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SmashTheState's avatar

Can anyone find me a reference image of children arranged by age?

Asked by SmashTheState (9617 points ) January 7th, 2012

I’m a semi-professional artist, but I have very little regular exposure to children. As a result, I find it difficult to illustrate children of the appropriate age; I can’t really tell a two year old from a six year old, for example. For years now, I’ve been trying to find a photo reference sheet which shows children aged zero to teens, side by side with their ages underneath, which I can use as a reference when illustrating children.

I’m sure such a thing exists. I can’t be the only artist who needs photo references for children. Ten quatloos to whomever can find me such a thing. Ten bonus quatloos if you can find both male and female references.

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24 Answers

shrubbery's avatar

Here’s one I found on google for age 1, 3, 5, 10, 15 and adult boys.

SmashTheState's avatar

@shrubbery Thank you, that’s very useful to me. It would be even better if I could get it year by year, and for both sexes, but this image is exactly the sort of thing I’ve been looking for (fruitlessly) for years. If I might inquire, what search terms did you use to find this?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@SmashTheState try “drawing proportions children.”

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ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Boogabooga1 I don’t think he is saying that he doesn’t know the difference, but the proportions of the body and face between those ages are difficult to guess. They are significant, but not easy to draw if you don’t know what those differences really are.

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ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@SmashTheState this article appears to be the origin of the drawing that @shrubbery posted above, and gives some explanation for the changes in proportion by age. You may not actually need a full reference image, with all of the ages.

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bkcunningham's avatar

I’ve been looking for what you want and it is nearly impossible to find. The link @shrubbery found is the best I can find so far.

bkcunningham's avatar

Remember this project a father did of his daughter?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejbNVWES4LI

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

This also looks helpful, if you haven’t seen it, yet. I find it to be exceptionally challenging to draw children (or the elderly), so I’m glad you asked this question. I am bookmarking some of this stuff for myself. :)
@bkcunningham that is nuts. lol.

bkcunningham's avatar

Here’s another time lapsed of a girl a year at a time:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHb7Ig3yPgI&feature=related

EDIT:
And a boy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LCkcaXzqtI&feature=related

I wish I could find the entire body.

marinelife's avatar

Here is a proportion guide of images from ages 1–10.

Here is a formula for determining proportion by age./proportion_child_2.htm

And, here is a book on the subject.

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SmashTheState's avatar

Thanks, everyone, for your assistance. All of these links are useful for me. Sadly, I see that no one has been able to find exactly what I’m looking for, which is not surprising, since I’ve been unable to find it after years of hunting. It occurs to me to wonder whether I might be able to make some money producing it myself and selling it to other artists. I wonder how much it would cost to hire 15×2 male/female child models to stand side by side for photographs…

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

One of our photographers at the studio was pursuing a personal art project to photograph one hundred people between the ages of 1 year to 100 years old. It was only headshots, bare shoulders, and she got much of it completed, but sadly, a career move required her to relocate to Germany, where I believe her project was cancelled. I do believe though that most of the younger shots between 1 year and 35 years old were completed. Also a lot of the older shots were completed. It was not gender specific though… so a 9 year old girl could have been right next to a 10 year old boy, then boy, then boy, then girl, then girl… totally random.

If it’s really important to you, and this is the type of shots you’re looking for, I can attempt to contact the photographer. I have no doubt she’ll require some form of financial compensation to dig it up and allow specific usages.

SmashTheState's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Thanks for the offer, but the reason I need the photo references is trying to figure out relative scales. Human beings don’t scale in a linear way. Different parts of the body scale at different speeds, and since I don’t spend a lot of time around children, it’s hard to guess things like arm/leg ratios at different ages. I do CG art, and it’s very easy to plummet into the uncanny valley if you don’t have the ratios down perfectly.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Understood. The headshots alone won’t do. I tempted her to shoot her series as all frontal nudes male and female standing next to one another and print them life size… but alas, this was in Missouri… frontal nudity is looked down upon for that range of child between 6–7ish to 17ish. She feared reprisal.

lillycoyote's avatar

The problem is that children grow at different rates and can be different sizes and heights at the same age. There is an “average” and a “mean” but no absolute. A child could be tall or short, generally, for his or her age. If you are looking for some absolute, you’re not going to find one.

shrubbery's avatar

@SmashTheState sorry for the delayed reply, but @ANef_is_Enuf was about right. I think I google image searched for “reference drawing children different ages” but that was the only one I found. There are a lot of written tutorials out there on how to proportion the bodies but I couldn’t find any more reference images.

Earthgirl's avatar

This is the classic artist’s reference by Eadward Muybridge. I don’t know if you have ever heard of it. I see that it has children included and thousands of photographs. While it may not be complete, it could be a good starting point.
http://store.doverpublications.com/0486202046.html#productdescription

There is an online archive but I see that the children’s section says “coming soon”. Perhaps there have been objections of child porn? I wouldn’t be surprised. At any rate they are available in the books.
http://www.muybridge.org/

auntydeb's avatar

Surely the obvious thing would be to find somewhere that you could draw children from life? Is that so difficult? Proper permissions would need to be sought, but any drawing of a human form will be enhanced if the artist has experience of seeing the body in motion, or at least in the flesh. As a woman, it would undoubtedly be easier for me to find a suitable source of ‘live children’ for drawing, but it is not impossible for a man. Do you teach at all? Could you provide some workshops or classes for a local school, in exchange for sketching in the playground or classroom?? The line would have to be drawn clearly and your sketches might have to be looked at… But in the face of poor quality 2D imagery, from a computer screen, is it not worth a try??

This post has bothered me, especially as it clearly holds some references to inappropriate types of image. Making beautiful, accurate, lively drawings of children at all ages – and frankly I don’t think there are rules about this, they come in all shapes and sizes – is important, even necessary. We (artists) must not be put off by problems with source material, when it is around us all the time. People are naturally mistrusting, when it comes to children, but still, it must be possible to jump through some hoops to see them in the wild, don’t ya think?

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