that will help guide you in creating realistic illustrations of children. Finally, put those ideas to paper by drawing some initial thumbnail sketches.
Enlarge your thumbnails as you learn how to simplify your characters by breaking them down into basic shapes. Find out how children's proportions differ from adults' and get tips for recreating them accurately. Ann will help you use what you've learned to warm up with some basic gesture sketches.
In this lesson, your rough gesture sketches will evolve into a more refined contour drawing with greater realism. Ann will also help you understand how to see and accurately capture foreshortening in your drawings.
Bring your drawings of children to life by adding youthful features and expressions. Understand how children's facial features evolve as they grow so you can keep that realistic look. Finish up by accessorizing your scene with age-appropriate details such as clothing and toys.
After all your children are drawn, learn to resize and place them in your scene. Then, plan effective color choices and prepare your palette by mixing realistic watercolors.
Put colored pencil to paper to make your drawings pop off the page. Start by applying a mask to preserve white details, then add your pre-planned watercolors and use colored pencil to refine edges and add realistic shadows to complete your drawing.