I’m Emily Flake and I’m a cartoonist for The New Yorker
and today I’m going to show you how
to draw a kid.
I am a cartoonist,
an illustrator, teacher,
I had a child seven years ago.
Her name is Augustine and yeah,
it sort of immediately changed both
the content of what I was drawing
and how I drew them.
It is funny though,
’cause I feel like historically figuring out
how to draw kids is presented as a conundrum
for many cartoonists.
I mean before he just does the like giant headed kids,
Charles Schultz’s early versions.
They look so weird.
I really like especially before I had a child,
and you know was just looking
at them all the time,
a lot of my pre-kid children look like little adults.
So we have some examples of how you’ve drawn children
in the past.
Let’s talk about those. Must we?
So these are examples of some cartoons
that I did featuring children
before I had a child.
I actually use this cartoon a lot
in teaching because I’m like here is how not to do this.
It’s a father and son at a playground.
The father is saying son if you can’t say something nice,
say something clever but devastating.
And the father has taken a knee,
has his hand on the son’s shoulder.
But the son’s legs are very long.
Listen there’s are a lot of problems with that kid.
The kid’s legs are very long.
The kid’s head is grownup proportion pretty much.
He just looks like a tiny man,
he does not necessarily read as a child.
You really start to understand how big a child’s head is
in proportion to their body
when you have to like cradle it
in your hand so it doesn’t break its own neck.
So the first thing is body proportion.
When you draw a grownup,
let’s say this is a grownup.
A grownup is roughly seven
and a half heads high.
But a child is more like three
or four heads high.
Their heads are much bigger in proportion
to their bodies.
Also the slide behind them is
an absolute death trap.
[Emma] Goes straight down.
So the other one is a mother holding her child
and she’s also holding a glass of wine
and she is saying. It’s a magic potion
that makes everything you say interesting.
I stand by the sentiment.
But the drawing, again,
the child’s sort of,
in my mind I was like
what would a rich child wear?
And I sort of dressed her– As a Victorian ghost.
rich children dress like Victorian ghosts.
She has like a full grown bun.
Yeah like a beautiful bun,
yeah like I have never had a ballet bun.
There’s a lot happening with that child but none
of it is making it look like she’s a child.
That was another real,
real child fail.
There is the face of an adult.
Eyes are like about half way down.
A child’s face generally generally tends
to have bigger eyes,
This helps them stay cute and the fact
that they’re cute is what keeps us
from murdering them. Hey!
That is how you draw a child.
So after I had a child and had a real visceral sense
of just how big a child’s head is supposed to be,
I started really paying more attention to
the drawing 101 of a child’s head is bigger in proportion
to the rest of its body.
So an example of
when a newer one where
the kid looks very kid like is a couple
and they are with a real estate agent
and the husband is saying to
the wife who’s holding their child.
I know the schools are great but is this really
the house we want to ride out
the apocalypse in? Maybe it was
just having held a child
in that position for a long time.
I feel like I was a little more successful in making
a believable child.
I didn’t measure how many heads high she was
but I feel like it’s a little better
than the other one. And she’s not a ghost.
And she’s not a ghost, yet.